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How the Porsche Car Logo Became a Pillar of German Automotive Performance
German automobiles are some of the top in the world. These car brands have given us some truly great cars, including the options by Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and more. And who can forget the iconic Volkswagen Beetle that came out of this? Similarly, the Porsche logo too has caused a great stir and fan-following in the decades it has plied its craft.
For over a century now, the company has dabbled in a variety of vehicles, from consumer cars and SUVs to military weapons and vehicle for the country’s war effort. And today, Porsche is considered one of the top German sports automobile manufacturers with iconic cars like the 911 Turbo, the Carrera GT, Porsche 959, and much more.
Moreover, like its German compatriots BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, the company also has a rich history of automotive racing, from endurance racing to GT, rallying, and other categories. So, the question is, has the long and rich automotive history influenced the design of the company logo? And how is it that the company managed to create such an iconic logo without the help of a professional logo design agency?
Let’s dive in and discover how the Porsche car logo has evolved through the decades.
1- The Inception of Porsche as an Automotive Brand and Its Rise to Fame
The company had been started by Austrian-German Ferdinand Porsche, an automotive engineer known for many different firsts like the petrol-electric hybrid car called the Lohner-Porsche in the early 1900s. However, post world war two saw the company name having a perpetual shadow hanging over it due to Porsche’s association with the Nazi Party.
Despite that, the company turned its fortunes around, and soon started to establish itself as a major player in the automotive industry. Let’s take an in-depth look at the different and distinct phases of the Porsche company, and see how it evolved into its current form.
1.1- Pre Second World War
The company came into being in 1931, started by automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche, his son-in-law Anton Piech, and Adolf Rosenberger. The company set up their offices in the center of Stuttgart, offering automotive engineering and consultancy services, but no car under the Porsche marquee.
The first major project the consultancy firm got, was to build a car that was reliable and cheap; A car for the people, or Volkswagen in the Deutsch language. The result of this project and testament to the genius of Ferdinand Porsche was the Volkswagen Beetle, a car so iconic and successful that it sold one of the highest number of vehicles in the world.
However, future consumer projects went on hold as World War II started, which meant that the company now focused its efforts on designing military vehicles.
1.2- During World War II
The Elefant Tank Destroyer used by the Nazi Germany’s Wehrmacht Panzerjager, or the anti-tank brigade, was the first such widely deployed military vehicle Porsche created. Its design was modified from the failed bid to produce a heavy tank for the army, a bid Porsche lost to Henkel.
However, it was during this time that the management of the company saw drastic changes. Adolf Rosenberger, who was a member of the Jewish faith, was forced to flee after the Nazi SS forces had arrested him. Freed through the goodwill of a fellow German businessman who bribed the SS commander to let Rosenberger go, Adolf slowly made his way out of the country, leaving for Allied countries.
Porsche on the other hand, an active member of the SS force and now heading the Volkswagen factory at Stadt, was actively building military equipment for the German army. It is said that his factory had many prisoners bought in from eastern European countries like Poland, to serve out their indentured servitude under Nazi rule.
1.3- Porsche after World War II
And at the end of the war, Ferdinand Porsche and Anton Piech wee arrested for war crimes during Nazi era.
With Porsche now spending time in jail, his son Ferry Porsche took over, and quickly developed and produced one of the car’s from his father’s designs. The Porsche 356 is considered the first Porsche car ever due to the car being the first automobile the company produced and sold on its own. By 1950, the car had sold enough models to keep the company afloat despite the post-war hardships.
Originally, due to post-war shortages, the Porsche 356 car used many parts from the Volkswagen Beetle. However, by mid-50s, the tides were turning and Porsche slowly started producing custom parts for the 356. The 1960s also saw the company enter various motorsports, with iconic cars like the Porsche 550 Spyder winning the company much fame.
The 356, now in need of a much needed design overhaul, released the Porsche 911, the now popular sports car. In fact, so was the car’s fame and proficiency, that it is the best-known car from the company, even after seven decades of producing different vehicles.
Over the years, with their association with Toyota and Volkswagen, the company slowly grew to the giant It is today. With current models like the Taycan, Cayman, and Cayenne as well as classic models like the Carrera GT, Porsche 959, and the iconic duck-tailed Porsche 964, the company has a history of successful vehicles.
