Jaguar is a Jaguar Land Rover Ltd trademark, which belongs to the Indian holding company Tata Motors Limited. Its roots go back to 1922 when two friends founded the Swallow Sidecar to manufacture sidecars. A few years later, this business was abolished, and a new project took its place – SS Cars Ltd. The first car under the SS Jaguar brand was produced in 1935.
Meaning and History
William Lyons, the creator of SS Cars Limited, registered the name Jaguar Cars Ltd back in 1938, but that time did not come until 1945. In the post-war period, the abbreviation “SS” was associated with the Nazi organization of the same name, so a rebranding was decided at the shareholders’ meeting. Simultaneously, the line of cars became known as Jaguar without the prefix “SS” and changed its old abstract logo to a jumping predator’s image. This symbol was drawn from the bonnet mascot that appeared in 1938.
The first figurine was unsuccessful: William Lyons even compared it to a cat driven off the fence. To create an “anatomically correct” version, the company owner entrusted the development of the radiator decoration to the sculptor Bill Rankin. The mascot was perfected by automotive illustrator Frederick Gordon Crosby and introduced in 1938. It also became the basis for most of Jaguar’s emblems.
1922 – 1945
The company’s predecessor now owns the Jaguar brand to make motorized strollers in the past and was called the Swallow Sidecar. Its logo consisted of several parts: in the center, there was a blue circle with a red circular border and a yellow inscription “Swallow Sidecar Company,” and along the edges, there were two bird wings with feathers.
1945 – 2001
In 1945, William Lyons renamed his business to Jaguar Cars Ltd so that the “SS” acronym would not be reminiscent of World War II. Simultaneously, the emblem was adopted, which was received in the 1980s unofficial name The Leaper. Another version of her name is Leaping Jaguar. It was the profile of a bonnet mascot: the image of a predatory animal at the moment of a jump. For illustration, the designers used only two colors: black (outline) and white (base). At the bottom was the dark green JAGUAR lettering, made up of caps with short and sharp serifs.
2001 – 2012
Ford Motor Company, which has owned the Jaguar brand since 1989, merged it with Land Rover in 2002 to form Jaguar Land Rover Limited. Then she updated the logo, for which she turned to The Partners for help. Designers studied much coat of arms to understand what heraldic animals look like. After that, a professional sculptor created a car mascot, making it more subtle, dynamic, and graceful. It was he who became the basis for the new emblem. The typeface has also changed: the bold serif has been replaced by the grotesque.
2012 – present
The current logo is essentially a scanned and 3D digitized Leaping Jaguar figurine. It has a drop shadow and metal fill that makes the image look three-dimensional. The inscription is designed in the same style, with the letters compressed and stretched horizontally.
The company’s mascot is used only as an emblem and is no longer found on new cars’ hoods. This is due to a law passed by the European Union in 2005 for the safety of pedestrians. However, the manufacturer continues to place the iconic symbol on the grille, wheels, and rear of the car, giving the Leaping Jaguar a flat shape. Sometimes another icon is found on the grill: the head of a roaring jaguar inside a circle.
In any case, the animal stands for power, elegance, and grace. In the main logo, the predator prepares to make a rapid leap, so the image looks dynamic. Speed is best defined by elegant Jaguar vehicles.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Until 2001, the company used a serif font that is now known as Jaguar JC. Then she switched to a sans-serif typeface, opting for a modified version of the Optima. The author of the original version is Hermann Zapf. He created Optima in 1958, inspired by the inscriptions on the gravestones of the Renaissance era.
The current logo has a metallic fill, so the word “JAGUAR” is styled like XJ vehicles’ lettering. It is written in a proprietary font developed by the Fontsmith typography studio.
The dominant colors are gray and silver in different shades. Additional ones are white and black. The gradient gives the image plasticity and dynamism, making it look like the old Leaping Jaguar bonnet mascot. The cold palette creates the effect of a metallic sheen and is associated with luxury, nobility, and modernity.