One of the world’s leading automotive brands, Audi has had a long and interesting history. The company and the Audi logo have become synonymous with German efficiency, style, elegance, and technological evolution. The German automaker is renowned for the company’s luxury vehicles, and it is one of the most successful automobile companies in the world.
The company’s history is particularly interesting seeing as it resulted from the merger of four different companies, one of them already named Audi. The name comes from both the Latin word for ‘listen’ and from the name of the company founder, August Horch – Horch meaning to listen.
Audi Logo Design Elements
The main design elements of the Audi logo (not to be misspelled as Audy, as it so frequently is) are, of course, the four rings. The truth is that while everybody knows the evolution and Audi logo history, it is yet unconfirmed what the original inspiration for the logo was.
While some claim that it was inspired by the Olympics rings and that you can take that to the bank, other tend to disagree without offering any alternative. The truth is yet to be revealed, but we’ll get to that later.
Changes and Evolution
Over the years, the Audi logo took many shapes and forms. Pics of the logo depict it throughout its transformation over the years, from when the company was actually four different ones that eventually merged into one. So, the true Audi logo meaning is basically unity.
Back in the last two decades of the 1800s and in the first decade of the 1900s, there used to be four different car companies priding themselves on being the best at engineering their vehicles – Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer. Two of them, Audi and Horch, were owned by engineer extraordinaire August Horch.
Each of them had their own logos, with Audi having an upside down equilateral triangle with the number one stylized as a gearshift rising from behind it. Around 1932, the four companies merged into one – the Auto Union AG.
This led to the unification of their logos as well, and also to the first incarnation of the Audi logo. Over the years, many minor changes would eventually lead to the new Audi logo present on the high-quality luxury and sport cars we know today.
The shape of the modern Audi logo first began to take shape in 1932. When the Auto Union AG first came to be, the conglomerate’s logo consisted of four interlocking rings with the logos of the four companies inside each ring. It was meant to stand for unity and cooperation.
Over the years, the logo slowly and steadily became what we know today. It dropped the logos of the four companies, replacing them with the words Auto Union, only to eventually drop everything and only keep the four interlocked rings.
The last change came in 2009, with the company’s 100th anniversary. The rings were slightly modified, making them look more welded together than interlocked. While on the one hand it suggests the idea that with time and cooperation a true unity can be born, on the other hand it sort of takes away from what the logo stood for at first. Interestingly, people use the new Audi logo wallpaper more than they used the old one. Pretty much every Audi logo is available for download in HD.
Color and Font
First of all, let’s talk about the color of the Audi logo. The bright and slick silver chrome coloring of the car maker’s logo gives the brand a very modern and sophisticated touch. It is meant to symbolize the brand’s innovative power and creative design, as well as its elegance and sophistication.
Traditionally, silver is used in logos and other designs to transmit meanings of modernism, industrialism, sleekness, and high-tech. It is often associated with sophistication, glamor, grace, and elegance. And, of course, pretty much every Audi car, such as the A3, A4, A6, Q7, R8, RS, or TT, has those characteristics made obvious in their design.
Meanwhile, the black color often seen in commercials and other types of publicity alongside the silver-chrome Audi car logo is meant to represent elegance, power, and formality. Of course, the German automaker stands for all of those qualities. That is best seen in the Audi S line, on cars such as the S3, S4, or even S5.
As for the font in which the Audi name is written alongside the logo whenever it is featured, it also has a story of its own. In fact, the Audi logos only have the Audi name written next to them since 2009. Previously, in 1997, the Audi Sans font was created by Ole Schäfer,
Later, around 2009, MetaDesign was commissioned to design the custom corporate typeface for Audi. Designed by Pieter von Rosmalen and Paul van der Laan, Audi Type would go on and be featured in most of Audi’s products and marketing materials ever since, including on things such as floor mats, tires, and plenty of pictures and wallpapers.
As with many old companies that are still up and running these days, the origin of the Audi logo is mostly shrouded in mystery. One theory in particular has gained the most traction, although there really is nobody who could confirm or deny. The theory is made even better by the fact that Audi got sued by the Olympics Committee for copying their logo.
Back in 1936, the Summer Olympics took place in Berlin. Since it was around that time that the four automotive companies merged to give birth to Audi, it widely believed that the Olympic Games logo actually was the inspiration source for the Audi logo. Nobody actually confirmed this theory, however.
Perhaps one of the least mentioned, yet most interesting things about the Audi logo is how much it resembles the Olympic Games logo. While most people see it as just a passing resemblance, the Olympics committee didn’t see it as such at one point. This is how the International Olympic Committee sued the company in 1995.
Back in 1995, members of the Committee thought that the Audi logo resembled the Olympics logo too much to be just a coincidence. So, they sued the company in the International Trademark Court and ended up losing. This is despite the fact that the most prominent theory regarding the inception of the Audi logo involved the Olympic Games.
While the Audi logo truly is one of the most recognizable logos in the world, the company’s slogan didn’t fall too far from the tree either. Vorsprung durch Technik is Audi’s corporate tagline, and it is translated literally as Progress through Technology. However, the tagline has been changed in a few countries in an attempt to make it sound better.
This led to some pretty awkward discussions when the emissions scandal came to light last year. One of the most memorable things that happened was when Kermit the Frog poked fun at the disgraced Audi CEO by saying “It’s not that easy being green.”
Another interesting little tidbit about the Audi logo is that there is a knock-off logo that gets even more hits on Google than the original company logo. The dope Audi logo, as it is referred to, simply consists of the word “dope” stylized to look like the famous logo. The internet is full of vector images, be they EPS, PNG, and pretty much every other image format of the knock-off logo.
Belonging to one of the most beloved and respected automobile companies in the world (with the exception of the 2015 emissions scandal), the Audi logo represents the brand perfectly. Both the color and shape of the logo transmit the same qualities the German automaker stands for, making it one of the best logos in the world.