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A Legacy Revealed: Decoding The Porsche Logo & Its Modern Makeover

Here's taking a look at and past, present and future of the revered Porsche crest and what it symbolizes

by Amrit Balraj on June 28, 2024, 16:30

The Porsche crest is one of the most iconic automotive brand symbols ever, even to non-car people. The red and gold badge with the leaping horse has adorned every Porsche model since 1951. Interestingly, one of the rare times the crest was replaced by a painted-on badge was on the 911 GT3 racecar, acting as a weight-saving measure. Initially, only Porsche lettering appeared on the hoods of sports cars from Zuffenhausen as early as 1948, but a formal trademark wasn’t conceived until 1951. That year, Porsche teamed up with a loyal customer, Dr. Ottomar Domnick, to launch a design competition among German art schools. The prize? A cool 1,000 Deutsche marks. Unfortunately, they were unable to come up with a design that appealed to everyone.

In the end, it was Max Hoffman, a key figure in importing European sports cars to the U.S., who recognized the potential of Porsche. After successfully showcasing the first Porsche 356 in the United States and winning an award, he saw the need for a way to exude brand identity. During a business dinner with Ferry Porsche in New York, Hoffman pushed for the creation of a logo that embodied Porsche’s heritage, quality, and performance. This nudge proved significant. In 1952, Ferry Porsche, taking Hoffman’s suggestion to heart, instructed Porsche designer Franz Xaver Reimspieß (who also designed the logo for Volkswagen) to create a logo that captured the brand’s essence.

Evolution Of The Porsche Crest Over The Decades

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Frank drew inspiration from the coat of arms of the city of Stuttgart, the home city of Porsche. This is where the rearing horse comes from as the city of Stuttgart (i.e. Stuten Garten: Horse garden; translated from German) had been historically founded as a horse breeding hub. The horse is decidedly a fitting animal to be associated with the brand as it symbolizes speed, power, and grace - hallmarks of Porsche cars.

Beyond the powerful image of the horse, the logo incorporates colors and symbols steeped in local heritage. The red and black stripes flanking the horse reflect the traditional crest of the German state of Württemberg-Hohenzollern (Baden-Württemberg), the former state in the German region where Porsche hails from. Even the stylized antlers pay homage to the region’s coat of arms. And to solidify its identity, Porsche proudly displays its hometown, Stuttgart, above the rearing stallion. Eventually, the 356 became the first Porsche to feature the original crest.

A Modernized Crest As Porsche Commemorates 75 Years Of History

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Over the past 75 years Porsche’s crest has undergone subtle revisions and changes in dimensions, but essentially retaining its original design. It remains a testament to the enduring nature of the logo’s design and Franz Xaver’s vision. Marking their 75th anniversary in June 2023, Porsche unveiled a fresh take on their iconic crest. This seventh iteration represents a thoughtful modernization, which is only immediately obvious to hardcore Porsche enthusiasts.

The iconic rearing horse has been redesigned to seem more polished, which is a theme that has extended to the whole crest. The previously ridged bronze background has been completely smoothed, allowing the "PORSCHE" lettering at the top and the black "STUTTGART" inscription in the center to stand out. Even the red stripes have undergone a subtle transformation with a sophisticated honeycomb pattern that evokes the texture of carbon fiber. Porsche has already started rolling out this updated crest on all models coming out since the end of 2023.

The brand also came out with a "Turbonite grey" crest exclusively for Turbo models across the Porsche range for 2025. This modernized badge ditches the traditional gold finish for a sophisticated, metallic gray shade. This unique color extends to other exterior and interior elements, creating a cohesive and instantly recognizable look for the Turbo variants. This heightened differentiation has been progressively rolled out across all Porsche models, with the Panamera 2023, being the first to receive the upgrade. Watch YouTuber Shmee 150, while on a tour of the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, give us a brief about how the Porsche crest came about, in the video below.

Amrit Balraj

Amrit Balraj

Features Writer Read full bio