In honor of Mazda‘s 90th Anniversary, Mazda Europe has issued a press release documenting the evolution of the Mazda logo. From the word “Mazda” itself to a stylized flying M, here’s nearly a century’s worth of hood emblems and the explanations from the company itself.
Leverkusen, 29 November 2010. A logo’s evolution reflects the unfolding of a brand’s story through time – capturing its spirit and aspirations for the future. Over its 90 years of existence, the Mazda brand has experienced a rich and fascinating evolution. And its logo has grown into one of the recognized and respected symbols in the automotive industry.
This is the first recorded corporate Mazda logo, dating back to 1936. It was the registered trademark for Mazda when production began on its three-wheel trucks. The name Mazda derives from Ahura Mazda, a god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony, from the earliest civilisations in western Asia. It is also said to derive from the anglicised version of the name Jujiro Matsuda, founder of Mazda’ automotive business.
Mazda also introduced this brand symbol in 1936, which was inspired by the emblem of Mazda’s hometown. It expresses the brand’s strong link to Hiroshima city which is still today home to the company’s global headquarters. The peaks in the logo’s middle form a stylised triple ‘M’ symbolising ‘Mazda as a motor manufacturer’. The wings on both sides represent Mazda’s agility, speed and ability to soar to new heights.
Both the corporate and the brand logo were introduced at the same time to ensure that those who saw it on the company’s products knew immediately that Mazda’s roots lay in Hiroshima.
The introduction of this classic ‘M’ logo coincided with the launch of Mazda’s passenger cars in 1959. The first vehicle to wear it was the Mazda R360 coupe which featured several cutting-edge Mazda technologies – a car that broke with conventions, heralding the future of Mazda’s passenger cars.
This logo is actually not in the Mazda press release, but it was used as early as 1966 on the first-gen Luce and through the mid-70s. Sometimes it was used in conjunction with the M above, but as the logo that appears on the early rotaries we know and love, it deserves mention.
This brand symbol was introduced in 1992. It was accompanied by Mazda’s 1975 introduced corporate logo. Its shape expresses the dimensions of wings, sun and a circle of light, and was ultimately the take-off-point for Mazda’s current logo.
This new logo was introduced globally in June 1997. It depicts the Mazda ‘M’ whose distinctive ‘V’ shape embodies the company stretching its wings as it soars into the future. It represents the creativity, the sense of mission and vitality that are Mazda – in other words, its quest to continuously grow and improve. In 2000, this philosophy was enhanced with the introduction of the Zoom-Zoom tagline to express the ‘emotion of motion’ built into Mazda vehicles. This Zoom-Zoom ethos, still very much embodied in the logo, soon appeared in the new generation of vehicles which brought the company further along on its road to success.
It is Mazda’s intent that this logo, and the spirit it communicates, represent a symbol of excellence and a promise to its customers worldwide. It expresses Mazda’s commitment to providing high-quality products that deliver unique driving pleasure and distinctiveness.
In 2008, Mazda began the introduction of a new global visual identity. Without changing the Mazda brand symbol itself, this new identity which appears in all communications symbolises the successful direction the company has embarked on – with evolution and innovation as its core values.
The new visual identity includes a new ‘dynamic wing’ graphic and Zoom-Zoom lettering now placed at an angle to express movement and the bold, distinctive nature of Mazda Motor Corporation.