How Does the Symbolism in Automobile Logos Influence Purchasing Decisions?

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Your favorite brand’s logo probably creates excitement, comfort, and motivation in you. Regardless of the feeling, you are attracted to the brand. Automotive logos or symbols for automobiles are no different.

Researchers say we can attach a particular meaning to an object in less than 400 milliseconds after seeing it. It is through logo design that purchase decisions are influenced. There is a sense conveyed to consumers by every automobile logo in less than half a second.

Customers will first be regarded with more suspicion by an unfamiliar car brand until they can prove their assumptions incorrect. In contrast, well-known brands have a developed idea of the quality of the product, customer service, value, popularity, etc. Let us examine in more detail how symbols and logo design impact customers and what car brands do to address this problem.

The Power of Symbols in the Automobile Industry

Humans have used symbols throughout history to communicate complex ideas and emotions. An automobile company’s symbol represents its core values, which are universally understood and unique in the industry. Symbols are more than just visual representations of a brand; they are representations of the brand’s essence.

When choosing graphic design elements for your logo, this is the one aspect that you should focus on before anything else.

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Logos Influence Purchase Decisions

There is a great deal of importance to logo design since it influences assumptions regarding the brands they represent.

How you feel about Lamborghini differs from how you feel about Ferrari, Aston Martin, or BMW, is that correct? Even though they produce similar products. Based on past experiences and the branding choices of a company, you subconsciously have an impression of the brand when you see its logo.

For the same reason, people form certain perceptions of your brand when they first see your logo. The perception is good -they believe that you will provide value and deserve their trust. It is a good idea to get a professional logo designed for your automobile company for a positive one.

Nevertheless, suppose the perception of your logo is negative. In that case, you appear cheap or amateurish-then you will have to fight an uphill battle to serve any chance of being taken seriously. If your logo does not reflect your brand, you are already behind the eight-ball.

Logos Help You Get a Unique Brand Identity

Having a distinctive and cohesive look is essential for establishing what your brand stands for and how you intend it to be perceived. The brand identity refers to how your brand will appear in the future. A distinctive logo can serve as the foundation for building upon the overall vision and should be aligned with it.

You can add it to branding materials such as business cards or flyers to build further recognition. A Volvo logo, which features concentric rings, may instantly evoke feelings of safety and reliability, influencing consumers who are shopping for a vehicle based on these qualities.

Logo’s Help to Form Emotional Connections

Many times, it happens that customers form an emotional connection with a brand, and the logo design plays an important part in this. This only happens when a logo successfully conveys brand values that customers like, and later, it develops a sense of loyalty and trust. You can find many examples of famous logos that evoke emotions with designs.

For instance, Subaru’s six-star cluster represents the Pleiades star cluster and signifies the brand’s six companies merging into one. This symbol creates a sense of unity and makes customers feel part of a community.

Let’s discuss in detail how the psychology of fonts, color, and logo shapes forms emotional connections and influences customer decisions.

Badges Used in Automobile Companies

Badges used by car companies also sometimes influence purchasing decisions. These badges represent brand identity, heritage, and reputation. They also carry various connotations and perceptions that impact consumer perceptions and preferences. When it comes to the mechanic of car logos, you need to keep the symbolism in mind. Here are a few ways badges influence customers.

Brand Reputation: Badges symbolize the reputation and legacy of automotive companies. Those brands known for their reliability and performance evoke trust and confidence. A badge can easily sway customer decisions because they often associate the quality and trustworthiness of the company.
Prestige and Status: Certain badges are considered a status of prestige and appeal to those who seek luxury. Vehicles with special symbols may be perceived as symbols of success and social status, influencing customers to show off their wealth to the public.
Performance and Technology: Some car badges are associated with performance and using the latest technology that tech-savvy customers love. Symbols denoting high-performance engines and advanced safety features attract buyers who want the latest car advancements.

Here are a few examples of famous brands whose badges impact the audience.

Tesla: Tesla’s badge has become synonymous with innovation, cutting-edge technology, and environmental sustainability. The brand’s commitment to electric vehicles and renewable energy solutions has become very popular recently in the industry. As mentioned above, we explained that some badges are associated with technology and advancements, and Tesla is a prime example.

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Bentley: The Bentley badge represents a legacy of luxury and craftsmanship. With a heritage of over a century, Bentley is renowned for its handcrafted, high-performance vehicles that show elegance.

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Ferrari: The leaping horse symbol of Ferrari shows racing heritage consisting of top-of-the-line sports cars that offer incredible speed. The logo attracts those passionate about motorsports and looking for the best driving experience.

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Shapes of logos and their impact

The perception and response of customers determine how they evaluate logos, as mentioned earlier. A well-designed logo can help distinguish a car brand from those that blend in with the competition and those that stand out. However, the logo has a greater impact than just its appearance, as the shape of the logo may convey an unconscious symbolism.

Logos come in three broad categories, each with a different shape:


Geometric logos are designed using shapes such as squares, circles, and triangles. It is common for financial institutions and technology companies to use them to convey stability, balance, and symmetry.

Organic logos, in contrast, make use of free-flowing, organic shapes and curves that resemble the natural form of leaves, waves, and flowers.

In design, abstract logos combine geometric and organic shapes to produce a unique image representing the brand’s values or vision. Abstract logos are popular among creative industries such as advertising, art, and design because they convey creativity, innovation, and originality. Let’s look at what each type of logo represents and how automobile brands use them.

1. Geometric Logo Shapes

Let’s start with geometric designs to give you a better idea of how symbols influence purchasing decisions.

