As I walked through the rows of cars Saturday morning at Cars&Coffee, it dawned on me that regardless of the makes or models present, each and every car to one degree or another possessed an often overlooked detail; vehicle graphics, be it dimensional manufacturers badges or applied decal/vinyl graphics. And in addition to these basic badges, a large percentage of these cars also displayed secondary ID in the form of car club badges, installed on either vehicle grills or on badge bars (i.e. driving light bars), typically mounted at the front of the car.
If one takes a historical look back at the creation of the automobile, the coachbuilders and subsequent manufacturers soon recognized the value of marking their cars to identify their origins and over time used these emblems or badges as a tool to differentiate between brands and models. Manufacturers also shifted their design focus over to the creation of vehicle radiator caps and hood emblems; starting out as a functional component and over time evolving into visual brand markers.
With the arrival of the automobile, and as public interests grew, these new passions translated into the creation of car clubs. These interests in turn created a need for member identification, thus the creation of car club badges. These became a means for the identification of specific regional club members, and provided the opportunity to commemorate specific events (club tours, driving competitions, concours events, etc). And with each new event, owners had the opportunity to add additional car club badges to their vehicles. For many of the european makes, these club badges were proudly displayed on the front grills of the cars, or if the car was equipped with driving or fog lights, the badges were secured onto the unused portions of the horizontal lighting support brackets, common to so many of the cars of the day.
It also became apparent that most vehicle manufacturers utilize a two tiered system regarding vehicle identification; a primary graphic ID (hood of front grill brand ID), along with a secondary graphic( usually found at the back of the car), and used to identify the specific models.
The following photos recount a few of the observations I’ve made on this topic…
And as seen above, Porsches new 2012 type 991 with its new branding design layout, reintroducing the PORSCHE copy as a dimensional element in concert with the model ID. However, for those within the Porsche community, the concerns being voiced seem to be over branding; how much is too much? What do you think?
(All photos by the author)