VW's retro new logo was designed for the digital world

Auto brand simplifies its mark into a sleek black and white symbol

Published On
Aug 23, 2019

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Volkswagen will use the Frankfurt motor show in September to officially unveil a new logo, one that has already made it on to prototype cars being tested in the wild. The Wolfsburg-based also used the logo in its “Hello Light” ad that debuted in June from Johannes Leonardo. 

The design will appear a little different on cars themselves because the black background will not feature a flat, matte finish. Instead, if the prototypes are any indication, the black background will feature a glazed, reflective finish.

The new, more two-dimensional logo will replace one that was introduced in 2000, which featured a three-dimensional surface and was lit from the top left quarter because that look was in vogue at the time. The new logo is closest to the postwar version–the biggest difference will be a thicker outer ring.

The new logo was designed with the digital world in mind, hence a two-dimensional appearance, but it may still feel retro to some with thinner, two-dimensional letters giving it a vintage feel. With just two main colors, the new logo may appear more austere, given the various shades of blue that the outgoing logo had featured.

Of course, the badge that goes on the car and the logo that goes on dealership signs and other items are different things: VW dealers have been using the three-dimensional blue design, while vehicles have kept chrome lettering with a black background. The eighth-generation Golf will be the first production vehicle to feature the new logo.

While this change will likely go unnoticed by a majority of the non-VW car owners –it's not a transformational change into something cube-shaped, for instance–the bigger visual change may arrive with the official debut of the VW's ID electric brand. For instance, how will the automaker set the ID logo apart on its electric cars? Will it be an illuminated emblem like on the prototype ID Buzz EV?

Our money is on the ID electric lineup wearing an illuminated version of this badge.

Jay Ramey is associate editor of Autoweek, an affiliate of Ad Age.