The Kia logo is a perfect example of various design elements coming together in harmony. Since its inception, the auto giant has strived for a global presence, which its logo perfectly represents. The ellipse shape that encircles the wordmark represents the earth and symbolizes the auto giant’s global presence.
Designing logos for the automotive industry is a bit different from creating brand identities for other industries. While it is true that the mechanics or the thought process behind creating logos for any business is almost the same, the creative process involved in designing a logo for a car manufacturing company requires a little extra effort. We will inspect the Kia logo in this article. In addition to that, we will also explore how automobile logos are designed. Furthermore, check out the bonus section for the top five reasons a logo is important for your business. But first, let us check out some numbers.
According to a report published on IBISWorld, the current market size of the Car & Automobile manufacturing industry in the US is $86.2bn, with an expected growth of 4.3%. Although the market size of the Car & Automobile Manufacturing industry declined between 2017 and 2022 by 7.8%, it is expected to rebound in the future.
Image Credit: IBISWorld
How car logos are designed
Every logo is different and is created to communicate certain aspects of a brand. While this article is dedicated to the Kia logo, I will quickly explore the mechanics involved in designing a car logo. I will write a full article on how a car logo is designed very soon, I promise. But for now, let me highlight a few quick points.
Be it logos or packaging: proper research is crucial if you are to create compelling designs. Creative professionals and brand owners spend days, even months before they begin designing the logo. Conducting thorough research is one of the most significant aspects of designing an attractive logo. A logo fails to communicate the most important personality traits of a brand if proper research is not conducted. From identifying your target market to understanding your competitors, research is important in many different ways.
Choosing from various logo styles
There are many different types of logos, some of which are as follows:
- The emblem
- Abstract logos
- Pictorial marks
Identifying the right logo that describes your brand and sends the right messages helps in fostering brand identity. Auto brands mainly use combination logos or emblems as opposed to wordmarks. The right emblem can send the right message to customers. From BMW to Tesla, auto brands use emblems to attract customers and communicate brand values.
Color palette and fonts
Designing an automobile logo involves several stages of development. Designers and business owners need to walk that extra mile to create a compelling design that could easily engage the target audience. After choosing the preferred logo style, a creative professional has to decide the color palette followed by the typeface. The color palette and the typeface must be aligned with the brand mission, vision, and values and communicate the brand personality perfectly.
When it comes to choosing the fonts, brand owners and designers must consider that they are in sync with the color palette, symbols, and icons. The typeface must not stand apart from other design elements of the logo.
Interesting read: 15 best script fonts to make your designs look professional.
A brief history of Kia
Founded in 1944 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Kia was formerly known as Kyungsung Precision Industry. The company initially focused on manufacturing bicycle parts and steel tubing. The company also manufactured the country’s first indigenous bicycle—the Samchully.
The company adopted its new name, Kia, in 1952 and began manufacturing vehicles with a license from two other auto companies, namely Mazda and Honda.
Kia was forced to shut down in 1981; however, the Asian auto giant rejoined the industry with Ford as a partner.
In 1992, Kia joined the US auto market, and by 1995, the auto giant made its presence felt across the length and breadth of the country.
Interesting fact: Kia sold a record 24,740 vehicles by the end of 1995.
Meaning of Kia logo
The Kia logo is a well-thought-out one. The emblem perfectly represents the brand and what it strives to be. Each design element of the Kia logo appears to be in harmony and communicates the brand personality to the tee. Red and white are the official colors of Kia, which represent passion, positivity, energy, excitement, sophistication, purity, and loyalty.
Red and white logos have a special charm about them. From Coca-Cola to HSBC, some of the most iconic brands have used red and white as their official colors. The Kia logo has stood the test of time with its unique blend of typeface and color schemes.
Kia logo: evolution
Kia has adopted half-a-dozen logos over the years. While the current logo does not look anything like the company’s first logos, the auto giant has persisted with the wordmark. Let us explore all the six logos car manufacturing companies adopted since its inception in 1944.
1944 – 1964
Kia, as we know, began by manufacturing bicycles. The first domestically produced bicycle in South Korea had a logo that represented the company perfectly. The logo has three diamond patterns strategically placed to resemble a triangle. The gear symbol is placed in the middle of the triangle with the wordmark right at the center. The triangle is associated with ingenuity and stability, whereas the gear represents innovation and progress.
1964 – 1986
Kia adopted a completely new look in 1964. The auto giant moved its attention from bicycles to manufacturing cars in the 1960s. The auto giant produced Mazda-licensed trucks and Honda-licensed cars from the late 1950s.
In 1964, Kia completely overhauled its visual identity. The car manufacturing company adopted a green circle with a diagonal line at the top right for its logo.
1986 – 1994
Kia overhauled its logo in 1986 and stuck to it for almost eight years. The new logo looked completely different from its previous two logos. The new stylized wordmark was composed of two colors and bold lettering. The custom typeface looked attractive. One of the interesting features of the wordmark was the upper bar of the letter K, which was replaced by a blue patterned line that resembled smoke or cloud.
1994 – 2012
In 1994, the auto giant created a logo that would become the predecessor of the current Kia logo. Kia reimagined its look and adopted the red and white color palette. The new logo consists of an oval-shaped frame with the wordmark placed in the middle. The typeface is clean and simple.
