The Ford Mustang logo has become a symbol of quality, elegance, strength, and respectability. One of the most renowned and appreciated models of American craftsmanship, the Ford Mustang has long been the absolute benchmark of vehicle quality and performance. One of Ford’s most beloved products, the Mustang has been an integral part of the American culture since 1965.
While Lee Iacocca, the man behind the Ford Mustang is still alive, there are still many different origin stories about how the muscle car first came to be. According to some of Iacocca’s confidants, the man refuses to let anything definitive slip because he simply enjoys the mystery and speculation that surround the sports car line.
Mustang Logo Design Elements
Of course, the primary design element of almost all of the Mustang logos throughout the logo’s history has been the horse. The designer, Philip T. Clark, had been working on horse logo designs for quite some time when he was hired by Ford to create a logo for the Mustang car series. The dynamic running mustang was an easy choice, though the company considered other poses as well, like prancing (similar to the Ferrari logo) however, the final version of the Mustang symbol took nearly a year to complete.
There were debates even in relation to the direction the horse is running. After several Mustang symbol design versions, the company settled on a design in 1964.
The precise look of the Pony emblem and the horse would go through a number of changes throughout the years, to better represent the spirit of the Ford Mustang.
Changes and Evolution
The earliest version of the Pony emblem had the horse more in a galloping stance. Throughout the years, the horse was redesigned to be more in a running, rather than galloping position. The mustang also became more muscular throughout the years, to better represented the force of the Mustang series.
The latest version of the Mustang logo is much crisper and sharper than the original logo. The horse features clean, sharp edges, and more angles than the original design.
Some other elements were made part of the emblem at one point or another, such as the Mustang cobra logo for the Shelby GT models, the striped flag in the American colors for the first models, the horseshoe for the 40th and 45th anniversary editions, and the pink ribbon for the 2009 Warriors in Pink edition that was meant to raise awareness for breast cancer.
The shape of the Ford Mustang symbol is quite straight-forward. The the wild mustang is meant to embody the spirit of the Mustang series, powerful and untamed. There are various theories as to why the horse of the Pony emblem is facing left. Some speculate that Clark found it easier to draw the horse galloping from right to left, because he was right-handed. In most early version of the Pony emblem, that was how he represented the horse.
Others belive the direction of the mustang has to do with the philosophy behind the Mustang car series. Ford company officials noted that horses on race tracks run from right to left. This is how your average audience would expect to see them. However, the mustang is a wild horse that runs free. Others speculate the mustang is actually running west, as a representation of the wild and free American spirit.
The silver color of the mustang in the Mustang logo is meant to represent the professionalism, reliability, and quality of the Ford brand. Meanwhile, the red, white, and blue stripes present behind the pony logo were meant to show that the cars were all-American.
The multiple minor changes applied to the logo over the years, such as the pink cancer ribbon and the silver horseshoe were meant to show that the company cares about social issues and about its customers.
The main idea behind the Mustang logo was that it was meant to represent both a horse and that the brand was American. But why the horse? Why would the company go for a horse, seeing as the cougar model was all but ready? There are many stories about how the decision came to pass, but I’m only going to talk about the most famous one.
According to the 1963 coach of the SMU Mustangs (Southern Methodist University) football team, the team had just suffered a loss at the hands of Michigan when Lee Iacocca, then a vice president for Ford Motor Co., entered the locker room and started talking to the sulking team.
As the story has it, Iacocca addressed the players and told them that after seeing them play, the company had come to a decision – they would name their new car model after the team. Iacocca reportedly said that their new car would be light, quick, and sporty, just like the football team.
However, even if the coach swears to this day that Iacocca entered his locker room that fateful day and told his team that Ford would name their car after them, there is no way to confirm that. Iacocca himself refuses to acknowledge or deny the claim because the takes pleasure in the multiple origin stories surrounding the Mustang logo and name.
Other stories claim that the Mustang logo and name come from the P-51 Mustang World War II fighter plane, while other simply say that the field roaming mustangs were an appropriate inspiration for the line of vehicles.
With millions of vehicles spread all over the world, Mustang and the Mustang logo have become a staple of pop culture. So it should come as no surprise that images of mustangs are present all over the world as seat covers, tattoo models, and even floor mats.
The Mustang logo has also inspired more than a single school mascot, such as the one for Cal Poly and the Mustang High School Broncos. And as with most internationally famous car makers, the Mustang logo was used as a wallpaper at least 5 times a day in 2015. The most frequent occurrences were either as an old model with a black vector as the logo, or with the new RTR model, usually in a navy color.
One of the most famous car makers in the world, Ford really hit the mark by producing the Mustang series in the ‘60s. The Mustang logo has remained to this day one of the most recognizable logos in history, and it has become a symbol of quality and performance.
Image sources: 1