2- Porsche Logo Meaning – The Inspiration behind the Porsche Logo Design
If we take a look at other German automotive brands like BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, or Audi, the Porsche logo is one of the fanciest and most elaborate brand symbol in that group. While the other companies subscribe to the infamous “German efficiency” when creating their car logos, Porsche went out of its way to create a shield logo that is painstakingly intricate.
So what was it that inspired the design of this iconic shield logo? Let’s take a look and discover the secrets of this Porsche logo with symbolism of its constituents.
With its roots in Stuttgart, the company was inspired the coat of arms for the Free People’s State of Wurttemberg, which had Stuttgart as its capital from 1918 to 1933. After that, the state of Wurttemberg-Hohenzollern used the said coat of arms from 1945 to 1952 as well.
As the capital city of this state, Wurttemberg had its own heraldic symbol, a signifier of the elites and institutions from the days of the aristocracy. It was the combination of both these designs that made the Porsche logo we all know and love today, with logo symbols from both featuring prominently.
3- Elements of the Porsche Badge
Now that we know how the Porsche car logo with crest of arms came into being, let’s break down and focus on the different design elements of the Porsche logo. From the choice of fonts used in the design, to the color combinations used to make the design pop, all of these elements combine to make the logo as great as it is today.
3.1- Porsche Logo Colors
When we talk about the Porsche logo colors, the company brand uses a mix of red, black, and gold to make its design. According to color theory, the red and black of the logo, along with yellow that transitioned into gold, the colors are often associated with power and royalty in the Germanic cultures.
And considering that the logo is an amalgamation of the designs of the old Wurttemberg coat of arms and the Stuttgart heraldic symbol, its no wonder that these color meanings have carried over.
3.2- Porsche Car Logo with Horse
If we take a look at the Porsche car logo, it features a prancing horse right at the center of the shield. Now, many people are confused as to why both Porsche, a German car brand, and Ferrari, an Italian car brand, have similar symbology in their logo designs.
Well, while it is true that both sports car companies do have an element common to their logos, they are there for very different reasons. For Porsche, it is a callback to their history in Stuttgart, a stud-centric economic area. For Ferrari on the other hand, the logo is one that calls back to their days as a Scuderia of Alfa Romeo in formula one racing.
Known as Scuderia Ferrari at that time or Ferrari’s stable in English, led by engineer Enzo Ferrari, it broke off from the parent company to form its own team, and eventually, its own company. Therefore, while both car companies have similar symbology in their designs, the reasons and messages are quite different.
4- Porsche Logo History – The Iconic Porsche Car Emblem Evolution over a Century
Over the years, the Porsche logo has changed comparatively quite little compared to many of its American or Japanese compatriots. However, in the early decades, with the company dealing with transition from consulting to manufacturing automobiles, as well as with the post-war issues that plagued many businesses.
So, let’s take a look at the Porsche logo history, and discover how the iconic golden shield we know today came into existence.
4.1- Porsche Car Logo with Stags – The First Automotive Logo for the Company (1931-1945)
For the better part of their life before the second World War, the company operated primarily as a consulting firm for different automotive companies. In that time, the logo for the Weimar era Free People’s State of Wurttemberg was used with the symbol for Stuttgart, a rearing horse that represented Stuttgart’s history containing many famed stud farms.
This Porsche car logo with coat of arms of Stuttgart and the Wurttemberg coat of arms resulted in a logo that represented the company’s connection to the city of Stuttgart.
4.2- Post-WW2 Porsche Car Logo with Crest Using Elements from Old Logos (1952-1962)
It wasn’t until Ferry Porsche decided to produce a car from the Porsche company itself that the company needed a true logo. An initial design that was teased in 1952, the Porsche logo combined elements from both symbols used previously by the company, with the rearing horse from the Stuttgart design, and the shield with the stag horns and the alternating black and red lines from the Wurttemberg coat of arms.
However, it was too rough of a design, and it wasn’t used as a badge on the car for very long.