The previous Kia logos were intricate and had a lot of design elements. The 1994 version was different in the sense that the car manufacturing adopted a clean look.
2012 – Present
Taking a clue from the 1994 version, Kia made a partial refresh. All the visible elements from the previous version of the logo remained intact, except it became brighter. The lines look bolder and cleaner. The 2012 version is a perfect example of minimalism in logo designs.
Designing a minimal logo takes time and experience. A designer with years of experience knows what should and should not be highlighted in a logo. You can always try to design a logo yourself, however, if you need some help, you can always look out for a professional.
2020 – Present
The 2020 redesign makes the wordmark look futuristic, energetic, and youthful. The logo is not cluttered with excess design elements, making the logo look sophisticated.
The logo consists of a stylized inscription with all three letters connected. The diagonally cut letters of the wordmark enhance its attractiveness.
So, those were the six logos Kia adopted over the years. Every logo that the auto giant ever used was unique and communicated bits of its personality.
The color palette
Kia uses red and white as its official color palette. While the auto manufacturing company has changed its color schemes every time it overhauled its logo, Kia has stuck to red and white since 1994.
Kia uses a custom typeface, which is perfectly aligned with the various design elements of the logo. The simple typeface symbolizes youthfulness and positive energy.
What makes the Kia logo different from the pack?
A logo is the face of a company, and the more beautiful the face, the more people are attracted. So if you want to attract more people to your brand, you can start by making the face look more beautiful. The Kia logo is attractive and different from its competitors. The following are the reasons for the Kia logo being different from the crowd:
Let us explore each one.
One of the hallmarks of a great logo is its simplicity. While an intricate-looking logo appears fascinating, it is always the simple designs that stand apart from the crowd. A simple logo free of excessive design elements wins the heart of the audience.
In this day and age of quick social media posts and 5G internet, it helps to remain simple because the attention span of the average Joe is declining as we speak. A simple logo conveys the key personality of a brand in seconds.
The Kia logo is simple and well-balanced. One look at the logo, and you know that the brand stands for sophistication and positivity.
The Kia logo is exceptional in the sense it has all the five qualities of a great logo. Pick up any logo that has become famous, and you will see that they are all relevant. From aptly representing their brands in the market to clearly communicating the brand personality to the customers, relevant logos foster brand recognition.
The Kia logo is a perfect example of a relevant logo. In addition to being simple and versatile, the Kia logo is relevant because it represents the brand values and personality of the auto giant to the T. From the color palette to the font, the wordmark is perfectly balanced.
The purpose behind creating a logo is to generate the interest of the customers in your brand. And how do you create a memorable logo? A designer uses various design elements such as colors, symbols, and typeface to create compelling designs. He uses these design elements in a way that appears to be in sync with the brand’s mission and values. He also uses the brand book as a reference point to begin his work.
The Kia logo sticks in a customer’s mind from the first time he lays his eyes on it. The red and white color palette and the custom typeface attract the customers seamlessly.
Interesting fact: Customers connect with a brand easily when they can recall the brand logo effortlessly.
What makes a logo truly iconic and timeless? I will explain that. But first, let me tell you what does not make a logo timeless. Most often than not, people love to follow trends. This is also true in the case of designing logos. Here is the thing with following trends: trends come and go, and if you choose to follow trends, you may have to keep changing your visual identity every time a trend fades. Designing a logo with your brand mission and values in mind can be more productive than following trends. A logo that remains effective over a period of time is a timeless one.
The current Kia logo was designed in 2012, the foundation of which was laid in 1994. It has been 28 years and still resonates with people. The freshness of the logo is intact, making it a timeless one.
The Kia logo is different from its competitors because it does not follow trends and is relevant and simple.
Here is an interesting video on what makes a logo great.
Bonus: 5 reasons why a logo is important for your business
A company without a logo is like a person without a face. When we think of a brand, the logo, and the packaging designs are the first things that come floating to the mind. If you are a startup or a small business owner, getting a logo may not be on your priority list. Well, in that case, here are some reasons you must consider getting one done quickly.
Logos make a strong first impression
A logo introduces the customers and potential buyers to the brand. If a logo is designed with the utmost care, people are attracted to it and their interest in the brand grows. Strong first impressions are crucial for your brand’s future, which is why you must pay a clsoe attention to communicating the key personalities of your brand clearly through your visual identity.
Logos grab attention
Be it Nike or Apple, they have the most attractive logos on the planet. But what makes them so special? Well, they are extremely simple and make their points in under a couple of seconds. Once you see these logos, they are permanently etched in your memory. You must strive to create a simple but powerful logo that would quickly grab the attention of the audience.
Fosters brand recognition
Not only is a logo the face of a company, but it also tells a story that influences the customers’ emotions. Logos also serve as the foundation on which brand narrative is built.
Sets you apart from the competition
You must strive to be different when designing your logo. A unique logo tells the customers that you are different from your competitors. Simply put, a logo allows you to share your brand values and show how you stand apart from your competitors.
Logos are memorable
The memorability quotient is a vital aspect of a logo. A logo is what a customer will remember you by. A simple and pleasing logo goes a long way in fostering brand recognition.
The bottom line
A unique logo will help you stand out from your competitors and let the customers know what they can expect from you. The Kia logo represents everything that a perfect logo should be. Its uniqueness lies in its simplicity, which never fails to attract the audience.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.