Luxurious Maserati cars cut across the racetrack and drive through the most prestigious metropolitan areas. The creators of the brand – the Maserati brothers – did not even imagine that this would happen. At first, everything was very modest: Ernesto, Ettore, and Alfieri registered “Societá anonima officine Alfieri Maserati” to make spark plugs, engines, and other components. They worked in a garage and sometimes took orders for the production of sports cars. That all changed in 1926 when they got their first private label sports car.
Meaning and History
Maserati’s history is longer than that of Ferrari and Porsche because it has its roots in the early days of the automotive era. However, its chronology dates back to 1926 because it was then that the world saw the Gran Prix 1500 sports car’s newest model. Then there was Tipo 26, based on Diatto. The start turned out to be more than successful: the racing car with the chrome-plated stamped logo on the bonnet immediately won the Targa Florio competition.
This is the merit of the Maserati brothers – passionate race drivers, engineers, and mechanics. There were six of them in the family, but only one was not interested in the family business. Mario Maserati was more interested in art than engineering. Paradoxically, it was his creation that left the greatest mark in the history of the company. The brothers are long dead, the brand has passed into the ownership of the Dutch corporation Stellantis, and the legendary trident logo continues to exist, recalling Mario’s talents.
Of course, over a hundred years, the emblem has changed a lot. Modern designers have adapted it to new standards, significantly improving the graphics, color palette and giving the trident a different shape. But it is still the main decoration of luxury cars, without which it is impossible to imagine either a sports car or a luxury Maserati car.
1926 – 1937
It is believed that the trident logo was created in 1926. However, according to historical documents, it appeared long before the first Maserati: around 1920, Mario designed the iconic logo at his brothers’ request, making the company recognizable. As a talented artist and a person far from the automotive industry, he decided to do without the classic racing symbols.
In the early years, the emblem looked rather austere. It looked like a vertically elongated rectangle made of polished brass. The word “MASERATI” was engraved at the bottom, with a thin sans serif font used for the letters. The main part was occupied by the image of the upper part of the trident. Mario has given attention to the design, embellishing the drawing with exquisite patterns.
1937 – 1943
After visiting different cars, the badge has been changed:
- It has acquired an elliptical shape.
- The color of the base has become lighter and got rid of black spots that create a worn effect.
- The trident has lost many of the details that made it a kind of artwork.
Simultaneously, the brand name remained in its place, but a separate zone was allotted for almost one-fourth of the ellipse.
As far as is known from archival documents, this logo had a color version. The lemon oval, the blue outline, the red teeth of the trident, the silvery inscription on the blue background looked colorful and non-trivial.
1943 – 1951
In 1937, Maserati was taken over by the Orsi family. The new owner, Adolfo Orsi, immediately transported her to the city of Modena. With its famous Neptune statue, Bologna is a thing of the past, but the calculating entrepreneur knew the value of a good reputation. There has always been a trident on the front of Maserati cars, and Adolfo was in no hurry to change it.
On the new emblem, the iconic symbol has returned to its original form. It became similar to the badge that first adorned the hood of the Tipo 26 in 1926. The designers dared only to turn the ellipse into an oval, intersected by a rectangle with large white lettering “MASERATI.” A wide gray outline surrounded the geometric shapes. The trident was red, but due to a faded shade, it was lost against a blue background lined with stripes in the form of sunbeams.
1951 – 1954
In the early 1950s, the logo of the classic elliptical shape was used. The red trident consisted of many unconnected lines that were associated with racing competitions. The ellipse had slight shading on the right side, which made it look three-dimensional. The main body was white, except for the navy blue underside. The color of the rest of the elements followed the same pattern: white for the caption and dark blue for the outline.
1954 – 1983
The corners of the ellipse have been sharpened, and the trident has become more compact. The text has moved to the top of the blue segment. The colors have taken on a dark shade.
1983 – 1985
Orsis promoted Maserati to the luxury category but went bankrupt. The brand was bought by Alessandro de Tomaso, who had his vision of the automotive business. In 1983, two years after the first Biturbo was released, the logo was updated. The ellipse was replaced with a white oval with a gray outline, the lettering became the same gray, and the trident became simplified and light blue.
1985 – 1997
The 1985 emblem is identical to the 1954 version; only the trident is wider in this case.
1997 – 2006
In 1997, Maserati and Ferrari merged. The general design trends were maintained, but the small details of the trident were gone. Also, the developers have rounded off the pointed ends of the ellipse, widened the blue area at the bottom, and enlarged the “MASERATI” inscription.
2006 – 2020
The letters have serifs, and the dark outline of the oval has become thinner. The trident has acquired a sharper appearance compared to previous versions.
2006 – 2015
In 2006, a three-dimensional version of the emblem appeared. The designers have achieved a 3D effect using shadows, gradients, and additional paths.
2015 – 2020
The most radical restyling was carried out in 2015. The logo has lost almost everything that made it an iconic symbol of Maserati. There are only two elements left: the trident, which has been repainted and reduced in size, and the company name, enlarged and written in the familiar serif typeface.
2020 – present
The modern icon looks exactly like its minimalist predecessor. Only the typography has changed: all the letters in the word “Maserati” are lowercase (except for “M”) and are linked by short lines running down the bottom.
The author of the first trident, Mario Maserati, drew inspiration from what he saw around him. A huge fountain dominated the main square of his hometown of Bologna with Neptune’s statue. This sculpture, created by the early Baroque Giovanni da Bologna representative, pushed the artist towards the cult emblem. The main inspiration was Marquis Diego de Sterlich, who first proposed to implement this idea to be more precise.
Over time, all Maserati sports and road cars have been given the Trident interpretation badge. It is the unchanging symbol of the brand, embodying energy and strength.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The company has used many different fonts to highlight its uniqueness. The modern version is similar to the Raceway. It is also rumored that the capital “M” was taken from Deftone Stylus and all other letters from Boxer Script JF.
Most of the Maserati logos are color-coded in red and blue. These are the official Bologna colors displayed on the city’s flag. It is believed that the red trident symbolizes the power of cars, the silvery field represents the earth, and the dark blue represents the water over which Neptune rules. The current monochromatic version is more prosaic because it uses a white emblem on a black background or black on white.