4.3- Porsche Car Logo with Shield in Metallic Gold (1963-1994)
1963 saw the refinement of the Porsche car logo, especially with the impending reveal of the iconic Porsche 911 sports car. The design was now all metallic, with the shield and the wordmark at the top of the design done in a matt golden color.
The design, now elegant, was also the first of these logos to be featured as a badge on the car, with the Porsche 911 and its lower-end derivative the 912 being the first cars to sport it.
4.4- Modern Porsche Car Logo (1994-Present)
In the mid-1990s, the company tweaked its logo slightly for better visibility, especially as more and more car brands were going the metallic logo route, and Porsche needed to upgrade its design according to the aesthetics of fans of the American car brands.
The new design featured a slight darkening of the shades of colors on the logo, with the topmost wordmark of the Porsche car logo with typography that was thinner, and colored a dark black. This resulted in better visibility, thus making the logo stand out better.
5- Top Cars That Put the Porsche Symbol and Brand on the Map
Having seen how the logo for the Porsche company evolved into its present form, how was it that the company became so popular? Was it some specific cars that made their mark in the consumer market, or was it something else?
Let’s take a look at some of Porsche’s iconic cars that put the company on the map post-WW2.
5.1- Porsche 356
The Porsche 356 was the first car truly produced by the Porsche company. It was released in the early 1950s, spearheaded by Ferdinand Porsche’s son Ferry Porsche. So popular was the car that despite the newer and better Porsche 911 was released, the 356 still had consumer demand that saw it being produced for a few years longer than planned.
5.2- Porsche 911
Porsche 911 is arguably the most iconic car for the Porsche company, and the one that put it on the map for the majority of the world. Released in 1964 for the first time, and designed as an upgrade to the aging Porsche 356, the car has spanned multiple generations. Wowing people with its awesome styling, unmatched handling, and a legacy that spans decades, the car is still going strong today.
5.3- Porsche 959
Porsche 959 was a rear-engine sports car produced by Porsche from 1986 to 1993. Originally designed as a Group B rally car, the company soon produced road-legal versions to satisfy the requirements of Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). At the time of its release, it was the world’s fastest street-legal car, with a top speed that exceeded 200 mph. And in its time both on and off the road, the car was a hit with the fans.
5.4- Porsche Carrera GT
The Carrera GT was a mid-engine sports car by Porsche that succeeded the Group-2 inspired Porsche 959. The styling of the car was a departure from the Porsche sports cars released at that time, and mimicked a higher-end sports car stylings like those from Ferrari or Mercedes. However, it had a short run of just two years, due to a large number of high-profile accidents due to the car’s tendency to get out of control very quickly, including the death of Hollywood star Paul Walker.
5.5- Porsche 964
The Porsche 964 was the model of Porsche 911 that was produced from 1989 to 1994. It featured a more modern styling, with the innovative electronic duck-tail spoiler that would automatically rise up at speeds of over 50 mph. Otherwise, it would stay flush with the back of the body. Incidentally, it was also the first Porsche car to be offered with the Triptronic semi-auto transmission, and four-wheel drive.
5.6- Porsche Cayenne
The Porsche Cayenne is Porsche luxury mid-size crossover SUV that has competed with Porsche 911 to be the top sold Porsche car for a few years now. It offers a variety for those who want the luxury and performance of a Porsche, but in a size of a family car. A more practical option to the adventurous sports cars by Porsche, the car has finished two decades with some of the strongest sales records in Porsche history.
Overall, the Porsche logo is an icon for people around the world, automotive fans or otherwise. And it is a testament to its strong roots and brand development that since the company’s first true logo was revealed in 1952, the brand symbol has seen little change in its design.
Developing such a logo can be a difficult endeavor. However, if you want to have a chance at developing such brand recognition in today’s world, you need the help of a professional logo design services provider like Logo Poppin.
Frequently Asked Questions
The logo for Porsche features a mix of Stuttgart’s heraldic symbol, and the Wurttemberg coat of arms.
The Ferrari and Porsche logo is not the same. While both the companies have a prancing horse in their logo, it is there for very different reasons.
The Porsche logo represents the company’s roots to Stuttgart, which was a famous part of the world for the stud industry. Moreover, their presence in the region of Wurttemberg also features in their design.
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