Toyota Logo: The History, Meaning & Evolution

Toyota Logo

The Toyota logo is a world-renowned business symbol that people recognize for a wide range of sophisticated cars and other vehicles. It is a simple but effective logo design leaving its desired impact on the viewers and target customers. But the company’s logo evolved over the years per the requirements of different times. Its evolutionary phases also teach business owners and designers that design changes should be made when necessary.

Compared with the other car logos, such as Ferrari and Porsche, the Toyota logo is a simple design. At a glance, the logo looks like the letter T. But there are three ovals interlinked and creating the image together.

Why should logo designs evolve?

Before discussing how the Toyota logo evolved over the decades, know why a logo should look a bit different or have radical changes in the first place.

A logo is a core identity of a brand. It sends a brand’s message to its target audience to convince them why they should buy those products or services. Such a logo also represents a brand personality.

A logo uses its design elements since colors, fonts, shapes, icons, etc., become a medium for evoking our emotions. That is why we get a message just by glancing at a well-designed logo.

But each decade comes with its perceptions. If a logo design does not change over the decades, people may not relate to it as much as the previous generation did in those times. So, innovative brands tweak their logos whenever required. All the global brands have to make all those necessary changes in their company logos when they want to target a different audience.

For instance, the Coca-Cola logo still has the classic handwritten lettering style. But the lettering appears to be much different than it once was. This is because we are not living in those classical times when the beverage maker first launched its logo.

We all have seen how a full-length logo with the company name and a symbol is shortened to just an image later. That is because people are now familiar with the brand.

Changes in logo designs over time are a strategic move for most brands, and Toyota is no exception.

Here Is How The Toyota Logo Evolved Over The Decades

1935 – 1949

The very first logo of the company was shaped like a gem, and the company’s name was placed right in the middle. It appeared on white background with some strokes in red. The company was called Toyoda back then.

1949 – 1958

The company created a Japanese version of the logo in 1949 to target the home market. So, the company name was in Japanese glyphs (a graphic symbol). It was also the phase when the company changed its original name from Toyoda to Toyota to appease the international market, and the company bosses also liked the new name.

The glyphs were in white against a red background and circle. Most Japanese companies used that as a familiar image of the rising sun.

1958 – 1969

By 1958, the company had forayed into the international market, which also was a reason for adopting the new name Toyota, which sounds Roman. This time they used a font that looked like Times New Roman font and created the letter in black. Again, the company name was in all upper case.

Another reason for the name change was the old meaning associated with the name. Toyoda letterly means “fertile rice paddies’’. The term for old-fashioned farming did not go well with the manufacturing of cars.

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1969 – 1978

The contemporary Toyota logo style started to take shape in 1969 when they created the company name differently. They used a different font with the letters having a shorter gap between them. The logo was now in a sans-serif font.

1978 – 1989

While the previous logo design’s basic look remained the same, the company kept more space between the letters this time. But the gap was proportional. Also, the company changed the color from black to scarlet red to grab attention and convey passion.


In 1989, the company added a symbol that later became iconic. The company added the Toyota badge on the left side of the brand name. The badge symbol looked like the letter T and was also in three ovals.


The oval shape symbol started to dominate the logo design. It was placed at the top and above the brand name. Another change in the logo was that the company chromed the symbol heavily with a lot of illumination and glint.


In 2019, Toyota decided to add another logo that resembled the 1989 style. The brand name was in black letters, and the badge was in a large red square, which made it look smaller. This logo still appears on the company’s website.


This was the first time the automotive logo had no text with the brand name removed. Just the badge was present, representing the company. The ovals were in black instead of red. This was also when Toyota had already become a familiar name globally.

So, the company thought of using the ovals only. Now, the company uses two forms of the same logo. It primarily uses the oval symbol only on its vehicle. But when it comes to marketing, the company uses both the symbol and company name.

Since 1989, the Toyota badge has become the company’s internationally acclaimed business symbol. People now identify the symbol with the sophisticated quality vehicles from the company.

The ovals, along with the brand name underneath or by the side, are now used by the company as its brand identity.

Toyota Symbol Meaning

There are three oval shapes in the Toyota logo. The company has said that the ovals represented Toyota company’s and its customers’ several interlocking hearts. But the interlinking ovals have a different meaning in the western market. There, the logo image represents the capital letter T. For eastern markets, the logo represents connectedness, community, and spirit.

Toyota Logo Colors

Toyota has changed its logo colors many times in the past. It started with a passionate red, which is still part of the logo design, and then monochromatic colors over the years.

But Toyota uses a silver metallic version of the logo for its car badge more than in branding and marketing the company’s assets.

Most of the time, the company uses red to express the passion and power involved in car making. Sometimes, it also uses white which stands for innovation and class. Black also is used by the company to express power and sophistication.

The color red in the Toyota brand stands for passion and power, while white represents innovation and class. On the other hand, black is often associated with power and sophistication.

Toyota Logo Font

Typography reflects the personality of a brand, and it is also seen as a unifying element in a design. Toyota wordmark has a simple sans-serif font that looks similar to the Avenir typeface. It is a bold but easy-to-read font and is perfect for a global brand. Toyota has been consistently using serif fonts as part of its brand identity. Adrian Frutiger first designed Avenir font in 1987.

So, it is clear that the Toyota logo underwent multiple changes over the years, and its present look is a lot different than when it started.

Are you also thinking of giving a new look to your existing logo to make it relatable to your new generation of customers? If so, then Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, can help. This is the home to hundreds of talented designers who look for design jobs.

You can launch your logo design contest at this marketplace with your design brief. Shortly, you will get multiple design ideas from many talented designers from across the globe. You can then pick one winning design that best meets your requirements and conveys your brand personality.

Also, use this platform to work with a designer on a one-to-one basis and get your logo customized precisely.

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Wrapping Up

The Toyota logo design looks entirely different today than when it first started. It was a distinctive wordmark of its times in the 1930s and gradually evolved from there over the decades. The existing brand logo of the company is a combination of image and company name. It is a simple logo that people can recall immediately.

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By Anne Carton

Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce.

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