Chevrolet Logo

Chevy logo history and meaning

A guide to the Chevrolet emblem.

Are you familiar with the Chevy logo? How about the history of how the Chevy emblem came to be? While most people recognize the iconic golden bow of the Chevrolet logo, the background of the design isn’t as well-known. 

Chevrolet is among the most popular automobile brands in the world, known for delivering high-quality, reliable cars in various shapes and sizes. The Chevrolet logo attempts to exhibit the value available from the brand at a glance. 

Versions of the bowtie logo have adorned vehicles from the Company for more than 100 years. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at Chevy logo history, and where this design came from. 

Here’s your guide to the Chevy emblem and logo…

What does the Chevy symbol mean? Chevy logo meaning

Sometimes described as a bowtie, or a cross, the Chevy emblem is easy to recognize anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, the meaning of the Chevy logo is harder to distinguish. 

Chevrolet’s emblem is a wide, slanted cross in gold and black. The design was originally introduced by co-founder for Chevrolet, William C. Durant in 1913. 

Though we know when the Chevrolet logo first appeared, Chevy says the origins are somewhat murky. One theory from Chevrolet is Durant was inspired by a pattern he saw on wallpaper when he was on vacation in Paris. 

Durant’s daughter Margery believes the design was entirely original. In her book about her father, Margery said Durant would regularly doodle nameplate designs. 

Durant’s wife, Catherine further suggests the logo came from a newspaper ad seen in Virginia. According to Catherine, William saw the ad and thought it would be ideal for the Chevy emblem. 

The final theory seems to be the most likely, as Ken Kaufmann, editor and historian for The Chevrolet Review, found a version of the logo in a newspaper ad from November 2011. 

Chevrolet’s bowtie logo, however it came to be, is now among the most well-known designs in history. This is also among the most enduring logo designs, as many aspects have remained the same for decades. 

Chevy emblem history: Chevy logo history

The Chevy bowtie is one of the better-known automobile logos in the world. This design has appeared throughout Chevrolet dealerships since 1913. Before the Chevrolet bowtie logo was born, the initial emblem was a signature-style wordmark with no defining shape. 

The distinct handwriting of the mark matched the co-founder’s signature. 

Chevrolet Logo

The original Chevy bowtie logo followed a color scheme of light blue, gold, and white, with black elements to help make the design stand-out. The colors, combined with the bold serif font of the “Chevrolet” wordmark helped the design to look elegant and sophisticated. 

Chevrolet Logo

In 1934, Chevrolet’s logo changed again. The Chevy bowtie remained the same, but the color scheme shifted to white and black, with a more modern typeface. The letters were chunkier, and sans-serif this time around, showcasing a strong, masculine aesthetic. 

Chevrolet Logo

The Chevy logo update in 1940 took the image back to the original blue and gold color palette. The royal blue color was more intense this time, and the gold framing was thicker. The sans-serif font remained the same, with lines above and below the name.

Chevrolet Logo

For a brief time in the 1940s, the Chevrolet logo also transformed drastically, removing the Chevrolet bowtie in exchange for a stylized word mark. The “V” in the middle of the name was intended to look like a victory sign. 

Chevrolet Logo

In the 1950s, Chevy experimented with a bold red and white version of the logo. The emblem of the Chevy bowtie was still there, while the font returned to a serif structure. This is one of the more confusing changes in Chevrolet’s logo timeline. 

The white cross on a red background makes the design seem more suitable for a health or emergency services company.

Chevrolet Logo

Chevrolet bowtie logos: The later years

By the 1960s, Chevrolet had returned to a more classic style for the bowtie logo. The red circle was removed, and Chevy showcased a minimalist monochrome logo instead. Once again, the font returned to sans-serif style, this time italicized and bold. 

Chevrolet Logo

In 1976, Chevrolet painted its logo blue again, with a thin white frame surrounding the design, and a soft black shadow. The wordmark became much smaller and more basic, placed in the middle of the horizontal line

Chevrolet Logo

In 1988, the Chevrolet team briefly brought the red coloring back, this time for the font of the Chevrolet wordmark. The Chevy bowtie stood empty, with the wordmark placed underneath, rather than in the horizontal line. 

The bowtie maintained the classic blue shade in a thick outline.

Chevrolet Logo

By 2001, Chevrolet began experimenting with metallic colors again. A contoured red/bronze version of the Chevrolet bowtie on a white background appeared, though only for a short space of time. In 2002, the design changed again. 

Chevrolet Logo

2002 is when Chevrolet started using the Chevy bowtie as the crux of its visual identity. The Chevrolet wordmark still appears at times, in a stylized, all-caps font:

Chevrolet Logo

However, it’s now more common to see the Chevrolet golden bowtie on its own. The emblem seems to belong perfectly on the front of a car, with a powerful metallic design, and a 3D image. The change in 2002 appears to represent the growing and continued strength of the Company. 

Chevrolet Logo

Notably, there have also been other Chevrolet logos considered through the years. If you’re interested at seeing some of Chevrolet’s favorite designs, you can check out the 100th anniversary celebration infographic from Chevy themselves:

Chevrolet Logo

The Chevrolet bowtie logo today

Today, the Chevrolet emblem is a combination of a textured iconic golden bowtie, with a slick chrome border. The textured gold seems to replicate the appearance of a set of headlights, the silver framing adds an element of luxury and strength. 

Chevrolet occasionally uses the “Chevrolet” wordmark underneath the bowtie. However, the emblem alone has become so iconic at this point, it’s recognizable with no reference to the name of the brand. Chevy’s logo is clear, simple, and easy to pinpoint anywhere. 

Chevrolet Logo

Today, the elements of Chevrolet’s logo include:

Chevrolet logo colors

Chevy has experimented with various colors for its emblem over the years. Today, the most recognizable shades are the golden Chevrolet bowtie, with the silver outline. The wordmark usually appears in either white or black. 

The Chevrolet bowtie

The Chevrolet bowtie is the most enduring of the Chevy logo design traits. The memorable cross image may have uncertain origins, but today it can effectively distinguish an entire fleet of vehicles anywhere in the world. 

The Chevrolet font

The Chevrolet font is a custom sans serif font created specifically for Chevrolet. There are versions available today which look similar, such as the Aviano Future font, seen here.

Celebrating the Chevy emblem

The Chevrolet logo is an excellent example of how the simplest design can make a huge impact on a company’s image. Though Chevy logo history might be murky, the business has effectively built a memorable brand over the years. 

Each new iteration of the Chevy symbol helped the organization to better convey important information about the kind of vehicles they had to sell. 

Today, the Chevy symbol is an iconic image all over the world. The golden and silver coloring convey luxury and class, while the historical bowtie reminds customers of the brand’s heritage. 

Although the wordmark can also appear alongside the Chevy symbol, it’s also common to see the Chevrolet bowtie standing alone. This is an excellent insight into how a memorable logo can negate the need for a brand name to appear on products. 

Regardless of what you might think about the Chevy logo meaning, and where the design came from, it’s impossible to ignore the impact this image has today. 

If you’d like to learn more about popular logos, or you need help designing an emblem just as powerful for your brand, check out our other articles here at Fabrik. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

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