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Volkswagen changed its logo – here's the real reason why the brand has a new badge

2019-10-15 11:11

Lance Branquinho

New vw logo

Image: Twitter

VW is a powerful global automotive brand with specific significance in South Africa.

The Vivo and Polo are by far our most popular passenger cars and VW has an intractable local customer loyalty. But things are changing.

READ | Volkswagen reveals a new logo for the brand at Frankfurt IAA

VW is overhauling its image with a new brand identity. The VW roundel is an instantly recognisable trademark and contains the deep brand value – which makes it odd that anybody would wish to alter it.

Fiddling with brand identity symbols, especially when they are established and regarded, is fraught with risk. Why would VW bother with changing its corporate identity?


What do you think of the new VW logo? Email us and tell us what you think.


The simplification of its VW logo has ostensibly been done to make the company’s badge more digitally identifiable.

Three-dimensional shapes are not the best for digital media and since the 2000 redesign, VW’s logo has contained a deep 3D etching element.

By flattening and thinning the linework of VW’s logo, it is now easier to recognise, with greater visual impact, when viewed on any digital screen.

Considering the importance of digital media and marketing, VW’s decision to reconfigure its logo for better digital legibility is understandable. But that is not the only reason it has been done.

Simper logos for battery cars

VW is amidst the greatest transformation in its history. The company’s significant engineering resources have been refocused on electrification, as VW attempts to deliver a product portfolio that is 40% battery-powered by 2030.

This revolution in powertrain diversity means that VW’s cars will soon start looking a lot different, especially from the front.

The automotive grille is a crucial styling feature of any modern vehicle. We recognise brands more via their grille design than any other singular styling detail.

If you crop out the headlights, bumper and bonnet of any vehicle, identification would still be possible – simply by virtue of grille design differentiation.

new vw badge

                                                                   Image: Janine Van der Post

Electric cars don’t require a traditional grille, and this changes the way that stylists and designers will choose to shape and surface the front of their cars in future. A very near future – for VW.

With the likelihood that a brand badge will no longer be sitting on a conventional grille background, the challenge to redesign badges has begun.

A grille background is dark, with strong horizontal lines or intricate honeycomb patterns.

To make its VW roundel contrast properly on that backing, VW optioned to evolve it with a three-dimensional shape for decades. But on an electric car, that isn’t going to work.

Battery-powered vehicles will have a solid nose surface, instead of a grille. And on a solid surface and colour backing, the simpler linework of VW’s new badge is a necessary change.

VW has been the first automotive company to reform its logo, with a mindfulness to how its future electric vehicles will look in a realm of design without functional grilles. It will certainly no be the last.

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