When emblems fail to shine

Apr 5, 2024

It is noticeable that some marques have adopted black emblems and badges, particularly on their black painted vehicles. This approach may well reflect modern design trends, but makes little sense as it renders the brand unreadable and makes the cars virtually unrecognisable.

One particular offender I recent months is the Vauxhall Mokka in black, which features a black griffin emblem on a black grille, with an almost totally black front end. People might like the look of the Mokka in black, but without a visible badge, how will anyone know what car it is?

With so many modern models looking similar and even fewer featuring paint effects or chrome highlights, there is surely a danger that more and more models begin to look like each other and become rather boring in their on-road appearance.

There is already a growing complaint amongst car owners that there is little originality in car design, with so many now sharing platforms and trying to use the same approach that utilises compartmentalised manufacturing techniques, with sections from the same suppliers.

Are automotive designers wasting their efforts?

If you consider badges have been integral to the recognition of cars on the road, the biggest car showroom we will ever visit, then surely if we cannot quickly identify a model we like the look of, then the designers have wasted their effort to design appealing models.

We might all appreciate that a black Range Rover, with black badges and a de-chromed exterior might look cool, but it is such an iconic vehicle that it is instantly recognisable without the badges. But for models with a more homogenous design, badges are needed for identity.

Of course, as a leading provider of chrome plated plastic components, for interior and exterior use, on a host of global marques, the team here at Borough have a vested interest in believing more chrome, bright and satin, can help introduce a little interest.

We recognise that design trends are always evolving. This fact has become very obvious in the recent reimaginations of car brand logos, with the need for clarity in a digital world the driving force behind the spate of changes, apparently.

Most automotive brands have evolved from the familiar, three-dimensional, chrome effect logos of recent times and loved by generations of car owners, to far more simplistic, two-dimensional, flat logo designs.

Badges changed but not for the better

Car maker Peugeot has marked its transition to a new era of electric car manufacturing by replacing its iconic chrome lion of yesteryear with a modern, monochrome design set on a shield. The modern trend for simple, heralds a new direction for this brand and many others.

To ensure logos work in the digital space, across social media and websites, this move to simplicity might have been sold as the answer. But what of the brand on the cars, where it really matters, where it makes buyers of those who identify the model on the road?

Designers working with all the leading brands are appearing to ditch the much-loved traditional three-dimensional logos in favour of flat, dull designs as they strive to remain relevant in the digital age.

MINI adopted a more sensible approach when unveiling a new 2D logo, restricting its use to screens and paper, with the vehicles retaining the easily recognised 3D chrome-style version of the logo that has become as famous as their iconic cars.

Volkswagen’s badge will probably never be as famous as it was in the 80’s when it was stolen in its thousands and worn as jewellery by musicians everywhere. But now even that iconic symbol has become a flattened 2D symbol as part of the manufacturer’s new ‘digital-first’ branding.

As brands try to reflect their transition to new clean, electric vehicles with simpler flat designs for their logos, some on cars and some not, we can only hope the trend of hiding them and making cars unrecognisable quickly comes to an end.

If you would like to discuss how you could use chrome plated plastic components to improve the look inside and out of any model you’re designing, please get in touch and we’ll talk you through all the finishes available to you.