Volvo: The brief brand history – 2 – name & logo

The name of Volvo:

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When the Volvo cars were decided to start producing in August 1926, the financial backer SKF reactivated a company, which actually had been referred to since 1920 for the purpose. “VOLVO” is the name of the company. This industrial giant was known first and foremost for its design and manufacture of bearings, and in 1915, had registered the name “AB Volvo”, but not used it.

Some member of the company’s management came up with the name VOLVO (with capital letters) and on February 20, 1915. Furthermore, as it contained no “R” or “S” letters, it was simple, and easy to pronounce in most places around the world with a minimal risk of spelling errors. There was also a truly strong symbolic connection between the name and the company’s entire operations.

“Volvere” is the infinitive form of the verb “roll” in Latin. Compare it, for instance, with the word for a handgun with a rotating drum, revolver. In its first person singular form, the verb “volvere” becomes “volvo”, i.e. “I roll”.

The logo of Volvo:

Volvo_logotype_1927

The Volvo trademark first appeared on cars with tall, narrow grilles. In the wider, lower grilles since then, the symbol is still instantly recognizable (Dredge,  2003).

When Volvo was reactivated, the ancient chemical symbol in iron was adopted by the company. It is a circle with an arrow pointing diagonally upwards to the right.

It is one of the oldest and most common ideograms in Western cultures and originally represented the planet Mars in the Roman Empire. Because it also stood for the Roman god of warfare, Mars, and the masculine gender, an early relationship was set up between the symbol of Mars and the metal iron, from which most weapons were made at the time.

As a result, such a symbol has been symbolizing the iron industry for a long time in Sweden. The company used this iron badge on the car in order to take up this symbolism and create associations with the honored traditions of the Swedish iron industry and declare their powerful statement: steel and strength with properties such as safety, quality and durability.

volvo-logo

The badge was improved with a diagonal band running across the radiator on the first car in April 1927. The band was originally a technical necessity to keep the chrome badge in place, but it gradually developed as more of a decorative symbol. It is still put on the grille of every Volvo car. However, nowadays, you also find the iron symbol in a rather modernized form in the centre of the steering wheel and the wheel hubs, and in all communications material, such as advertisements, brochures, Internet sites and so on.

Bibliography:

Dredge, R. 2003. Volvo. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, UK: Haynes Pub.

Volvoclub.org.uk. 2008. The history of the Volvo brand name. [online] Available at: http://www.volvoclub.org.uk/history/brand-history.shtml [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

Volvoclub.org.uk. 2008. The Volvo Logo. [online] Available at: http://www.volvoclub.org.uk/history/volvo_logo.shtml [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

Logodesignlove.com. 2012. Volvo logo | Logo Design Love. [online] Available at: http://www.logodesignlove.com/volvo-logo [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

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