The History and Story Behind the Buick Logo


Buick is an American car brand that is now a division of General Motors that has a history dating back to the end of the 19th century. Like all car brands, the Buick logo has become an important part of the company’s image. Here is an overview of Buick, along with a look at the history and story behind the Buick logo.

An Overview of Buick

Buick was founded in 1899 by David Dunbar Buick, and it was originally called Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company. It then became the Buick Motor Company in 1903. William C. Durant was the general manager and a major investor in the car brand, and he was responsible for a series of corporate acquisitions that led to the company becoming a mega-corporation called General Motors, of which Buick was retained as a division. By the 1920s, Buick had earned a reputation for quality and became the car of choice for those who wanted to show their status in society. It is an image that the brand has retained throughout its history, and Buick is still considered a quality brand. The main markets for vehicles manufactured by Buicks are now China, the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The Original Buick Logo

Although Buick was founded in 1899, they did not produce their first car until 1904. At this time, the company introduced its first known car logo, and they used it for just one year. Despite its short existence, it is considered one of the most iconic car brand logos of all time. The logo had a sepia palette and depicted a man walking across a globe and dragging a Buick engine on a wheeled cart, says 1000 logos. Some say that the man in the photograph is Uncle Sam. The slogan, “Known all over the world,” often accompanied the original logo.

Changes to the Logo Up to 1949

The first change Buick made to its logo was in 1905, and it was a circle with the word Buick inside, written in a custom hand-drawn typeface. Around the rim of the circle were the words “The Car of Quality.” In 1911, Buick attempted to make their logo more contemporary, although some people felt that the new design was difficult to understand. The outer shape of the logo was a large letter ‘B.’ Inside this letter, across the middle horizontal line of the ‘B’ was the letters’ UICK’ to spell the word ‘BUICK.’ This logo was short-lived, as it was replaced in 1913 by a wordmark-based logo. It featured a white rectangle with a smaller blue rectangle inside. The word ‘Buick was written diagonally across the rectangles in white lettering with a black outline. This version of the logo is one of the longest-standing, as Buick used it for 17 years. In 1930, Buick redesigned the logo using a more modern typeface and changed the color scheme to red and silver. The word Buick is written diagonally in red, with the word outlined in silver. Buick used this wordmark until 1937.

Buick first introduced a crest into its logo in 1937. The crest’s design was based on the company founder’s ancient family coat of arms. It featured a terracotta background with a diagonal stripe across the middle with a checkered black and white pattern. The crest’s upper-right triangle had an image of a deer in gold, while the lower-left triangle featured a golden cross with a terracotta circle at its center. The second version of the Buick crest was introduced in 1939 and used until 1942. Many elements of the original crest design remained, including the diagonal checkered line and the gold images of the deer and the cross. However, the crest was elongated and made narrower, and the terracotta background was changed to red. In 1942, Buick redesigned the crest again. The crest was given a new shape, and they replaced the black and white checkered line with a diagonal stripe with a blue and white rhombus pattern. Although the gold deer and cross remained, they had a more ornate design. The crest was placed on a black circle, and Buick added golden ornamental features above and below the crest. Buick simplified the design in 1947 and reinstated the terracotta background of the crest. A black rectangle replaced the black circle, and the ornate details disappeared. However, the wide, curved shape of the crest remained, as did the blue and white stripe and the deer and cross images.

Buick Logo Changes from 1949 Onwards

The next time Buick changed the design was in 1949 when the background returned to red, and the golden tones were replaced by silver. Buick used this logo for a decade before redesigning it in 1959, when they made some radical changes. Instead of using a single crest, they used three crests staggered inside a circle. The three crests each had a different background color; red, white, and blue. According to Penske Social, the three crests were intended to represent the three car models manufactured by Buick at that time. Although the crests were different colors, they all featured the same design of a black and white diagonal stripe, a deer, and the cross. In 1975, Buick made one of the most significant changes to the brand image, as they got rid of the crest completely from the logo design. They replaced the crest with a hawk inside a circle. The redesign coincided with the launch of the Buick Skyhawk model.

Just a year later, Buick redesigned its logo once more. The new logo was a red rectangle with the word ‘BUICK’ written on the lower half in white lettering. A hawk sits on top of the ‘I’ with its wings outstretched. Buick reverted back to using crests in the logo in 1980, taking inspiration from the former logo that featured three crests in different colors. However, they had refined the previous version for a simpler look. The crests now had red, gray, and blue backgrounds, the checkered stripe was replaced by a simple white stripe, and the deer and cross images were removed. Each of the crests had a gray outline and sat inside a gray circle. The word ‘BUICK’ appeared in bold blue lettering below the circle.

The Current Buick Logo

In 2002, Buick further simplified the tri-crest design using only silver as an outline for the circle and the crests and also for the diagonal stripe across each crest. Buick used this logo until 2015. Buick currently uses a logo that is a combination of the previous two logos. It is the same as the logo introduced in 2002, but the company reinstated the colors of the crests, so there are blue, gray, and red crests with silver outlines and stripes within a silver circle.

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