When you think of certain companies, their logo immediately jumps to mind. For instance, when you think of McDonalds, the arches appear in your mind almost instantly. It’s the same way with many other brands, including car companies, throughout the world. That is the genius of marketing; logos become the company and are representative of what they mean to the world. There are only a few car company logos more famous that the Porsche crest. But very few people know the story behind it. Here is the true story behind the Porsche crest.
Free People’s State of Württemberg
The story of the Porsche crest begins in Germany. During the German revolution in 1918, a shift in ideology took place. The monarchical Kingdom of Württemberg became the Free People’s State of Württemberg, a democratic republic. The capital became Stuttgart, Germany. The state developed a coat of arms that features the crest which can now be seen as the distinctive background of the Porsche crest. The stripes of red and black, which were state colors for the region, in two of the corners of the crest and the stylized antlers in the other two corners made huge visual impact. Stuttgart is very important to the mythos of Porsche because it is where Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the company, would become a professor and begin designing cars. He also founded a consulting firm in Stuttgart.
The center piece of the crest is a yellow shield bearing a black horse standing on its hind legs. This appears with the name Stuttgart above it in black lettering at the very middle of the badge. This stems from the official crest of the city of Stuttgart, which began as a horse farm in the year 950. After forming his consulting firm in Stuttgart, it became the home of the Porsche motor company when Ferdinand founded the company to help with the German war effort.
World War II
During World War II, Ferdinand Porsche worked with the Germans to build tanks and other vehicles for the war effort. After the Germans lost the war, German was split into four sections. One of those sections, which was controlled by the French after the war, was called Württemberg-Hohenzollern. Their crest featured a simplified form of the original crest of the Free People’s State of Württemberg. The Württemberg-Hohenzollern crest is now used as the basis for the Porsche crest.
Ferry Porsche and Max Hoffman
The Württemberg-Hohenzollern crest was officially retired from use on April 25, 1952 after the formation of another German state. On the same day, Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche, sat down and sketched the very first version of the Porsche crest. He was in a New York restaurant with U.S. Porsche importer Max Hoffman, who helped with the creation of the crest. This early sketch, which was drawn on a napkin, combined different elements of his family’s past, using both the crest of Stuttgart and the crest of Württemberg-Hohenzollern. These two crests represented how far the family and the company had come. Above the crest, Ferry Porsche inscribed his family name so that everyone would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, which family had created the cars on which it would be placed.
Reflection of the Past, Projection of the Future
The history of Germany, as well as the history of the Porsche family themselves, had a huge influence on the creation of such an iconic badge. By combining all these historic elements, Ferry Porsche clearly indicated that his father’s company would be rooted in tradition and the past and that they would use that history in order to create consistently beautiful and reliable cars. Leaning heavily on historical references gives the impression that, going forward into the future, the most important things to the Porsche brand are staying true to the brand and remembering where the company came from. In this way, the historical elements of the crest do a great job of showing both the past and future of the company. The logo has remained largely unchanged for over 50 years. Only the lettering and the outline of the horse have changed slightly over the years.
The Porsche crest is an important part of the iconography of the car world. Few badges command more respect or project more power than that of Porsche. The history behind the badge influences the brand to this day and symbolizes the brand’s commitment to tradition and history. It’s only right that such as storied car company has such a significant logo.
- Porsche Logo: http://www.car-brand-names.com/porsche-logo/
- The story of the Porsche crest: https://www.stuttcars.com/about-porsche/crest/