The History of and Story Behind the Maserati Logo

Maserati

Italian automobile manufacturer Maserati embodies modern luxury like no other brand. In recent history, the brand has been associated with lavish culture, and Maserati cars have become the marker of wealth and opulence. In fact, a simple presentation of the Maserati insignia automatically switches on fascination for many people, and it’s because the logo has become a symbol for the culture altogether. However there’s so much more to the Maserati logo than the extravagance it represents. The brand’s logo is heavily intertwined with the history and story of the company and is worth knowing about if you happen to be a fan of Maserati.

History of Maserati

In order to understand the progression of Maserati’s logo, it’s important to be familiar with the company’s history. Founded over 105 years ago on December 1, 1914 in Bologna, Italy, Maserati began as a family venture. The Maserati name was the family name, and five brothers—Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore, and Ernesto—combined their various automobile experiences and expertise to get the company started. The company’s initial venture focused on the creation of racecars. In fact, Alfieri Maserati was one of the finishers during the 1926 Targa Florio Grand Prix motor race in Sicily while driving one of the first Maserati racecars ever produced.

When Alfieri passed away in 1932, three of the brothers—Bindo, Ernesto, and Ettoro—continued on the legacy and the development of the firm. Throughout the years, the Maserati brand has been sold and acquired a few times. With transitions and technological advancements over the years, the company has continued to change and grow. Today, Maserati is a known and favored automobile brand when it comes to luxury and superiority.

Logo design

The design of the Maserati is simple, yet it has a lot of meaning, history, and power behind it. Yet another brother, Mario Maserati, was the primary designer of the original logo. Mario had more talent for the arts compared to his brothers. The prominent figure on the logo is the trident, and Mario based his design on the Fountain of Neptune found at the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. Essentially, the trident is Neptune’s weapon—Neptune being the Roman god of the sea. The trident symbolizes power and the ability to control water, and Neptune himself symbolizes strength and vigor. Upon the suggestion of a family friend—Marquis Diego de Sterlich—the brothers decided to keep the trident on the logo to represent force in the racecar industry and also to represent their hometown.

First logo

The original logo was first developed around 1920. It featured a pointed oval shape outlined by a heavy blue line border. The background was corn yellow, which helped emphasize the red trident and its details. The typeface used for the company name is simple and reflective of the era when it was created. The Maserati name is marked in yellow against the blue bottom portion of the entire logo.

In 1937, the Maserati brothers sold their company to the Adolfo Orsi family, who worked in the metal manufacturing industry. The Orsi family moved the Maserati headquarters to Modena, where it still can be found to this day. The Maserati logo may have seen its first change in ownership, but the logo did not see any changes through this time.

Second logo

The first obvious changes to the Maserati logo did not happen until the early 1950s. Still under the ownership of the Orsi family, the logo adopted a sharper oval shape in 1951. In 1954, another change was applied to the shape of the logo, which became more round in shape. In 1968, Citroën acquired Maserati. Although Adolfo Orsi remained to be president of the company, the new owners would largely control all aspects of production. The manufacturing company experienced various hardships through the late 60s and into the mid 70s before another acquisition took place. In 1975, Argentinian racing driver and businessman Alejandro de Tomaso acquired Maserati. Michele Spera, an acclaimed Italian graphics designer, took over the stylistic elements for the company. Spera made a small change to the existing logo at the time by adding a light blue element to the red trident.

Third logo

The Maserati logo didn’t see many drastic changes during the first fifty years of its existence. Even after this time, the logo even reverted back to its traditional designs. In 1985, Maserati designers began to favor the look of the original logo. With only subtle changes such as small modifications to the trident, the Maserati logo remained essentially the same. It wasn’t until Maserati merged with Fiat that the logo saw some drastic redesign. At this point, designer Ubaldo Righi elongated the logo further, creating a sleeker look. The structure of the handle was also visibly changed to favor a more simplified version. The typeface was changed to resemble more of the one used during the 50s.

Latest logo design

Fiat decided to overhaul Maserati’s advertising in 2003, and part of the program was to redesign the logo completely. Fiat changed the font for the logotype to a classical font, Bembo, which was invented in the 15thcentury by Francesco Griffo of Bologna. The trident was simplified further for better digital resolution, and the central tooth of the trident was lightened. Two oval versions were created during this time. The first oval logo was designed for corporate communications, while the second oval logo was used for press or marketing purposes. This second logo features an all-black design. In many of Maserati’s production, you’ll also find the trident part of the logo embedded on the grille of the car. The decision to include classical Italian touches to the modern logo was a meaningful nod to the beginnings of the car and the rich history it’s survived over the years.

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