Opel (full name – Opel Automobile GmbH) is a German car brand owned by Stellantis (since January 2021). The founder of the company is Adam Opel, whose last name she was named. The year of its appearance is 1862. The head office is located in the city of Rüsselsheim am Main (Germany).
Meaning and History
The brand has an incredibly rich history that began in the barn where the Opel family made sewing machines. At that time, the logo had nothing to do with transport. The company produced sewing equipment until 1886 – until it developed its line of bicycles. The first car from the company appeared in 1899. Since then, she designs, designs, assembles cars, as well as accessories for them. Everyone was involved in the family business – the head of the house, his sons, and his wife, who signed a contract with a locksmith Friedrich Lutzmann, who played an important role in shaping the car’s design. Overall, Opel has 47 logos.
1862 – 1866
The debut emblem is a monogram formed from the name and surname of the owner of the company. Graceful “O” and “A,” executed in Old English style, create a symbolic composition. To make the letters look distinct, the authors painted them in different colors: “O” – in red, “A” – in brown.
1866 – 1899
With the introduction of the first bicycle, the firm redesigned the logo. From the previous version used on sewing machines, the inscriptions “Rüsselsheim,” “Opel,” and “Blitz” remained, to which the word “Victoria” was added. It symbolizes victory. The logo is in the form of a vertical oval with a cyclist in the middle, over which the goddess Victoria flies with a laurel wreath in her hand.
This emblem lasted for a very short time and was proposed by Sophie Opel, the founder’s wife, who took over as CEO. The stylized shield has several inscriptions arranged in four lines: “Opel Motorwagenfabrik Rüsselheim a.Main.” All words are in a diagonal position. A double contour runs along the edge of the shield.
1899 – 1902
In 1899, car production started, so the company redesigned the emblem. It is now richly decorated with swirls, vignettes, and curved symbols in Old English style. On top of the coral figure is the word “Opel,” and on the bottom – “Fahrräder.” This logo was never used on passenger cars – it served only for advertising.
1902 – 1906
The brand name has a strict shape and resembles an eye or an American football ball. The brand name is placed in the middle of the oval sign with tapered ends. Above it is written “Motorenwagenfabrik,” below – “Rüsselheim.” The main colors of the logo are red and white.
1906 – 1909
The whimsical logo has an original shape and looks like an ancient Greek engraving with the monolithic word “Opel” in the middle. The colors also began to match the style: the authors chose gold and black.
1909 – 1910
A simple and laconic one replaced the complex emblem. There is no mass of parts in it, so nothing distracts from the car manufacturer’s name. The connected inscription “Opel” is located diagonally. It is handwritten in italics and painted in dark gold. The bottom stroke “l” is lengthened and turned to the left.
1910 – 1937
This is a repetition of the version of 1902-1906 but in a more noble form. Laurel wreaths line the edges of the elongated rugby ball logo. In the center of the blue field is the brand name, and to the right and left of it, there are double trapezoids. The style of this logo is very reminiscent of ancient Greek.
1924 – 1937
At the same time, another version of the emblem appeared – yellow-black, with a narrow oval. But with the same curly letters in the word “Opel.” The symbols are uneven, of different heights: the largest ones are located in the center, the smaller ones on the sides.
Temporarily used a beige and white square logo with rounded corners. Inside, it is divided into four segments, each containing one letter from the brand name: “P” and “E” on a white background, “O” and “L” on a light beige background.
1929 – 1937
The developers brought back an old version of the 1902 emblem and placed it in the middle of the orange circle, highlighting it with thin yellow strokes. They left the text style the same (1910). It is decorated with curly characters reminiscent of the Greek script.
1936 – 1937
This logo has only two elements – the words “Opel” and “Blitz,” executed in uppercase letters. They are painted white and enclosed in gray diagonal rectangles. This option was used on heavy-duty vehicles, so it was in line with the rough style.
1937 – 1947
In 1937, the era of rockets and lightning flying through the ring began. But before that, the designers depicted a gray airship, which floats through a pale yellow circle on a white background. All inscriptions from the logo have been removed.
1947 – 1954
This is a simplified version of the previous logo. The airship now looks like a rocket crossing a large silver circle horizontally. The elements have acquired sophistication and elegance.
1950 – 1951
Simultaneously with the graphic logo, a textual version of the visual identity was used. It consists of a vertical oval divided by color into two equal parts: on the left – white, on the right – gold. Also on it is the inscription “Opel.” Uppercase black letters are marked with large serifs.
1954 – 1959
The semi-airship-semi-rocket resembles a flying plane. The developers took the company’s name outside the ring, placing it at the bottom with a wide breakdown between the letters.
1959 – 1963
The circle acquired a semi-oval shape and became a pale golden color. A rocket passing in front of it is painted in the same shade. It is made of three geometric elements, two of which mirror each other.
1963 – 1964
The designers made the circle black and added a border to two gray stripes (inside and outside). The rocket resembles a lightning bolt directed with a short tip to the left. It is also black with silver edging.
1964 – 1970
At this time, the automobile company’s legendary mascot has appeared – lightning, similar to an elongated letter “Z.” It did not appear by chance and was inspired by the 1866 logo. At the beginning of the bicycle production, the manufacturer used the word “Blitz” in the emblem, denoting the lightning speed of movement of its two-wheeled vehicles. Now it has received a graphic embodiment in the form of a horizontal gray zigzag against a thin circle’s background.
1970 – 1987
This is a complex logo, consisting of a square with a circle in the middle, across which a wide lightning bolt stretches. At the bottom, there is an inscription “Opel.” Instead of light gray, the designers used black, painting all elements on an intense yellow background.
1987 – 2002
The developers removed the excessive brightness, retaining the pale golden color only in the square’s central part. And in the rectangle, they placed the corporate icon in the form of a circle with a lightning bolt. The designers left the brand’s name at the bottom but changed the font for it – now it is grotesque.
1991 – 1995
The emblem features a double circle with a wide white lightning bolt in the middle.
1995 – 2002
In this version, the colors are reversed: everything that was black becomes white and vice versa. The word “Opel” appeared on the logo again.
2002 – 2007
The adjustments made only affected the color. The lettering is now yellow, and the ring and lightning are gray.
2007 – 2009
The designers have added three-dimensionality to the logo with highlights, shadows, and highlights. As a result, the circle and horizontal zigzag became convex, silvery, resembling a metal part.
2009 – 2017
The authors of the logo increased the 3D effect and added some shadows. On the top of the circle, they engraved the brand name on a hard surface. Thanks to this, the emblem turned out to be very stylish and metallic.
2017 – 2020
The logo went through a major change again and was converted to a flat monochrome icon. There are only two elements on it – a ring and a zipper. They are painted black.
2020 – present
The current version contains all previous parts plus the inscription. The company name is at the bottom. It is made in block letters, which are located far from each other.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The visual identity mark of this automotive company has come to a very long and difficult journey. It changed at key moments in its history when it was transformed, expanded, or merged with other structures. And also, its logos were updated when the next series of passenger cars or heavy trucks appeared. Moreover, the logo existed in various forms: in the form of advertising symbols, a badge, an icon, a product label, and in the form of a print on the hood.
Designer Mathias Lamken did the late typography. Earlier versions used a variety of serif and sans serif typefaces. They looked like Old English symbols, ancient Greek signs, elongated thin letters, or, conversely, flattened wide ones. The final font is a custom font called Opel Next. It features clean lines and precise angles to maintain the business style of the logo.
The corporate palette is also diverse because it has changed several times over the many years of its existence. It contained red, gold, graphite, beige, blue, yellow, orange, silver. Now the monochrome gamut is used – black and white.