The Porsche crest – the birth of a trademark
A clearly visible and unmistakable symbol of the brand, the Porsche crest was introduced in 1952.
Whereas the Porsche lettering decorated the brand’s first car bearing its own name back in 1948, the Porsche crest as we know it today was not used until 1952. The man behind the crest was American car importer Max Hoffman, who asked Ferry Porsche to produce a visually appealing seal of quality for his Porsche sports cars during a visit to New York.
In the spring of 1951, Porsche KG first turned to German art academies and announced a competition: a prize of no less than 1,000 Deutschmarks was available for the development of a company logo, but none of the designs ultimately met the expectations of the management team. Work then began in-house to create a logo. Ferry Porsche commissioned his advertising manager Herrmann Lapper and a highly talented designer called Franz Xaver Reimspiess to create their own designs. In early 1952, Reimspieß, who had already designed the Volkswagen logo in 1936, sketched a made-up crest that symbolised the company’s roots as well as the high quality and dynamism of its products: at the centre was a rearing black horse taken from Stuttgart’s coat of arms, presented in the outline of a golden shield. In combination with the name of Stuttgart printed above the horse, this was a clear expression of commitment to Zuffenhausen as a production location. The surrounding red and black stripes are the state colours of Baden-Württemberg, while the stylised antlers are taken from the traditional coat of arms of Württemberg-Hohenzollern. Above all of this is the arched Porsche lettering, acting as a protective roof that connects everything.
Following highly acclaimed success on the international racing circuit in the early 1950s, Porsche soon became well-known outside of Germany as a manufacturer of unique sports cars – and the company emblem also grew in fame.
After being registered at the German Patent Office, the Porsche crest first appeared on the horn button at the end of 1952 before being integrated into the characteristic bonnet handle of the Porsche 356 in November 1954. From 1959 it also decorated the rims or hubcaps of sports cars made in Zuffenhausen. Since then, every car has carried this quality seal on its bonnet. The Porsche crest has undergone subtle design changes over the years so that it always has a contemporary look.
Nowadays, the legally protected Porsche crest – which may not be used for commercial purposes without the express permission of Porsche AG – is one of the world’s most famous trademarks. It is a symbol of the legend that is Porsche. All over the world, it embodies the power over the imagination that emanates from sports cars made in Zuffenhausen to this day.