THE LEXUS LOGO
An instant success, the Lexus logo is now one of the most recognized in the world.
USE OF AN OVAL TO SURROUND THE SIMPLE, ELEGANT "L" STARTED A LOGO DESIGN TREND IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY.
In 1987, Japan's two largest car makers, Toyota and Nissan, were planning to launch new luxury divisions to compete head-on with BMW and Mercedes Benz. Honda had premiered their Acura in 1986 with great success and now Toyota and Nissan planned to launch their "Cadillacs" in 1989.
The Lexus logo you see today was introduced on December 31, 1987 and comprises two components: the "L" logo in an oval and the stylized Lexus logo typeface. (see Origins of the Lexus logo below)
A LOGO TO REMEMBER
Twenty years after the logo's debt, Lexus ad agency Team One created billboards for its annual “December to Remember Sales Event” featuring only the logo with a bow on it (above photo). Research showed the logo was not only well-known, but conveyed the quality of the brand as well resulting in an effective campaign stunning in its simplicity. No photo of the product or the company name was necessary.
BIGGER IS BETTER
The first and most important use of the logo is on the vehicles themselves. The front-grill logo continues increase in size, as modern and appealing today as it was when introduced.
What is the origin of the Lexus logo?
Toyota asked Hunter/Korobkin* to submit suggestions for the new Lexus division logo. along with two other design and corporate identification companies Saatchi & Saatchi DFS and Molly Design. The logo would adorn the new cars, dealership signage and advertising.
Who Designed the Lexus Logo?
The Lexus logo comprises two components: The ‘’L’”within the oval and the logo typeface “Lexus.’” Three firms were involved in the final phase of logo development: Toyota advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi DFS (Saatchi), Molly Designs and Hunter/Korobkin, Inc. The finished version was a combination of two firms’ final designs: the distinctive Lexus logo typeface came from Saatchi and the “L” was Hunter/Korobkin’s final design incorporating a beveled oval surrounding a stylized, forward-reaching and angled. According to Toyota, the automaker made some refinements so the logo would be easier to manufacture, rendering it using a mathematical formula.
THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
"The task of creating a new logo from scratch in many ways is symbolic of the entire process of creating anew Lexus Division," said Dave Illingworth, corporate manager, Lexus Division. "We started with nothing but an idea that the Lexus logo had to have a high-quality, rich look and yet be very readable."
After a six-month development period, three designs (one from each firm) were submitted to Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.
Two designs in combination were selected. The distinctive Lexus logo typeface was created by Toyota advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi DFS and the “L” was Hunter/Korobkin’s final design incorporating a beveled oval surrounding a stylized, forward-reaching and angled Lexus “L”.
THE OVALS HAVE IT
The use of an oval was so well received (as was the entire logo) that it started an industry-wide trend. Part of its appeal was "mathematical." The oval allowed provided more flexibility in its applications on the Lexus automobiles, particularly the rear deck by being wider and flatter.
"It's interesting to note that prior to the Lexus logo, virtually no major automaker was using an oval in their logo design with the exception of Ford's 100-year-old logo. After, an oval shape was incorporated in many new automotive logo designs including Hyundai, Toyota, Mazda, Oldsmobile, Kia and Scion ."
--Matthew S. Hunter President, Hunter Communications, Inc.
* Hunter/Korobkin, Inc. changed its name to Hunter Communications, Inc., in 1992.
From focus groups to full-blown signage tests were conducted.
SIGNAGE WAS CRUCIAL ELEMENT IN THE OVERALL LOGO DESIGN SYSTEM.
THE BACKLOT OF THOSE AREN'T EARLY LEXUS MODELS.
THE DEALERSHIP SIGNAGE TESTS WERE CONDUCTED AT LONGO TOYOTA.
In late 1988, marketing kicked into high gear.
The Lexus vision was conveyed
The new logo made its public debut on December 31, 1987, at the L.A. Auto Show as part of Lexus’ first-ever auto show display.
Does the Lexus logo have any special meaning?
According to Matt Hunter, there is no hidden meaning or story lines intertwined with the logo design (as opposed to the Toyota logo**)
Recent Lexus news
The New Lexus Flagship debuts late 2019
Annual Lexus Design Awards feature interesting interpretations fo the Lexus logo.