Audi, founded in 1909 and a subsidiary of Auto Union GmbH since 1932, is a household name among German automobile enthusiasts. The corporation, which is now wholly owned by Volkswagen AG, has 13 factories located on 5 continents.
- Never Follow.
- Vorsprung durch Technik.
- Everyone dreams of an Audi.
- Keeping ahead through technology.
Meaning and history
The first use of the brand name Audi dates back to 1909, but it was not the beginning of the modern automotive powerhouse.
That’s Audi, what’s it stand for?
German automaker Audi produces high-end sedans and SUVs that have become icons worldwide for their superior craftsmanship and design. Now, the very term “Audi” is almost universally understood to connote a luxurious and enjoyable automobile experience from all corners of the world.
An early form of the Audi emblem, dating back to 1909, included a handwritten text placed diagonally inside an oval shape. The logo was done up in a sombre shade of grey that conveyed an air of authority.
Audi employed the emblem for for a short time before switching to a more up-to-date design that same year (1909). The initial attempt during this time period resembled a large number “1” expanding out of a sphere that was partially obscured by the black triangle pointing downward. On a black backdrop, the “Audi” wordmark was written in white, thin cursive.
1909 – 1932
Later the same year, a recognisable emblem was created, with a black triangle pointing downward, a white one, and a white cursive wordmark with thick, smooth lines along the triangle’s top line. Up to the formation of the Auto Union in 1932, this emblem remained constant throughout the company’s history.
1932 – 1949
Historically, the Auto Inion emblem was comprised of four interlocking blue rings. One of the four businesses’ logos was drawn within each blue ring. Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer Automobile were the manufacturers represented.
In 1932, four firms combined to form Auto Union, the true beginning of Audi. In honour of its heritage, the company adopted the now-iconic four-rings logo, which represents the unification of four brands in a visual representation of four interlocking rings.
1949 – 1969
The four rings logo was streamlined in 1949. Instead of the brand logos, a narrow horizontal rectangle with the capitalised sans-serif text crosses the rings in the centre of the badge.
Audi debuted a new emblem that year. The Audi corporate letters were white on the left side of the black rectangular insignia, while the uppercase “NSU” was white sans-serif on the right.
1969 – 1995 (badge logo) (badge logo)
In 1969, Auto Unions rebranded as Audi, and the rectangular banner was dropped from the emblem. There are now just four heavy blue rings in the insignia, linked together to show unwavering resolve.
1969 – 1995
During this same time period, a logotype was also developed, consisting of a solid black oval with white writing in a bespoke sans-serif with the rounded form of the “D” put within.
1978 – 1995
In 1978, the oval became red and was given a thin double white and red edge, making the insignia stand out more against the black background.
1995 – 2009
In 1995, the formerly separate symbols were merged into a single one. In that year, a logo was created that included a silver three-dimensional rings symbol with extra-bold red letters in the same bespoke font below it.
The rings’ thin and delicate outlines provide a perfect counterpoint to the enormous wordmark, giving the logo a sense of exclusivity and sophistication.
2009 – 2016
It’s 2009, and the logo has been updated to make the shiny rings larger and the nameplate smaller. Traditional sans-serif with somewhat enlarged forms was used for the new lettering. The four-rings motif is now the focal point of the design, moving to the bottom left.
2016 – Today
In 2016, we’ll see a cleaner logo design. The formerly dimensional sign is now shown in simple black with no accompanying text. The four rings now have more room where they overlap, making them seem both more potent and more fashionable.
Audi rings’ initial meaning had less to do with aesthetics and more to do with politics. Not a merger, since such term could be offensive to the owners of the other three companies that were brought together under this policy in order to become Audi. The partnership’s moniker, “Auto Union,” was generic and devoid of bias for a while.
Later on, though, the symbolism was established as “harmonious interaction for the benefit of the customer,” notably after 1985, when the logo was redesigned to resemble its original form. In the future, this will be applied to all of the company’s departments and affiliates.
The modern Audi emblem is instantly recognisable all over the globe, and the company itself has global clout on par with that of Mercedes and BMW. Audi is among the top three manufacturers in Germany and among the top 10 in Europe.
The logo’s form works well with the horizontal lines of the radiator grille, and it also looks wonderful in all other applications.
Audi, despite its worldwide recognition, has stuck with the type content of its original emblems. Minor adjustments were made to the typeface in the word “Audi,” but otherwise it stayed untouched until 2009. The letter was easily recognisable by its notch on the uppercase letter “A,” its simplified writing of the letter “U,” and its different form of “d,” all of which gave it the appearance of a musical note.
It’s also worth noting that the present logo was designed by August Jorge as part of the effort to merge four separate automakers under the Audi umbrella. One of these businesses was originally founded by Augustus Jorge, a renowned entrepreneur and investor in the Horche industry.
In 2009, however, the company made the decision to standardise the logo, which resulted in a reduced typeface with less distinguishing characteristics. The typeface component also relocated, shifting from the logo’s centre to the logo’s left.
Throughout the company’s existence, the logo’s colour scheme has remained mostly unchanged. Keeping with their commitment to traditional design, Audi’s emblem is a simple, elegant black. Furthermore, the contrast between the black backdrop and the white lettering was quite pleasing to the eye.
In 1985, however, the Audi rings became silver and the typeface was made red. In this way, the company was able to highlight both its forward-thinking technical strategy and a new chapter in its history (a return to the traditional shape of the logo). A modest shift from scarlet to cherry was made in the 2009 update’s font colour.
Style and hue
Why do you think the Audi logo has four rings?
The Audi brand was formed in the 1930s when four separate automakers joined under the recognisable four-ring emblem. DKW, Horsch, Wanderer, and Audi are the names of the businesses involved. The merged companies were known as the Auto Union, and eventually became known as Audi.
Audi’s Ted logotype is now written in a simpler, more stringent font than it has previously used for the vast majority of the brand’s history, according to a revamp in 2016. The new inscription in the title case is set in a sans-serif typeface that is both contemporary and minimalist, with a look that is reminiscent of fonts like Allumi Std Extended Bold and Corbet Wide Extra Bold Wide.
The four rings of its distinctive insignia are drawn in black, and the delicate but strong logotype — in red — in orange, a modern take on one of the most classic and powerful colour palettes: black, red, and white.
The use of these tones conveys assurance and experience, as well as an air of professionalism, while also highlighting the company’s appreciation for refined aesthetics.
Video Audi logo, symbol | history and evolution