One of the world’s most recognisable emblems, the Volkswagen logo comprises the company’s initials—a “V” placed over a “W”—so that both the letters interact precisely with each other.
The blue colour that provides the background to the logo symbolises excellence, reliability and class—three of the brand’s key hallmarks. Meanwhile, the white colour of the initials depicts nobility, purity and charm.
Over the years the design has seen a number of changes, but the essence of the logo has always remained the same.
In the carmaker’s earliest days, a black VW inscription appeared within a black circle, until 1967, when the emblem received a new colour scheme. Light blue was to replace the black letters to create a more friendly global image. Eleven years later the logo underwent another major change, this time seeing an inversion of the colours so that the VW letters became white and were placed on a light blue background.
In 1995 the blue colour was made deeper, while the latest update, in 2015, saw the logo acquire 3D-shading with a silver appearance to the lettering. Remarkably, the VW emblem has virtually remained intact since the 1930s. Today it symbolises the German technical excellence and commercial success throughout the world.
Volkswagen’s slogan that accompanied marketing for the iconic Beetle in North America is considered by many experts to be one of the finest examples of automotive branding.
Conceived by New York creatives in 1959, the campaign set out to introduce the diminutive Beetle into a market dominated by cars with more substantial proportions.
With simplicity in mind, and an enormous amount of white space, the advertising agency accompanied a small image of the Beetle with the slogan “Think small”, alongside some heavily spaced-out text to describe the vehicle.
This approach broke with convention in a number of ways at a time when manufacturers packed out pages with details about their cars. It was also printed in black and white, in contrast to the wide use of full-colour automotive advertising.
The campaign has been considered so successful that it "did much more than boost sales and build a lifetime of brand loyalty. The ad, and the work of the ad agency behind it, changed the very nature of advertising—from the way it's created to what you see as a consumer today,” according to one business school’s assessment.
A new Volkswagen logo is in the works, and will be released in 2019. It will be more colourful and is set to show even more emotional appeal than Volkswagen’s current design classic.
If the logo’s colourful past is anything to go by, one thing is for certain; this icon isn’t disappearing soon. Every model that rolls off the Volkswagen production line proudly bears the badge.