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Volkswagen logo

German for "car for the people".

The origins of the company date back to 1930s Nazi Germany, and the project to build the car that would become known as the Beetle. Hitler's desire that almost anybody should be able to afford a car fitted with a proposal by car designer Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1952) -- although much of this design was inspired by the advanced Tatra cars of Hans Ledwinka. The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme, which around 336,000 people eventually paid into. Prototypes of the car called the KdF-Wagen (German: Kraft durch Freude = strength through joy), appeared from 1936 onwards (the first cars had been produced in Stuttgart). The car already had its distinctive round shape and air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine, features similar to the Tatra.

It's pretty Obvious what the Volkwagen logo is (a V over a W in a blue background, sorounded by a circle). It's origin is rather mundane though. The logo was the result of an office competition to see come up with a logo. The winner of the competition (who won 50 Marks for his troubles) was an engineer named Franz Reimspiess (the same man who perfected the engine for the Beetle in the 1930's).

Erwin Komenda, the longstanding Porsche chief designer, developed the car body of the prototype, which was recognizably the Beetle we know today.

The new factory in the new town of KdF-Stadt, now called Wolfsburg, purpose-built for the factory workers, had only produced a handful of cars by the time war started in 1939. Consequently the first volume-produced versions of the car were military vehicles, the jeep-like K?belwagen and the amphibious Schwimmwagen.

Trademark News:VW wins Logo Dispute.

The copyright holder of the internationally-famous VW logo is not to be Nikolai Borg. His suit against the Wolfsburg car concern has been dismissed by the Vienna Business Court. The judges did not deny in any way that Borg had drawn up the design in the 30s and had also delivered it. But the logo itself had already existed for a while prior to this.

The 86-year old Borg, who comes from Sweden originally and now lives in the Tyrol, had taken action in the summer of last year against VW, because he wanted to bring about legal recognition of his copyright to the logo.

He was not concerned about the money but about "historical truth", announced his lawyer. According to this statement, the graphic artist Borg had been commissioned in 1939 by the then Reich Minister Fritz Todt to prepare designs for the VW emblem. After a logo had been delivered, he was then string along with the story that things were being postponed until after the "Final Victory". However, when Borg discovered his logo on a vehicle belonging to the Army in 1943, he began to feel he was being cut out.

Yet this action submitted by him sixty years later has remained unsuccessful. The court found in favor of VW. A certain Ludwig Hohlwein had already designed apposite logos in 1920, said an expert on Copyright and Patent Law, Michel Walter. The actual inventor of the VW emblem should however be viewed as Franz Xaver Reimspiess, whose original design had already been submitted in a trademark application from 1938. A more developed emblem which showed the letters in a so-called Strahlenkranz (radiant garland) was, according to Walter, displayed on wheel caps at the Berlin Auto Show in April 1939.

Borg's lawyer, Meinhard Ciresa, did not want to comment on the judgement for the time being. He wanted to first study the transcript in detail before he thought about the possibility of taking matters further.



Volkswagen VW emblem (1999).

Volkswagen's "Steal A Deal" promotional stickers from the mid 80's.

Volkswagen Futura promotional button.

Love Bug decal from 1969.

Volkswagen's "Bubblehead" icon.

Volkswagen's "Bubblehead" transporter service sign.

Bubblehead service.

VW bubblehead on back of a service invoice.

1966 Volkswagen Kleinlieferwagen catalog cover.

1968 Volkswagen Bus AG for Ben Pon, Bay window price list catalog cover.

2001 Kelly Award Grand Prize Winner "Best at Meeting Campaign Objective", created by Arnold Worldwide in Boston. Chief Creative Officer: Ron Lawner, Creative Director: Alan Pafenbach, Art Director: Don Shelford, Copywriter: David Weist, Campaign Photographers: Bill Cash, Jeff Mermelstein, Joanna B. Pinneo, Gary Rosenquist and Christopher Morris.

This campaign keeps true to the history of fun, innovative advertising that the New Beetle is famous for and that won a Grand Prize Kelly two years ago. It capitalizes on the consumer's fascination with the look of the New Beetle, by showing that the car grabs attention no matter what's going on. After three years and 250,000 cars sold, people no longer stop in their tracks when they see the cars, but the quirky design still stands out. People notice the New Beetle. The campaign successfully captured the attention of the media and New Beetle drivers.

2001 Kelly Award Winner "Less Flower, More Power" Volkswagen Beetle ad created by Arnold Worldwide in Boston. Creative Directors: Ron Lawner, Alan Pafenbach and Lance Jensen. Art Director: Lance Paull. Copywriters: Lance Jensen, David Weist, Dana Satterwhite. Photographer/Illustrator: Bill Cash.

Besides re-launching one of the most beloved brands in automotive history, Arnold Communications also had to make sure the New Beetle campaign served as a "Magnet for the Volkswagen Brand," VW wanted to leverage interest and awareness by tapping into the rich emotional heritage of the car. Results: New Beetle sales 30% over goal and Volkswagen sales 22% over.

1959 Fleischhauer dealer ad in Koln Germany.

KDF pinwheel/swastika VW logo.

More information on the VW LOGO
Before WW II, when the car was still Hitler's "Strength through Joy" car the logo was surrounded by the gear shaped emblem of the German Labor Front that built it.

Haupt factory sign.

1938 KDF VW brochure.

1939 Kraft Durch Freude Calendar. (notice the "Nazi swastika" logo on each side).

!938 Grundsteinlegng Des Volkswagen Werks (Ground Breaking Ceremony) pin. (this one looks like a reproduction).

1960s VW auto show display from Canada.

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