Volkswagen Plans to Update Its Logo to Something ‘More Colorful’

This would mark the 10th logo change since Volkswagen was founded.

byRob Stumpf| UPDATED Apr 18, 2018 2:54 PM
Volkswagen Plans to Update Its Logo to Something ‘More Colorful’

Volkswagen is changing. It's no longer the industrious brand that it was when founded in 1937, instead, it is becoming a more refined and modern company focused on advancing itself through electromobility. Now, the company's iconic "VW" logo is undergoing a change to make it "more colorful."

Just last week, Volkswagen announced that it would oust Matthias Müller as CEO in favor of Herbert Diess, a management-level placement plucked from BMW in 2015. Diess has historically favored Volkswagen's shift towards electrification and is a clear pick for the way the company plans to head in the coming years. In a company address, Diess called the shift to electromobility an "evolution rather than a revolution," signaling the need for the company to update its image to reflect just that.

The automaker's chief marketing officer, Jochen Sengpieh, confirmed in a press briefing that the company's new logo would be presented next year, just as the company begins its aggressive push of electrification onto the world. The only hint dropped was that it would be updated to "work on car fronts as well as smartphone screens, according to Bloomberg, which given the Material Design push of today's age of technology, may mean that Volkswagen drops its logo's 3-D look. Sengpieh also mentioned that it would be using digital and social media to market its products, indicating that its new target audience for electric and intelligent cars could very well be millennials and those who've lived their lives in the digital age.

“The big challenge is: How do we get people into the electric world?” said Sengpiehl, “We want people to have fun with us, we need to get more colorful.”

From the time it was launched, Volkswagen has always had a very marketable approach to its use of branding in logo design. The company itself has roots in pre-World War II Germany, stemming from a project Adolf Hitler envisioned for "the people's car." He sketched a quick drawing of the KDF-Wagen (KDF meaning "Kraft durch Freude," or "strength through joy"), which would later be known to the world as the Volkswagen Beetle, and handed it to Austrian automobile engineer Ferdinand Porsche. The original logo embodied principal design features of the National Socialists movement, resembling a swastika. Being the symbol of the nation, and the thought behind the Volkswagen brand being one of the keys to strengthening the dwindling 1930s German economy.

Prior to World War II, the logo shifted from a pseudo-political symbol to more of an industrious one, surrounding the "VW" with symbolistic gear cogs. After World War II, the British took control of the Volkswagen manufacturing plant and its housing town was renamed Wolfsberg. The logo was then altered to remove the gear cogs and invert the white and black lines making up "VW." In 1949, Volkswagen was handed back to the German government who would turn the company in the direction of becoming a successful automaker.

The '60s added a box to the logo for some reason, which was then removed later in the decade; this is when the logo starts to look a bit more familiar. The logo was then thinned out and colored blue. It changed in the late '70s to make the strokes broader, the mid-'90s changed its shade of blue, the late '90s added a bit of gradient shading and depth, a year later in 2000 it appeared in "3-D," and then its latest revision in 2015, which added some structure to remove its cartoon-like appearance.

Volkswagen is currently the largest automaker by volume in the world, rivaled closely with Toyota. It's a household name that nearly every person is familiar with, and has grown with every generation using its iconic "VW" logo pattern so it would be difficult to see the automaker switch to anything else. In a time where Volkswagen is looking to adopt future customers into an uncharted world of electrificaton, anything is possible.