Trace the evolution of both the name and logos used for Toyota from the original Toyoda mark to the rich with meaning ovals you see today.
Ideas Behind the Ovals
The current Toyota mark was introduced in October of 1989, to commemorate the 50th year of the company. The development of the current logo took about five years, as it was necessary to develop a suitable logo to integrate with the rising profile of Toyota in foreign countries. There were two motivating factors in designing the logo: recognition from a distance announcing the "arrival of Toyota", and a logo with a strong visual impact that stands out from other automobiles.
There are three ovals in the new logo that are combined in a horizontally symmetrical configuration. The two perpendicular ovals inside the larger oval represent the heart of the customer and the heart of the company. They are overlapped to represent a mutually beneficial relationship and trust between each other.
The overlapping of the two perpendicular ovals inside the outer oval symbolize "T" for Toyota, as well as a steering wheel, representing the vehicle itself. The outer oval symbolizes the world embracing Toyota. Each oval is contoured with different stroke thicknesses, similar to the "brush" art known in Japanese culture.
The space in the background within the logo exhibits the "infinite values" which Toyota conveys to its customers: superb quality, value beyond expectation, joy of driving, innovation, and integrity in safety, the environment and social responsibility.
Power of the Brand
This newly designed Toyota logo made its debut on their luxury model, Celsior, in October of 1989. Soon after more models were proudly displaying the new emblem. An unprecedented logo of its time and clearly perceptible from both head on and a rear view mirror, it has quickly became widely recognized as the symbol of "Toyota".
From "TOYODA" to "TOYOTA"
Toyota originated from the family name of the founder, "Toyoda", with early vehicles produced by the company originally sold with a "Toyoda" emblem. In 1936, the company ran a public competition to design a new logo, which lead to a change in the brand name to what is now called "Toyota".
It has been regarded as a favorable transition from "Toyoda" to "Toyota", because voiceless consonants sound more appealing than voiced consonants. In addition, through the concept of "jikaku" (counting the number of strokes in writing characters to determine good and bad luck), its eight-stroke count is associated with wealth and good fortune. Lastly, the change also signified the expansion of a small independent company to a larger corporate enterprise.