Evolution of the Ford Motor Company Logo
The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford with $28,000 and the backing of seven additional investors (including John and Horace Dodge). After production of a relatively small number of vehicles in its first few years, Ford introduced the mass-produced Model T in 1908 and continued its production until 1927. Due in large part to Ford Motor Company’s introduction in 1913 of numerous methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars, including some of the first moving automotive assembly lines, the company went on to sell over 15 million vehicles over that nearly 20 year period.
Known for its iconic Mustang, Thunderbird, and F-Series (among others) Ford Motor Company has one of the world’s most recognizable brands. Ford’s corporate logo has evolved over its 118+ year history, but for the most part, has been in a similar design since about 1907.
Where it started – although modern reproductions of Ford’s original art nouveau logo introduced in 1903 depict the logo with a black background, in actuality, it was green.
The first appearance of the Ford script logo was in 1907. Childe Harold Wills, Henry Ford’s longtime friend, designed the script using his grandfather’s stencil set originally used for making business cards.
Including an oval in Ford’s logo was actually first introduced in 1907 by the predecessors of the Ford Motor Company Limited of Great Britain. By 1912, the design had made it over to the States and has been the dominate theme of Ford’s logo ever since.
Also introduced in 1912, “The Universal Car” winged logo didn’t stick around for long. Henry Ford reportedly didn’t like the design and it was quickly abandoned.
The iconic “Blue Oval” first made its appearance on the grill of Ford’s newly introduced Model A in 1927.
In 1950, Ford debuted a new red, white, and blue heraldic crest, that according to the company at the time, was “derived by Ford stylists from an authentic coat of arms which dates back to 18th century England.” This logo was featured on Ford’s North American automobiles of the day, as well as Ford’s marketing and advertising efforts throughout the 1950s.
Revised in 1957, the Blue Oval logo took on a more football shape.
Following the drastic departure from the Blue Oval in the majority of Ford’s marketing efforts of the 1950s, in 1961 Ford again reintroduced a new Blue Oval design. It is this design that has continued with minimal alteration for almost 60 years.
Ford modernized the Blue Oval in 1976 with a more three-dimensional look that imitated the look of an actual chrome and enamel vehicle emblem. The Ford script was also thickened and tweaked.
For its centennial in 2003, Ford introduced a revised logo with a gradient blue oval background.
In the current iteration of its logo, Ford flattened and darkened the Blue Oval in 2017. The outline of the Ford script has remained unchanged since the redesign of 1976.
Bonus Trivia: In 1966, Henry Ford II hired Paul Rand, a prominent modernist logo designer of the day, to design a new Ford logo. Fortunately, the Deuce wasn’t too fond of the new logo and the original design won out. In an alternative universe, this Rand designed logo shown below is plastered on all new Ford vehicles.