Citroen is a French car manufacturer founded by industrialist Andre Citroën. The time of its appearance is 1919. It is now part of the large international group Stellantis. It also owns the Traction Avant division (since 1934), specializing in producing passenger cars created using innovative technologies. It introduced the first front-wheel-drive vehicle with independent 4-wheel suspension. The manufacturer’s headquarters are located in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine (France).
Meaning and History
What is Citroen?
Citroen is a French brand of the Dutch company Stellantis N.V. It has been in existence since 1919 and produces a wide range of vehicles that are available almost all over the world, except for the USA, North Korea, Mexico, and Canada. In its early years, the brand was owned by André-Gustave Citroën, who used the Eiffel Tower as a billboard.
It is a revolutionary company in the world of mechanical engineering. She made several discoveries that have taken the industry to a high level. In addition to front-wheel drive, bearing structure, and autonomous suspension, she proposed a self-leveling system in 1954, disc brakes ten years later, and in 1967 turning headlights for driving on winding roads. The manufacturer embodied all the innovations in his vehicles, which were subsequently awarded world and national awards. In addition, its products have been awarded the European Car of the Year award.
The company went to its resounding success through difficult years of battles. Andre Citroën built a factory during the First World War and after its end he realized that he would be left with a modern enterprise without products. Then he decided to reorient it to the manufacture of civilian vehicles since earlier he had produced only military equipment. In particular, the owner decided to focus on the passenger car segment.
What does the Citroen symbol mean?
The Citroen logo features stylized V-shaped gear teeth known as a chevron wheel. André-Gustave Citroën invented this detail shortly before the founding of the automobile company. His first business was built precisely on the production of such gears.
To do this, in 1917, he turned to engineer Jules Salomon for help in advance. The French industrialist challenged him to design the latest ten horsepower design with excellent equipment, superior durability, and less expensive than other cars. The result was the Type A in 1919 and with it Citroën. Its logo graced the first series of cars launched in the same year.
The identity is based on a gear with double chevrons. The 22-year-old founder of the company suggested the idea after visiting a factory in the Polish city of Lodz. He bought a patent for this technology because a helical gear gives more axial force and, in addition to another gear, greatly increases traction. Until that time, the French company used a bevel gear mechanism on the rear axle. Therefore, the new technology became decisive in the production of passenger cars and was of great importance.
In 2020, a merger of the FCA and PSA groups was announced to form the large industry organization Stellantis, which Citroën and other brands will join in 2021. Naturally, a change in identity is also expected.
1919 – 1921
The debut emblem consisted of a herringbone pattern, repeating the location of the notches on the helical gears. For the logo, the author chose two paired fragments since one would not be entirely clear. He placed the zigzag lines in a vertical oval and connected them on the sides. All stripes were blue and double-edged – from the outside and the inside.
1922 – 1928
At that time, graphic design prevailed because the improvement of the emblem only affected the appearance of another geometric shape. There was no text. To represent the authenticity of the car brand, the developers placed an oval with herringbone strokes in an octagon. It was dyed dark blue, close to cobalt, and all other elements were yellow-lemon.
1919 – 1959
After this transformation, the octagon got wider and had a thin yellow stripe along the edge. The blue color was shifted to the light palette, and the yellow color remained as it is. In addition, under the chevrons was the inscription “Citroen.” It was made in uppercase, except for the letter “i,” which remained in lowercase. This period is considered legendary since the text first appeared in the logo.
1932 – 1935
In parallel, another company designation was used at this time, which was conceptually different from the main one. It showed a swan swimming to the left under the chevrons, shaped like a mountain with double peaks. The bird was on improvised water, where waves of “moteurflottant” and “Citroen” were visible. She symbolized the fast-moving engines and nose shape on some of the signature models. The swan did not have any roundings – it consisted entirely of short lines and corners. Its head and neck resembled the upper fragment of an octahedron. The colors in this variant were more varied and included a combination of white, black, blue, gold, and light blue.
1959 – 1966
The manufacturer has improved the design of the chevrons, so the herringbone pattern received pointed ends. It also had “edges” that made the logo bulge. The three-dimensional effect also appeared due to the combination of light and dark sides on the same stripes. All elements were placed in a horizontal white oval.
1966 – 1985
The designers enclosed a white oval with yellow chevrons in a blue and white square. The upper part was painted in a cobalt shade, the lower – in a milky one. To the already existing sign added the inscription “Citroen,” executed in capital letters. A yellow edging strip ran along the edge of the geometric shape.
1985 – 2009
The result of a radical redesign was a new identity. The developers removed all the previous colors and elements – only the herringbone chevrons and the name of the automobile brand remained. Instead, a miniature red square and large black lettering made up of a sans serif typeface.
2009 – 2016
To modernize the logo, the brand removed the background and made the triangular serifs “metallic.” To do this, she used the corresponding colors from the metallic spectrum – silver and gray, adding black to them. As a result, the logo came out in 3D. This effect was achieved thanks to the correct combination of shadows and highlights. At the bottom was the company name in an updated red font. The author of this version is the studio Landor Associates.
2016 – today
In the current version of the logo, there is no 3D effect, so the sign looks flat. This is necessary for better branding display in print format and on any media. There is a small shadow from the “cold metal” in the upper left part of both chevrons. The designers replaced the red letters with gray ones.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Did Citroen change its logo?
Yes, the Citroen brand changed its logo very often. The most recent redesign was carried out in 2016. Then the picture lost its silvery gradient and became two-dimensional, and the lettering became gray.
Andre Citroën personally proposed the idea for the logo. The key element is in the form of two paired stripes, each of which is connected by a herringbone. These are serifs from gears with helical edges, which made it possible to improve the proprietary engines.
The automotive brand uses a custom design typeface based on the Gotham typeface created by Tobias Frere-Jones. The designers only corrected the letters to add originality to them.
The official palette consists of several shades of blue and yellow, white, graphite, silver, and red.