Chevrolet or also known as Chevy is one of the world’s famous car brands. It used to be known as the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company. Their vehicles have been associated with the famous bowtie logo since 1914 which makes the Chevrolet emblem one of the world’s oldest logo. Some of us may look at the logo as a cross, but in reality, it’s a bow toe. What is the story and meaning behind the iconic bowtie emblem? There have been several rumors and myths about how the logo came to be, but today, we are going to present to you the real story of how it came to be.
The Chevrolet bowtie logo was created by William C. Durant, the company’s co-founder, in 1913. He said that the idea of the Chevrolet’s logo was inspired by the wallpaper design of a Parisian hotel he and his wife stayed in. This story was backed by “The Chevrolet Story” that was published in 1961 by the official company publication in honor of Chevrolet’s 50th anniversary. It states that the company co-owner who happens to be a world traveler in 1908 got the inspiration for the logo when he saw the pattern of the wallpaper in a French hotel. He tore off a piece of the wallpaper and kept it to show to his friends with the hope that it will make a good emblem for a car.
But, as years pass there have been conflicting accounts that have emerged. Durant’s widow, Catherine, claims that it’s not how exactly how he came up with Chevrolet’s logo. According to her interview with Lawrence R. Gustin, Durant first seen the bowtie emblem in an illustrated Virginia newspaper while they were vacationing in Hot Springs, Virginia sometime around 1912. She said that they were reading the papers in their suite when he saw the design and thought that it would make the perfect emblem for the Chevrolet.
However, Chevrolet historian Ken Kaufmann came across a little gem that unlocked the truth about the emblem. While he was reading old issues of the Atlanta, Georgia based newspaper The Constitution from 1910 to 1917, he came across an advertisement for Coalettes brand coal that was dated November 12, 1911, just nine days after Durant launched the Chevrolet Motor Company.
Kaufmann said that he noticed some similarities between the Coalettes logo and the Chevrolet logo that Durant designed. First was that they both started with a C, the second was they both had nine letters, third was they both have the suffix “let” and lastly, they were hard to pronounce. Both of the logos had a dark background, white borders, and white letters. The most noticeable difference was that the Coalettes logo was slanted and it used a stylistic typeface while the Chevrolet’s logo had a formal Roman typeface that is squared off the center bow.
Truth be told, any of these theories of how the Chevrolet’s logo came to be are all equally interesting. And what we can say is that this iconic logo is loved by Chevrolet because it remains the company’s logo and branding since 1914.
Why is it called Bow Tie?
To be honest, the design of the Chevrolet’s emblem does look like a bowtie; but it also looks like a cross or some kind of a propeller. Despite looking like other things, the emblem has been called the bow tie for years. In fact, it was used all the way before World War II and it was sort of an adjective to describe a Chevrolet car.
Over the years, the Chevrolet’s bowtie colors and details have come and gone but its essential shape has never changed. And in 2014, Chevrolet began using the gold bowtie and today, it serves as the company’s identity for all of their cars and trucks globally. Today, Chevrolet remains to be one of the most recognizable logos.