Originally founded in 1911 as the Saab-Scania group, Saab cars have a reputation for reliability and luxury. These Swedish-made automobiles are characterized by clean lines, quality workmanship, and the signature griffin head logo. This logo has gone through a few alterations over the years, but it remains a distinctive part of Saab vehicles. In this article, we will examine the design elements of the Saab logo to see why it is so effective. We will also share some interesting historical facts about this logo.
Saab Logo Design Elements
Saab’s logo is a circular image that is suited for everything from decorating a car to appearing on a company sign. The background of the logo is a deep blue color. Along the edge of the blue circle is a thin silver line. Within the circle is a red griffin head, outlined in silver. The griffin is wearing a gold crown with three points, and it is sticking its tongue out. This unusual griffin design definitely makes Saab’s logo stand out among car logos.
Centered below the griffin is the word “SAAB,” written in capitalized letters. These letters are in a blocky, angular, sans-serif design. They are pressed so closely together that the edges of each letter merge together. The inclusion of the brand name ensures that even those who do not recognize the griffin can identify the logo.
Changes and Evolution
The very first Saab logo was a heraldic device that contained a griffin head inside of a triangle, within a circle. Once Saab began producing cars, they decided they needed a simpler logo. Since Saab got its start as an airplane manufacturer, their early car logos featured the name “Saab” written over a stylized silhouette of airplane wings. The griffin symbol was introduced in 1974. At the time, the logo was a circle that contained two overlapping, circular lines, with a griffin head inside the connected area. It said “Saab” along the top, and “Scania” along the bottom.
The oldest Saab logos were red, blue, gold, and white. When the company began focusing on cars, they simplified the color scheme to a sleek navy blue and silver design that looked crisp and futuristic in the 1950s. By the 1980s, this color scheme was looking a little plain, so Saab added red and gold to make the logo look more colorful again.
All of the fonts used for Saab logos have been capitalized, sans-serif fonts. However, these font styles have changed quite a bit over the years. At first, the font was a thin, elongated font that looked traditionally elegant. It then switched to a rounded font with an Art Deco flair, before being simplified into block lettering. Starting in the 1980s, the font was bolded, to make it stand out even more.
The griffin on Saab’s logo is a mythological animal that has the head of a bird and the body of a lion. This mythological creature shows up on a Swedish car logo because the red and gold griffin was on the coat of arms for Count von Skane. When the Swedish province of Skane was created, it took the count’s coat of arms as its emblem. Saab decided to use this emblem to emphasize the Swedish heritage of their vehicles. They also appreciated that the griffin symbolizes vigilance, strength, and boldness.
- After Saab went bankrupt in 2012, they sold their name to Chinese investors. However, part of the deal specifies that the Chinese-made vehicles cannot wear the signature Saab griffin logo.
- Saab stands for “Svenska Aeroplan Aktie Bolag,” which translates to “Swedish Aeroplane Company Limited.”
- The first Saab prototype featured a red shield device that has not shown up in any Saab logo since then.
- Saab is the only automobile company to have the honor of being a Royal Warrant Holder for the King of Sweden.
The Saab company has undergone bankruptcy and changed hands multiple times, but it still has a devoted following among car enthusiasts. A significant reason for Saab’s continuous positive reputation is their unusual yet stylish logo. The griffin head on the Saab logo does a good job of emphasizing the company’s Swedish heritage, while still matching the minimalistic style of their cars.
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