Established in 1937, Volkswagen was part of the German initiative to provide their citizens with affordable automobiles, and the automaker’s first logo comprised the VW initials within a stylised cogwheel that was surrounded by swastika wings. This design signifies an ancient Nordic symbol, Ginfaxi, which is a binding in ancient rune that supposedly granted victory in any battles fought.
However, the logo saw a significant modification in 1945 after the fall of the Nazis. Once the British took control of the company, the black-and-white colours were inverted and gear cogs were removed to make the logo look less like the Nazi flag.
Various adaptations of this logo with different colour and style variations followed over subsequent years, including a square design, until VW made a major change to its logo once again.
In 2000, VW adopted a three-dimensional logo with realistic and shaded colours, further enhancing the depth of the shape in its 2012 redesign. This is the logo present on most vehicles today which has now been refined by darker blues and simpler layout of the 2019 logo.
Between 1937 – 1939
The first VW logo reflects its birth as the “people’s car” that Adolf Hitler wanted to motorise the citizens of Nazi Germany. The initials of the words Volks and Wagen were arranged inside a circle, one above the other, and embedded in a cogwheel whose perimeter develops a graphic theme that is a reinterpretation of the swastika. The original design is from Reimspiess, who will then sign the Beetle engine design.
(Related Story: A Brief Look Into the History of the Volkswagen Beetle)
Between 1939 – 1945
The original logo only lasted for two years and changed during the period of World War II. References to the cross disappeared, but the cogwheel remains. The new design still composed of the V and W, except that the fonts were enlarged and its proportions becomes similar to those of today. The peculiarity of this logo is that it is found practically only in military vehicles, given the war conversion of all production during the conflict.
Between 1945 – 1960
The one that goes from the postwar period to the beginning of the ’60s is the longest-running VW logo. It lasted 15 years and became famous not only with the Beetle, but also with the different T1 vans. The cogwheel disappears and the design of the letters widens. It is an immediately recognisable logo, simple yet very proportionate.
Between 1960 – 1967
This logo is the only one in the history of VW that has a square shape. During these years, the Wolfsburg firm opened up to international markets, especially in North America, and a new design was necessary to maintain a more global image.
Between 1967 – 1978
Towards the end of the ‘60s, the logo changed once again and the square frames were removed. The new design was very similar to the postwar logo, but this time it was thinner. In addition, the colours were no longer black and white; the blue used in this logo appears to this day. It is the most essential and minimalist logo in the history of VW. Until recently, at least.
Between 1978 – 1989
The ’60s passed, the ’70s arrived and, with them, the revolution of the K70, Golf, and Passat. VW began to grow exponentially and also looked towards China. A new logo was needed to reaffirm that maturity. The basic graphic design remains the same and the two-dimensionality does not change. Instead, the colours are inverted, with blue as the background and white in the letters, while adopting a double frame.
Between 1989 – 2000
In the next 11 years, the VW logo changed three times. The first version, which lasted until 1995, is the simplest of all: it is practically the same logo used between 1945 and 1960, but with the light blue colour instead of black.
From 1995 to 2000, however, it returned to the graphics of the ‘70s and ‘80s, but with slightly different proportions and colours, which change very little, as confirmed by the coexistence of two almost equal logos during the last year of the millennium.
Between 2000 – 2012
With the third millennium comes three-dimensionality, with a new logo that seems to rest on a kind of round platform. The blue becomes a little less intense, especially in the second version, which lasts only two years, from 2010 to 2012, while the proportions are now fixed.
Between 2012 – 2019
The next logo, the one now being replaced, is basically an even more three-dimensional version, and slightly smaller than the previous one. This is the ultimate evolution of a concept that’s now changing to accompany VW in a new era of electric mobility.
From 2019 To Present
Here it is, the all-new VW logo and the ninth since 1937. It is a marked departure from the last two logos, eschewing all dimensions for a simple, flat, two-dimensional design.
Which VW logo best resonates with you? Let us know your favourite design in the comments below!