In 1986, 23-year-old Li Shufu borrowed some money to start a refrigerator company. He named it Geely. The business gradually expanded to the manufacture of motorcycles, and in 1999 the company received permission to manufacture cars. Now it is a large Chinese holding that buys up promising brands around the world. He owns controlling stakes in Volvo Cars, Lotus, Polestar, and other foreign brands. It also has its subsidiary, Geely Auto. In 2021, the firm introduced the new Zeekr electric vehicle model.
Meaning and History
Billionaire Li Shufu chose the name for the company when he was still an obscure young man with minimal start-up capital. Geely is an alliteration of the Chinese characters that read “Jílì” and mean something good or useful. This name can be considered a good parting word. The young entrepreneur wished himself and his business good luck, counting on the magical influence of words.
Li Shufu himself also designed the first logo. He used an abstract design – an oval with six protruding diagonal stripes on top. This is a stylized version of the six sixes overlaid on top of one another. The symbol is associated with Li, which is translated from Chinese as “six” and has another meaning – “smooth.” To some extent, the first emblem embodied the phrase “liùliù dà shùn” (“everything goes smoothly”).
But in the history of the company, not everything has been so perfect. Geely holding got into an intellectual property infringement scandal. The automaker Toyota has accused him of using an allegedly stolen logo for the new Meiri model. Despite the obvious similarity of the two trademarks in shape and color, the Japanese corporation lost the case due to an unclear law.
1998 – 2014
When Geely started making cars, it needed a new logo. The design was inspired by a symbol developed in the mid-1980s. The original version was a red oval with six stripes of varying lengths that formed a triangular shape. Li Shufu wanted the drawing to look like a mountain peak silhouette because mountains rose around the city where he founded Geely. Diagonal lines could be interpreted as steps to the highest point of development. And their number was considered a powerful sign of good luck.
Considering all this, the owner of the holding decided to keep the traditional emblem. The designers only repainted it white and placed it inside a blue oval with a wide silver outline. The central elements were outlined with a blue stripe with “GEELY” (at the top) and another silver ring frame.
This logo was used as a corporate logo, but it could be seen on early Geely Auto models produced from 1998 to 2007. In its appearance, it was very similar to the Volvo Car brand name, although the Chinese holding company bought this brand only in 2010. Probably, the company intentionally or unknowingly copied someone else’s design to go global.
Two circles with a double-edged Geely exactly repeated the structure of the Volvo emblem, and six diagonal lines were associated with the famous arrowhead, which the Swedish concern symbolized the planet Mars and its main element – iron. In turn, Geely stripes directed upward personified the movement into the future, the expansion of boundaries. In addition, the logo features Volvo’s corporate colors of navy blue and steel gray.
2008 – 2014
In 2008, some Geely Auto products were marketed under the Gleagle brand. Its emblem consisted of two open rings, round and oval. They combined into one figure, resembling an eye with a pupil. A short hook protruded from above, stylized as an element of the Chinese character. The drawing was three-dimensional and silvery, like a real car decoration.
2008 – 2014
In 2008, another Geely Auto subsidiary, Emgrand, appeared. Its logo was very reminiscent of the Cadillac brand name – a coat of arms divided into colored segments. Only the Emgrand had a shape closer to the radiator grilles of cars. Inside were six polygons with rounded sides: three red and the same number black. A grid of light brown lines separated them. The outer frame was gold. The designers added a gradient to make the drawing three-dimensional.
The name Emgrand was written at the bottom and in two versions: in Chinese characters and English. An elegant font with truncated ends for the letters “E” and “G” was used in the second case. The caption has been highlighted in black.
2014 – 2019
In 2013, Geely Auto merged its sub-brands into the new Geely brand. The designers decided to keep the Emgrand logo but change its palette. They repainted the grid in a dark golden color, replaced the black elements with gray, and used blue instead of red polygons. Despite the update, the six-piece rimmed shield still resembled the classic Cadillac symbol. Below the icon was the light blue word “GEELY,” reminiscent of the 1998-2014 emblem inscription.
2019 – present
After the redesign, the logo became elongated and acquired a silver border. The shades of blue and black are not as vibrant as they used to be. The gradient is smoother: it now looks realistic, giving the image depth. The developers expanded the lettering to “GEELY AUTO” and repainted both words gray. All these changes marked the brand’s transition to a new innovative level, the introduction of next-generation technologies into cars.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Geely’s modern emblem was inherited from one of the company’s sub-brands – Emgrand. Many have noted its obvious similarity to the Cadillac trademark due to its distinctive structure. But after the redesign, the associations shrank because the shield became elongated. The streamlined shape of the polygons symbolizes vehicle safety.
The automaker uses an unusual geometric font in uppercase. All the corners of the letters are either straight or rounded. The shape is close to square. This is a redesigned version of the lettering on the very first Geely logo. The designers made it proportional and equalized the thickness of the lines.
Like 30 years ago, the main colors are blue, gray, and silver. Blue represents the clear sky and the endless possibilities of the company. Dark gray is the earth, the fundamental principle, the connection with traditions—silver – innovation and pursuit of modern technology.