Mustang Logo History Design and Evolution

Mustang Logo History Design and Evolution

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 is the horse, the pony, the mustang. Designed by Philip T. Clark, the running mustang was an immediate choice. According to the designer’s daughter and widow, as well as to other sources working in the car business back in the day, car logos would usually be made up of elements from multiple designs,

Clark and his family were apparently really excited and flattered that the company chose his design as it was, seeing as he had previously been let go by General Motors before being hired by Ford. Even if Clark had become disappointed in the direction the motor company was headed towards the end of his life, he still had the comfort of knowing that he was responsible for designing a number of cars models that would forever stay with the American public.

Muscular Mustang logo

Changes and Evolution

Interestingly, the really isn’t much to say about the Ford Mustang logo font or color. What is truly interesting about the Ford Mustang logo history is how it was designed in the first place, as well as the mysteries surrounding the name and direction in which the pony is running.

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.

Even more interesting, perhaps, is the story related to how the Mustang logo came to be thanks to the Southern Methodist University’s football team. The story remains unconfirmed despite the fact that the coach still swears to this day that it’s true.

Cobra Mustang logo


Well, it’s pretty obvious that the Mustang car logo is meant to represent a horse as it is running. But what most people don’t know is that, initially, Ford wasn’t sure what to name the car or what animal they should use for the logo. They went through a number of ideas before eventually settling on the Mustang.

During its first prototypes, the Ford Mustang horse logo was actually a cougar. While the Mustang logo design was being worked on in 1962, it was decided that the original emblem should be a big cat. Ford toyed with it for quite a bit, having the big cat face both left and right, and eventually placing it inside what would later become known as the pony corral.
Older Mustang logo

After Philip T. Clark was fired by GM and hired by Ford, the Mustang logo would start on its way to become what it is today. The company eventually settled for the running mustang, and only changed it twice since then (with the exception of the occasional special editions).

The first change came in the form of the horse being displayed as running rather than galloping, getting a slightly different representation of its legs, while the most recent and current incarnation reverted to the original Mustang logo, only with the horse’s muscles more taut and defined.


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.

Horseshoe Mustang logo


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.

Mustang logo with red, white & blue


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, 2, 3, 4, 5

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Billy Clarke

Billy has been brought up in an artistic environment, so it’s no surprise that he is currently studying fine arts at the University of California. Influenced by his parents, both musicians, Billy has dedicated his time to exploring as many art forms as possible.

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