Like all major French car brands, Renault is named after its founders. The brand was founded in 1898 by the brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand Renault. The logo had nothing to do with Wybertjes yet, but was a medallion in Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) style. The brothers’ initials, together with two intertwined letters R, formed the elegant logo. Incidentally, it was only used in official documents. The cars simply read Renault-Frères, while the wheel hubs showed Louis Renault’s initials.
An armored vehicle in the Renault logo?
After Marcel Renault passed away, Louis changed the logo to a cog in 1906, with the Renault winning the first French Grand Prix at the center. The logo also marked the large-scale production of Renault models, following the example of Henry Ford. After the First World War, in which Renault supplied tanks to the French army, the logo was changed again. An armored vehicle came in the middle.
Secretly inspired by André Citroën
Only in 1923, when Louis was the only one of the three brothers alive, did he realize (secretly inspired by the brilliant marketer André Citroën) that a recognizable logo is good for the brand identity. The diamond did not appear on the scene, Louis opted for a round logo with the bars of a grille, with the Renault name in the center. The electric horn was hidden behind the (open) logo, which was mounted on the engine.
The window is finally making its appearance
The life of a logo was not easy in the 1920s. The round emblem lasted only two years. In 1925 it was decided that Renault would continue with a different logo: the window finally made its appearance on the 40 CV. After the Second World War, Renault became a state-owned company and was placed in the middle of the Régie Nationale window under the name Renault. In 1959 it disappeared again.
With the help of an artist
In 1972 the logo was radically modernized and got its beautiful 3D effect. Renault enlisted the help of the Franco-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely to make the window more dynamic. It came to be very similar to the logo as we still know it today – this logo may be the most beautiful of all, but be sure to judge for yourself. The window was given a more prominent place on the bonnet and the Renault name was permanently removed from the window.
Two-dimensional 3D figure
The Renault 5 – which is about to return – was the first model with the new logo. Vasarely created an impossible figure: it is two-dimensional, but appears three-dimensional. A kind of optical illusion, so. In 1992, when Louis Schweitzer became president, the lines disappeared from the logo and the bottom became a bit darker. Flagship Renault Safrane got the scoop. The changes that followed in 2004, 2007 and 2015 were only subtle. And that also applies to the latest update.