Circles and Ellipses

For a good reason, the circular logo is one of the most commonly used logo shapes. Circles can convey numerous meanings since they are timeless and universal. There is a common association between them and unity, harmony, and community. A logo that conveys a sense of balance or inclusivity can also use these symbols to convey feelings of wholeness or perfection. Also, circles can convey a sense of motion and energy, which can be extremely helpful for brands wishing to convey a sense of forward thinking and progress.

The BMW logo is one of the most iconic circular logos in the automotive industry. Blue and white circular logos with stylized propellers have become synonymous with the luxury automobile manufacturer. While the propeller in the logo symbolizes the brand’s roots in aircraft engines, its round shape conveys a sense of movement and energy. BMW’s logo is highly recognizable and represents quality and innovation.

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Squares and Rectangles

The square logo is the most popular logo shape for several reasons, including its ability to convey a sense of balance, stability, and professionalism. The square shape represents order and structure for brands who wish to instill confidence and trust in their customers.


The triangle is one of the strongest shapes that can be used in logo design, as it conveys a sense of stability and power. This shape also represents progress and movement for brands that want to convey an impression of growth or improvement.

Three red rhombus shapes form Mitsubishi’s logo. The brand’s three companies come together in its logo to form a strong, united entity.

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2. Organic Shapes

In logo design, shapes can have a significant impact on the perception of a brand by consumers. The organic shape has become increasingly popular in recent years.

An organic shape is a freeform shape that does not adhere to a strict geometric pattern. It is often referred to as a natural or curvilinear shape. As a result of nature’s inspiration, these shapes have a softer, more flowing appearance. Using them can make you feel playful, creative, and accessible.

A company looking to attract younger or more progressive consumers often relies on organic shapes. These are popular choices for beauty and icons in wellness brands due to their natural and pure appearance. As a symbol of grace, speed, and agility, Jaguar’s logo represents a leaping jaguar. Jaguar’s flowing lines contribute to a dynamic and organic look that reflects the brand’s luxury and performance-oriented products.

In Land Rover’s logo, a mountain silhouette appears oval. As a result of this organic design, the brand emphasizes its ability to handle rough terrain and its connection to nature.

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3. Abstract Shapes

An abstract form consists of a simplified shape that does not necessarily resemble a recognized object. It is more common for them to convey emotions or concepts through abstract and symbolic representations. Depending on their shape, they may evoke a certain feeling or emotion or create a sense of intrigue and mystery.

There are three ellipses in Toyota’s logo, which is an abstract design. These ellipses symbolize the union of the hearts of Toyota products and those of its customers. It is a conceptual and minimalist representation of the philosophy behind the brand.

The Chevrolet logo depicts an abstract bowtie boldly and prominently. Its abstract design makes Chevrolet’s commitment to innovation and progress immediately recognizable.

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Why Are Car Brands Recently Shifting Towards a More Modern Look For Their Logos?

We hope you understand why the customers’ purchase decision sometimes depends on logo design. This has been a trend for decades, but in the last 4-5 years, many popular brands have changed their logo design to give it a more modern look as technology advances. These brands include BMW, Mini, Opel, Volkswagen, Audi, KIA, and most recently Nissan.

A modernized brand design, however, does not only address the design of the logo alone but also the design of secondary items of style and typography to ensure the brand as a whole does not lag behind the redesign of the logo.

What is the situation? Are these brands adopting a retro look? Or does this mass re-imagining campaign have a deeper meaning? We will discuss a few of the most common reasons for this.

1. Trying to Send a new message

Changing the logo is usually done to convey a new message. The best way to accomplish this is to redesign the logo. You can easily see how hidden messages can be conveyed using words and shapes in logos of global companies such as Amazon and FedEx.

For these car brands, it is often a matter of conveying openness, simplicity, and ease of use. There are no more closed spheres, shields, bars, or anything else. There are a lot of transparent logos, so they let the background of the item they’re embossed on or printed on show through. According to some brands, this conveys openness and indicates their willingness to receive feedback, communicate, and form client partnerships.

As well as being more simple in design, the new logo conveys the products’ simplicity and ease of use. They hope their vehicles or related mobility products will convey the same impression.

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2. Adaptation to Mobility

Over the past few years, it has become increasingly evident that the concept of a car company can evoke different kinds of emotions. Nevertheless, many of these companies are now undertaking a wide range of activities beyond the production of automobiles. Peugeot and BMW are also engaged in the manufacture of motorcycles.

Nissan, Volkswagen, General Motors, and Kia are also exploring electric powertrains and self-driving technology and offering additional services beyond the sale of vehicles. As Toyota bravely renamed itself, announcing its new logo is often paired with transitioning from a car manufacturer to a mobility company.

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3. Digitalization

It is probably true that the shift to digital has been one of the most practical reasons for changing logos. Every one of these brands has its online presence, apps, and programs. Each of these requires a thumbnail, profile picture, or icon.

Clear and concise icons and photos are essential for instant recognition in today’s digital world, even when they are shrunk down to thumbnail size on a smartphone. It will be difficult to discern flourishes in the logo, such as chrome effects or gradients, at this smaller scale. So companies focus on logo adaptability to survive.

Flat designs are more conducive to using LEDs to illuminate the logos, which has become increasingly popular in recent years and is almost certain to be implemented in future automobiles. Several concept cars are already available with the new logos from Nissan, Kia, and BMW.

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Wrapping Up

Overall, every detail of the car company logo will influence people’s decisions after seeing it. This includes symbols, shapes, and colors used. So when designing such logos, remember to incorporate all these elements that represent the brand and its values. Before anything, its a good idea to consider getting a car logo that represents your brand in the best way. You can create one with a free AI logo maker as well to create a relevant one that lasts for a long time.

The post How Does the Symbolism in Automobile Logos Influence Purchasing Decisions? appeared first on ZD Blog.

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