The History of the Chevy Logo

Chevrolet is one of the leading American car manufacturers and has been in business since 1911. The company was started by William Durant and Louis Chevrolet. And it’s more than 100 Year history the company has become one of the top selling car manufacturers easily recognized by its logo. The famous bow tie logo for the Chevrolet Company has, since its Inception, adorned over 215 million vehicles around the world. But where did it come from?

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Who created the Chevy logo and when did it come about?

The Chevy logo was first designed in 1911 when it featured the signature of one of the founders, Lewis Chevrolet in what appeared to be a handwritten typeface. But the iconic everyone recognizes today was designed by William Durant in 1913.

Origin story #1

Some people say that the iconic bow tie design was a pattern that William Durant saw in a hotel room where he stayed in Paris on the wallpaper. He copied the image from the wallpaper and converted it into the Chevy logo we know today.

Origin story #2

Another version of this story is that William Durant saw an advertisement for a coal company in the newspaper and he modified some of the images he saw in that advertisement to create the Chevy logo.

Origin story #3

The third story is that his daughter was doodling at the dinner table one night and ended up creating the famous parallelogram covered by the square in the middle.

Which origin story is the correct origin story? No one knows. But that’s half the fun.

Read more on trademarking your logo

Chevy logo design changes

Over the decades there have been many changes to the Chevy logo, with the company taking out the name and putting it back, changing the blue colors and then putting them back, and much more but the most important changes took place within the first three years of business.


As mentioned, the original logo for the brand was nothing more than the black signature of Louis Chevrolet in a distinct type face. But it didn’t take long for that to change.


For two decades the original bow tie logo made Chevrolet a household name. The color scheme was a light blue background with white and gold lettering and a luxurious gold pattern around the perimeter of the bow tie. When the bow tie was finally introduced it was featured on the H4 baby grand and the Chevrolet H2 Royal Mail where the logo was visible at the front and center of the vehicles.


For another few decades the general shape and dimensions of the famous bow tie remained intact but the color scheme was modified to monochrome so the Chevrolet word appeared in white against a stark black background. Lettering was made larger and a bit more modernized so that it became a masculine typeface that exuded power.


During the wartime era the company returned to its roots by integrating the original blue and gold colors but this time the blue wasn’t as soft, it was bright like the sky. The intense contrast between the gold frame and the white font made it stand out both literally and figuratively.


For a short while Chevrolet returned to a modified version of its original logo featuring nothing but the word Chevrolet in a unique typeface.


The most striking change took place in 1950 when the Bow-Tie shape was placed in the middle of an oval but the gold and blue were colors of the past. At this point the background was bright red and the word Chevrolet stood out in bright red against a white bow tie background.


Once again dipping into the monochrome ink, Chevrolet decided to make the word Chevrolet bold and italicized in Black against a white bow tie background that was minimalist and its design.


Blues were here to stay because in 1976 the logo enjoyed a bright blue background with a white perimeter and white framing for the word Chevrolet. At this point however the word Chevrolet became smaller and less obtrusive.


Removing the word Chevrolet from the bow tie entirely, 1988 saw the blue outline of the bow tie remain while the word Chevrolet was featured in a much larger font beneath it, a bright red color.


For a short while the genuine Chevrolet emblem featured what looked like a sunrise coming over the horizon but in turquoise against a black horizon featured at a slight tilt in the center of the bow tie which was black and silver.


In order to exude more confidence, Chevrolet had one year where the symbol was nothing more than the bow tie in a slight three-dimensional pattern that was dark red against a white background. It didn’t feature the word Chevrolet anywhere and was meant to once again hearken to the concepts of masculinity.


As if to compensate for the lack of company name, for a few years the word Chevrolet served as the logo against the gold bow tie. The bow tie was now nothing but a powerful, bright gold intent on reinforcing the concept that Chevrolet featured a strong car, for strong consumers.


In honor of the 100-year anniversary of the company, the emblem was redesigned to be a bit more luxurious with a slightly darker gold hue and a sticker silver frame representing the dynamic strength of the company over the decades.


At present, Chevrolet continues to use the stylized cross or bow tie.

Common Trends in the Chevrolet logo

Since its inception, Chevrolet has focused on including the name brand over the same rough shape or outline. The Chevrolet or Chevy logo remains one of the most easily recognizable. While variations in coloring and detail have taken place over the years, the essential shape has remained the same. Even though it is created with a horizontal parallelogram that is overlapped by a square it has earned the nickname of bow tie and remained an iconic logo since 1914.

Xavier Morales, Esq.

About the Author:

Xavier Morales, Esq.

Mr. Morales founded this trademark law practice in January 2007 with the goal of providing intellectual property expertise to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country. Since then, he has filed more than 6,000 trademarks with the USPTO. You can learn more about Xavier here.

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