Founded: 1903 (Detroit, USA)
Founder(S): Henry Ford
Years of operation: 1903–present
Best-known models: Model-T, Mustang, Thunderbird, Fiesta, Escort, Taurus, Mondeo
Today, Ford’s badge is so well known that the whole company is often referred to as “the blue oval,” but it hasn’t always been such a simple, recognizable emblem.
Back in 1903, when Henry Ford began his own car-making operation in Detroit, Michigan, design fashions were very different. So, his first choice of logo was a rather dainty presentation of “Ford Motor Co., Detroit, Mich” in a fashionably ornamental art nouveau border.
Within four years the branding had become a little more sophisticated. The badge became simply the script “Ford,” thanks to staff designer Childe Harold Wills and his grandfather’s stencil set. The neat graphic idea was used to adorn the radiator grille of the Model-T when it was launched the next year. For a short while, the script sat on a blue winged pyramid before it was encased in an oval in 1912. By 1927, and the launch of the Model-A, the oval was blue, the script was white, and most of today’s car-spotters would be able to recognize it immediately.
Later, there were a few slight experiments with the shape of the oval and some shading to add a three-dimensional touch, but essentially the badge on a global car such as today’s Mondeo is much the same as it was before the Second World War.