Aston Martin announced today it is redesigning and updating its famous winged logo as part of a strategic repositioning of the iconic ultra-luxury sports car brand.
The move comes as part of the launch of a new marketing campaign dubbed “Intensity. Driven.” The new promotion seeks to lure new — younger — buyers to the iconic brand known for its racing prowess and as the ride of choice for the fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond — at least in cinema.
“We believe this new dimension will capitalize on the growing demand from a new generation of Aston Martin customers, with more than 60% of our current sales new to the brand,” said Renato Bisignani, head of Global Marketing and Communications at Aston Martin.
A rare occurrence
It is only the eighth time in Aston Martin’s 109-year history the badge has undergone a significant design update, and it’s first since 2003. The winged logo’s renewal was carried out by British art director and graphic designer Peter Saville, who’s developed logos in the fashion industry for Burberry, Jil Sander, John Galliano, Christian Dior and Stella McCartney. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2020.
The badge is made by hand at the 203-year-old Birmingham silversmiths’ workshop Vaughtons, which is famous for creating the Football Association Cup and medals for the 1908 London Olympics.
This weekend, the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1TM Team’s livery will sport the new logo in commemoration of Aston Martin’s of its first French Grand Prix entry 100 years ago.
“Because we are designing to make people fall in love, to connect with the hearts and minds of our customers, every object we design at Aston Martin has deep meaning and intention and is created with honesty and emotion,” said Marek Reichman, executive vice president and chief creative officer of Aston Martin
“As we approach an exciting moment of product evolution, the design of the new wings was no different.”
Logo changes over the years
The first Aston Martin logo, an A and M encapsulated in a circle, was designed by Kate Martin, wife of Aston Martin founder Lionel Martin. Debuting in 1920, it was changed seven years later.
This time, the name was spelled out, with each word angled, the first suggestion of wings. It was embellished in 1930 before being spelled out against a winged background for 1932.
The new logo was inspired by scarab beetles seen in Egyptian mythology, which symbolized new beginnings. In 1954, David Brown’s name was added to the logo. It would remain unchanged until 1984, when it was simplified and modernized, undergoing another update in 2003.
A small company with many owners
The genesis of Aston Martin dates to 1914, when Britain still had an empire and Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin decided to build their own competition cars. It wasn’t until 1923 that the first line of production Aston Martins was offered for sale. But by 1925, the company was in receivership and Lionel Martin left the company.
Rescued by with the financial help of Lord and Lady Charnwood, Aston Martin was back in business the following year, still believing racing improved the quality of their production cars. By 1932, Aston Martin won the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Just before the outbreak of World War II, the company introduced the Atom, which used aluminum body panels mated to a tubular space-frame — a now common, but then ground-breaking innovation. The car became the basis for some of Aston Martin’s most famous post-war models.
Once more financially feeble
But the firm was financially floundering once more. Help arrived in the form of David Brown, who made his fortune manufacturing tractors and transmissions. Brown merged Aston Martin with the failing Lagonda company in 1947.
Now known as Aston Martin Lagonda, the prewar Atom prototype became the basis for a new line of Aston Martins, powered by a newly designed 4-cylinder engine. Next, Brown turned to Lagonda, which had produced a car designed by W.O. Bentley, who was no longer associated with the company that bore his name.
In April 1950, the Aston Martin introduced the DB2 using Lagonda components. It would evolve into the stunning 1958 DB4, the first all-new Aston Martin model since 1950. But the new decade found the firm in financial peril once again, and Aston Martin withdrew from racing in 1964 despite its competition success.
A movie saves them
But this time, the 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger” would prove to be company’s financial benefactor.
At the time Aston Martin Lagonda loaned two DB5s to the film’s producers, the automaker was nearly bankrupt. Once the movie was released, that changed dramatically, as demand exploded, saving the company.
But by 1972, it was struggling once more. David Brown sold the company to an investment group, Company Developments, and within two years, the company lapsed into receivership. Production ceased until new owners were found in 1975. Revived once more, Aston Martin Lagonda flourished with the introduction of new models. But the company’s meager volume found them struggling by the mid-1980s.
Americans save a British icon
In 1987, Ford Motor Co. acquired the company, revitalizing it with a string of cars that provided the foundation for Aston Martin today, including the Virage, the high-performance Vantage, the Volante convertible, the DB7 as well as the brand’s first 12-cylinder model. Despite its success under Ford’s ownership, Aston Martin Lagonda changed hands once again, being sold to a consortium led by David Richards, the chairman of the Prodrive motorsport company and two Kuwaiti investment groups in 2007.
In 2013, Daimler bought a 2.6% stake in the company in exchange for giving Aston Martin access to Mercedes-AMG technology. In October 2018, the company launched its IPO in attempt to replicate Ferrrari’s successful IPO. Within a year, shares were down 75 percent. This led Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and a consortium to gain a 25% stake in the company in 2020. Today, Stroll is the chairman of Aston Martin with Daimler planning to increase its stake in the company to 20% by 2023.
One response to “A New Badge for an Old Marque: Aston Martin”
I’m not sure Aston’s problem with attracting younger buyers is the badge…