If you know little about the automotive industry, the Ford Motor Company needs to be very familiar.
For more than a century, one of the world’s biggest automakers has been alive and thriving, as drivers know the brand for its outstanding quality and unquestioned reliability.
Yet if you know anything about logo design, you’ll need to know the Ford logo very well.
The iconic Blue Oval logo is truly symbolic of the dominance and imaginative thinking of the brand.
The logo has been widely known as one of the automotive industry’s most influential icons, and studying it and understanding what makes it so interesting is always fascinating.
Ford Motor Company: A Brief Overview
The history of creating the Ford logo has been heavily informed by the company’s growth, so we need to provide a brief description of how Henry Ford introduced and developed the brand in the early 20th century.
The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 as a joint project of the businessman Henry Ford and 11 more investors in Detroit, Michigan.
During the first few years, Ford struggled to manufacture too many vehicles because the plant could not create more than a few cars on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, after Henry Ford began to understand the idea of the assembly line in 1913, the situation changed significantly.
This innovation dramatically speeded up the manufacturing process and also made vehicles affordable for low-income people.
This gave Ford a big boost and prompted the company to sign several contracts, including a partnership agreement with the Russian government back in 1929, with both state authorities and private enterprises.
The Ford Motor Company has continued to expand decade by decade, becoming one of the world’s largest automakers.
Today this company is behind General Motors, the second-biggest automaker in the US. The Ford Motor Company holds the number five spot behind General Motors, Toyota, Hyundai and Volkswagen on a global scale. In 2018 Ford sold more than 6 million vehicles worldwide.
Ford Logo – History, Meaning, and Design
The Ford Motor Company, with its official logo, has a long and glossy history.
Thanks to its unique attributes, designers frequently name it the Blue Oval Emblem, but the roots and background of this logo are riddled with changes, redesign attempts and fascinating details.
The description of the Blue Oval Logo
The Ford Motor Company has an oval-shaped logo which dominates the background by different shades of blue. Boundaries and vocabulary are light.
The new logo version is operating as of 2003. The shape is very easy because one thing the company needs to make clear is that Ford is not playing with quality vehicles.
The history of the Blue Oval Ford Logo
The Blue Oval Logo, in general, is undoubtedly one of the most important visual signatures in the company world, but since 1903 it has undergone a number of changes.
Ford’s first car, a popular Model A, has a completely different Ford logo.
The logo edition 1903-1907 included only black and white colours, which contained the entire text line: Ford Motor Co. Detroit, Mich, Mich.
It has a delicate decorative feel and the overall presentation was far from what it feels like today.
Yet it didn’t take too long for Henry Ford to know something had to change here.
A prototype team came up with a new idea in 1907 but it only lasted two years.
Namely, the logo highlighted the brand’s name, but it had a football design and did not meet Henry Ford’s and his closest associates’ standards.
Jake Gardner, a graphic design expert, says that between 1909 and 1912 the company experimented with several logo designs seeking to find the finest solution:
“They knew Ford wanted unique typography so they developed the so-called winged script. This is, in fact, the signature of Henry Ford with a little touch of art-letters “F” and “D” are a little longer and stretched like the wings.”
At that time, the Ford Motor Corporation chose not to change the logo and so in the following decades, the signature remained the same.
This time is also significant as it gave birth to the first solution of the oval-shaped logo.
Namely, the oval shape was introduced by a group of British businessmen and designers because it symbolizes qualified authority, durability and affordability.
The concept was successfully tested in Great Britain which helped Ford make the decision to unanimously endorse the oval-shaped logo.
The US division has meanwhile developed a brand new Ford logo featuring a triangle with a pair of wings.
The logo featured along with the line the well-known Ford signature: The Universal Car.
All they tried to do was to point out the sharpness and pace of the company, but the design was never really liked by Henry Ford and in 1917 it was replaced by the oval-shaped version.
Ten years later the company chose to put the Blue Oval logo on the Model A radiator grill, also regarded as the most famous car of the period.
The logo used the dark royal blue colour, and over the next 30 years, it remained the official logo solution.
The Blue Oval logo underwent small adjustments in 1957 when white was replaced with silver to create a new combination with the prevalent colour blue, according to design professionals.
Those improvements were felt by the entire Ford Motor Company as it underwent a rebranding at the enterprise stage.
Until 2003 this alternative was successful all the way up. The Ford Motor Company celebrated the 100th anniversary that year and wanted once again to redesign the logo.
They did it with a gradient blue, though silver was replaced by the white oval again.
Interesting Facts about the Ford Logo Design
The Ford emblem has clearly undergone several changes over the last century, but that is just one side of the story.
What’s important to remember is the fact that throughout history, the Blue Oval Logo has had some big ups and downs. Here are the most important stories we want to mention:
What was there before the first logo?
The Ford Motor Company released its first logo very early, but plenty of cars were made before the official release of the logo. Now, what happened to those vehicles is the real issue. Did they contain a signature or logo of some kind? Well, it looks as though the car had a few wordings which inspired future logos. .What you will immediately note is the famous sign: The Universal Car.
The history of the Blue Oval Logo
It appears the term of the Blue Oval Logo dates back to 1907. You can’t trace the roots, though, and find out who made it. What can be inferred is that the term would not come from the Ford Motor Company because they had not invented their oval-shaped logo back then.
It could have changed drastically in the 1960s
In fact, in the 1960s, Henry Ford II decided to change the logo so he asked the designer Paul Rand to come up with something completely different. The outcome was very surprising so Henry Ford II gave up the idea and decided to stick to the Blue Oval Logo ‘s good old version.
Ford almost lost it in 2006
Did you know that 2006 represented a devastating downturn in the automobile industry in Detroit? That’s precisely why the Ford Motor Company agreed to put down their logo for a loan (among several other assets) to stop the crisis’s repercussions. Fortunately, the trick worked out and in 2012 Ford successfully regained control of the company logo.
How many changes were there?
We have only one question left to answer after all we’ve seen so far: How many Ford logos are there? The Blue Oval has modified 11 times since 1903, our research reveals. The truth remains, however, that the last five versions are very close and only put in small updates.
The car icon is hard to find more impactful and identifiable than the Blue Oval logo from Ford.
Their logo has changed over the decades, but none of its charms has really been lost.
As a matter of truth, the Ford logo has been widely recognized as one of the car-making industry’s most popular design ventures.