by Groupe Renault - Heritage

117 years of brand identity

Earlier this year we deployed a new brand universe. At this occasion, we decided to look back at 117 years of logos and brand identity that have changed our company with its times.
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A logo is a key component of corporate identity. It becomes a metaphor for the company in itself. When somebody talks about the ‘diamond brand’, you know immediately that they mean Renault. For the past 90 years, the brand identity has been summed up by the letters in the name ‘Renault’ and by the diamond-shaped logo.

1898: Birth of a company

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Renault was founded in 1898 by the three brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand Renault. The company was initially called “Renault-Frères” and the first logo in 1900 featured the brother’s initials, with two entwined Rs in an “Art Nouveau” medallion. Used primarily on internal documents, this emblem was not used on brand vehicles, which could be recognized only by the name “Renault-Frères” on the running board and the initials LR (for Louis Renault) carved onto the wheel hubs.

In 1906, the medallion was replaced by an image of the Renault that won the first French Grand Prix, shown inside a gear wheel. On becoming the sole manager of the company, Louis Renault changed the name from “Renault-Frères” to “Société des Automobiles Renault” in 1910. He changed it again in 1922 to “Société Anonyme des Usines Renault”.

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In 1923, Renault decided for the first time to place a front-end logo on its vehicles to make them more easily identifiable. It adopted a round grille with the name of Renault in the centre. This logo was both functional and essential since behind the grille at the front of the bonnet was… the horn! Regulations required this function to be positioned at the front behind a metal grille. Tailored to the specific snout shape of Renault’s “Alligator” bonnet, the logo was split in two by a central line.

1925: Renault adopts the diamond

The round logo of 1923 soon gained more angular contours, better suited to the dihedral-shaped bonnets with their two plane faces and central dividing line. The diamond was used alongside the round grille from 1924, appearing on the front of the 40-CV Type NM executive tourer. This geometrical symbol was definitively adopted in 1925. In the first instance, the diamond was used exclusively on luxury sports vehicles identified by the name Stella from 1929.

Over the 1930s, the identity evolved gradually and was progressively adopted across the company. During this period, the company also gained a famous brand signature: “Renault, l’Automobile de France” (“Renault, The Automobile of France”).

The nationalization of Renault on January 16, 1945 marked a change in status. The company became the Régie Nationale des Usines Renault. The name “Renault” was used as the commercial brand. The brand signature evolved to become: “Plus que jamais, Renault, l’Automobile de France” (“More than ever, Renault, the Automobile of France”).

1972: The famous Vasarely diamond

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To further underline the strength of the diamond, the company decided in 1972 to make it wider with cleaner lines. The diamond became more prominent and the name of Renault was no longer included. The company decided to bring into play its Art & Industry policy, set up in 1967, with contributors including painter and visual artist Victor Vasarely. Working with his son Yvaral, the founder of op art created a logo based on parallel lines. The result was both simple and intricate, high-tech and visually attractive.  The Renault 5 became the first model to feature the “new diamond”. 

In 2000, the brand adopted the brand signature “Créateur d’Automobiles” (“Creator of Automobiles”) and updated its visual identity, placing the diamond symbol inside a yellow square to bring out its relief and substance in 2004.  Three years later, the international signature became “Renault - Drive the Change”, heralding Renault’s innovation in new territories with the arrival of the electric vehicle range.

2015: Renault - Passion for life

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Renault has a long tradition of designing innovative, ingenious and practical cars ever since the company’s origins. Since 2012, this integral part of the brand’s DNA has combined with a renewed determination to engage with its customers in a more emotional way as well.  This called for a revitalised approach to vehicle design and the tangible signs of this commitment today are the warm, sensual and appealing lines of the Clio, Captur, Twingo, and now the new Kadjar and Espace.

All of these latest models feature a stronger visual identity with a larger more vertical diamond logo, which takes up a fundamental and dominant position on the grille, giving the vehicles new allure and making them immediately identifiable as Renault models.

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With the renewal of the range well underway, Renault has chosen this moment to launch a new brand slogan ‘RENAULT - Passion for life’ encapsulating the obsession of its engineers and design teams to observe customers daily lives - and to satisfy them with cars that make their lives better every day.

 

Tags: patrimoine renault