The Saab make of cars, which ceased to exist in 2012, had gone through a series of logotypes ranging from minimalistic, clear wordmarks to comparatively complicated emblems.
Logo meaning and history Saab
Although the Saab car brand was founded in 1948, its roots go back to the end of the 19th century, to the Vabis Company, which was established in Sweden in 1891. Several years later, Scania Trucks were founded. Having a look at the earliest Scania logo, you will definitely notice the same creature as on the Saab logo. So, in fact, the main element of the Saab emblem was first used several decades earlier than the brand itself was created.
Interestingly enough, Saab actually went through a succession of other logos until it borrowed the griffin from the emblem of its parent company.
The earliest emblem of the Saab auto brand was just a fictitious red heraldic symbol with a silver outline. It only appeared on the bonnet of the prototype called Ursaab. In 1949-1962, a blue wordmark was used. In 1963, it was replaced by a silver wordmark with a stylized plane below it. The logo used in 1969-1974 featured the same lettering and plane on a dark blue background.
The 1974 logo was the first one to feature the iconic typeface on which the company logotype was based ever since. In this version, the letters were black with a grey outline.
In 1984, the griffin from the Scania logo was made a part of the new Saab logo, which was developed by designer Carl Frederik Reuterswärd. The creature itself was red with a light grey outline, while the crown on its head was golden. The text above and below the picture was given in a light shade of grey, too. There were also two overlapping circles on the logo. The emblem was placed in a circle shape against a dark blue background.
The following version, which was adopted in 2000, got rid of the overlapping circles. The word “Scania” was removed, while the color palette was slightly modified. In 2002, the logotype went through a subtle upgrade.
After 2010 Saab Logo
Starting with the Saab 9-4x production model released in 2010, the griffin logo disappeared from the hood. The new logo consisted of only the name of the brand given in light grey (silver). The typeface remained the same as on the previous wordmark. In addition to the lettering, the corporate logo comprised a depiction of the four seasons.
The reason for this was that when General Motors took control of 50% of the Saab Company in 1989, it acquired the rights to use the griffin emblem only for two decades. When Nevs acquired the Saab assets in 2010, it did not actually buy the right to use the trademark. Scania, the former owner, was afraid that because of the Chinese interests behind Nev, the trademark might have been misused. As the result of the controversy, today only Scania can use the griffin.
The strange “animal” seen on the emblem is called a griffin. It is a mythological creature combining the head of a bird and the body of a lion. Griffin is a symbol of vigilance. Another name for this creature is Gripen – this is how one of the Scania fighter planes was called. One more reason for adopting a griffin as a company emblem was that it was used on the coat of arms of the Count von Skane and later as the symbol of the province where Scania was established.
Font of the Saab Logo
The typeface featured on the Saab logo could possibly be a customized version of the Gill Sans Std Bold font. Also, it is not too far off the Bold Arial typeface (in case it is squished to 70% height). The distinctive feature of the wordmark is the way the letters overlap becoming a single unit instead of a set of four separate letters.