What’s the Deal with the Mazda Logo?
I know that if you’re anything like me, you probably are a bit curious as to what exactly the Mazda logo is supposed to represent. Some automakers have simple logos, such as Honda and Hyundai’s H’s, and it doesn’t get much simpler than Ford’s blue “Ford” badge. Then there are companies like Chevrolet, whose logo is both a bit strange and mired in history, with arguments over just which story is the truth.
The first time I saw the Mazda logo, I’m pretty sure that I wondered – aloud – what the car I was looking at had to do with owls. It was a bit embarrassing, and I apologize if you now cannot unsee the eyebrows and outline of an owl’s head in the Mazda logo.
Others think it looks like a stylized tulip, which looks like a possibility as well. The truth is a bit more interesting, if only because it actually has a reason beyond aesthetics.
The current Mazda logo was designed by Rei Yoshimara, who is known around the world for corporate logo designs, intended for the stylized “V” of the logo to be representative of outstretched wings.
Mazda went on to say that, officially, the logo stands for the “creativity, sense of mission, gentleness, and flexibility” that define the automaker and their vehicles.
There have been a long line of Mazda logos before the current one, with vehicles sometimes just carrying a stylized version of the automaker’s name. The first stylized branding was a series of three mountains – representing Hiroshima – registered in 1936. Bearing the shape of three M’s on top of each other, it also conveniently stood for “Mazda Motor Manufacturer”
From 1991 to 1997, two different logos existed, sharing the same general circular shape of the modern “V” while featuring a stylized diamond in the center, representing both a sun and a flame. The sharp design from ’91 was changed slightly and rounded in ’92 to help reduce confusion with the Renault brand.
Despite knowing all this and loving Mazda vehicles, I don’t think I’ll ever stop seeing an owl on the front of my Mazda2.