Of blobs and logos

April 01, 2004

As always happens when you shop for a car, I have been looking harder at the various vehicles on the roads as I drive my errands and toddle about.

I have trouble telling minivans apart, although I can now spot a couple of the more distinctive models, and so I have been looking at the corporate logos on the front grill.

While doing that I noticed something that I then looked for and confirmed while looking at car cars - most automobile company logos look like blobs from more than about 50 feet away.

There are only a few really distinctive and readily identifiable car logos: the Honda H, the Ford blue oval, the Chevrolet tilted cross, the GMC ugly red letters, and the Chrysler wings. Most of the rest either read as little blobs from a distance - Subaru oval, Dodge sheep heads - or as distorted but indistinguishable circles - Mazda, Lexus, Infiniti. A few, Toyota and VW, are distinctive blobs and sit on the margin between clarity and blobbiness, but by and large most of them seem designed to show off the car at short range.

It is not much of an observation. I certainly can't tie it into the state of relationships, the war in Iraq, the history of automobiles, or the price of tea in China. I was just struck by the fact that there are dozens of nameplates still on the road, that they all worked very hard to come up with their logo or image, that most of them are indistinguishable blobs, and that the newer plates are the least clear.

There is something to be said for clear and simple heraldry - consider that you can spot a New Mexico flag from miles away, while in order to tell a Pennsylvania from a Virginia you have to be close enough to read the logo and figure out who is the woman on the state seal.

Posted by Red Ted at April 1, 2004 08:56 AM | TrackBack