Founded 114 years ago in Detroit, Michigan, Cadillac is one of the most respected luxury automakers in the world. A US-based division of General Motors, Cadillac commercializes vehicles in the United States, China, Canada, and 34 other countries. And with its more than a century of existence, the Cadillac logo belongs to one of the oldest automakers on the planet.
Both the Cadillac name and the Cadillac logo are based on Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. However, while many praise the French nobleman for his exploits, somewhat recent discoveries portray him to be a liar. And a very bold one, at that. So, let’s not waste any more time, and dig into the specifics of the Cadillac logo.
Cadillac Logo Design Elements
The current Cadillac logo features the silver crest split in two with a thick border. The colors that pop up though the silver lines are gold, red, blue and black. Each block color has a subtle gradient pattern.
Changes and Evolution
Over the course of its long existence, the Cadillac logo has changed plenty of times. However, one thing always remained present – the house Cadillac crest. Particularly during the mid-1900s, the company went through several logo changes. And the Cadillac logos which appeared during that time frame were as diverse as they were inventive.
The most recent redesigns are from 1999, 2009, and 2014. Overall, the biggest change suffered by the Cadillac crest was the removal of the martlets. The designers of the time changed other features, such as the wreath and additional adjoined elements, far more often and on a much larger scale.
Making their first appearance on the original Cadillac logo, the martlets are a huge part of the company’s tradition. They are frequently confused with ducks or merlettes. However, they best resemble swallows or house martins lacking feet.
Several other features have been removed from the Cadillac logo since its first outing. The pearls meant to stand for the royal Toulouse house descendants are gone. Also gone is the crown depicting six counts of France. The laurel wreath standing for victory and leadership has also been removed in 2014.
The current version of the Cadillac logo is a far more simplified, yet modernistic one. Gone are all the embellishments and accessories present in the older Cadillac logos. Most recently, the Cadillac house crest was elongated horizontally and squashed vertically. This allows for a much more streamlined logo to be applied to any number of vehicles and merchandise.
The original Cadillac logo was inspired by the crest of arms belonging to the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.
Color and Font
The colors in the Cadillac logo are red, silver, yellow/golden, blue, black, and white. They all represent excellence, reliability, nobility, passion, grandeur, and creativity. These are the qualities most associated with the company. And while each of the colors stands for something else on its own, together they form the company’s image.
Silver, for example, is the color designers use for sophistication, elegance, and sleek, industrial modernism. Designers use gold to symbolize wealth, prosperity, and passion. Red is the color of passion and determination, power, and strength. Blue inspires trust and wisdom, as well as calmness and confidence. Meanwhile, black and white represent perfection, power, elegance, and success.
As for the Cadillac logo font, it is an elegant, calligraphic, handwritten typeface. It is a custom typeface very similar to the font called English 157. Designed by Vladimir Yefimov, English 157 is based on pressure point quill calligraphy. The font family contains some 614 glyphs, including Cyrillic. You can test it out and download it here.
Inspiration and Trivia
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the Cadillac logo is its origin story. The inspiration for the Cadillac logo is the house crest of Detroit’s founder. However, some backstory surfaced a couple of years ago, and it mostly disproved the man’s claimed origin.
As it turns out, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was never a French nobleman. In fact, that wasn’t even his real name. It would seem that the founder of Detroit took on a false name so as to avoid army draft.
It would appear that back then it was nearly impossible to corroborate one’s identity. So, when a supposed nobleman shows up in the New World with the name of an actual French noble family, nobody had any reason to question him. The fact that he used his neighbor’s crest to get along provided even more credibility to his claims.
So, it seems like the Cadillac logo actually drew inspiration from the family crest of Baron Sylvester of Esparbes de Lussan, Lord of Lamothe-Bardigues. Baron Sylvester used to be Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac’s neighbor before he left France. His actual name was Antoine Laumet. It turns out that there was no actual de la Mothe family. The closest one was Baron Sylvester’s name, so it appears that the house crest isn’t the only thing he borrowed from his neighbor.
The Cadillac logo belongs to one of the most esteemed and renowned luxury automakers in the world. It’s rare for a logo to go through so many changes throughout its existence, and for the company to remain the same. But Cadillac pulled it off. And despite recent controversial revelations, the brand is as acclaimed and respected as ever. Read more about luxury car logos in our Rolls Royce symbol article.