• Robert Olley

2 Things You Must Know About The New Volkswagen Logo Design

Volkswagen is one of the most well known vehicle manufacturers worldwide. They have always had a simplistic logo and badge on their cars, using the "V" and "W" as the main focus within the logo design to abbreviate their full trading name.

Towards the end of 2019 Volkswagen looked at their branding and the future of their cars, they decided to refine the logo and messaging which signaled a turn towards electric vehicles and a very refined style for the automotive group.

As the design of Volkswagen's badge and logo has been around for years this change signals an important message for how branding a companies logo could look in the future. Many companies are following this trend of refining logos from 3D effects and shaded layered effects to simple block identities that are easily recognisable by shape and form.

One of the first uses of logos were cattle brands in the 1800's. To signal what was property of the land owner.

But why are big companies refining logos to be brutally simplistic? Have we gone so far in design that we are going back to a simple "Cattle Brand" mark on our assets?

1 - The New Volkswagen Logo Design Shouts Unapologetic Brand Strength

That's right, a logo this simplistic is Volkswagens way of shouting - "you already know who we are but have this little visual reminder".

When comparing the older Volkswagen (VW) logo to the new one. You can see how it's just a simple design change, the whole visual style has been drawn back and made to feel smoother, more premium and in some way more purposeful. The older logo looked bulky; 3D edges with shading that darted the eye around the "VW" initials, which made it feel upon reflection; very manufactured and corporate. Yet I feel this was correct for their old direction.

In comparison the new direction is for an electric future, a purposeful future in transport and direction for the company. As a professional designer I applaud the new logo, it's brave, simple and all that it needs to be. There are many people calling it "a waste of money" - "what is the point". But maybe these people aren't the right target market, because the new logo looks breathtaking in place on a VW grille.

2 - "Less Is More" Is Here To Stay Throughout Future Visual Communication

The new logo shows how well established branding can and will be strong in a brutally simple way. We have all seen examples of Apple, Mcdonalds, Nike and Adidas being big players in having a refined but big visual impact.

However these brands all started out with or have had a simple logo design identity for at least 10 years. Way before more refined styles were even considered to be strong or a desirable way forward for good branding. The main reason for this is trends. In the late 1990's and early 2000's we were spoilt for choice with new and emerging graphic design software. Computers were just becoming mainstream and designers were switching over from analogue processes to digital.

On this transition a lot of graphic designers and companies started to add more and more and more and more; textures, effects, 3D elements, colours and shapes into the mix across design communications. It was an experimental phase, but it had an effect on logo design.

You can visually see the change in effects from industry trends.

Now 20+ years down the line from the overworked, over effected design styles we are beginning to go back to the classic cattle brands. Classic 2 colour screen print style identities. But with a twist, the shape, form and function we can now achieve is mouthwatering, which is just what simple logos like the new VW one are.

The new Volkswagen logo is mouthwatering for many reasons. It should class, elegance, future and purpose. No I'm not being a pretentious artistic design snob. The logo works for everything the new VW brand messaging works for, it looks draw dropping on the Golf 8 and I can't wait to see more of it on their new models.

I also can't wait to see how other companies follow suit, realising less is more and their brand awareness can drive a new purposeful uncluttered and elegant visually designed future.

How do you want your logo to look?

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"Design Made Simple" is my YouTube series which launched in January 2021. Each video helps you better understand graphic design whilst learning how to maximise your visual language.

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Rolley - Robert Olley

London based Graphic Designer

RG12 0WE, Bracknell, Berkshire UK


07768 821 290

Services & Skills

Design thinking, creating planning & management, branding, logo design, business design & improvement, social media design.