Corvette Emblems – Whats The Meaning Of Their Logos?

Corvette emblems are an integral part to what the sports car line represents. Just like the various generations released throughout the decades, Corvette logos have also evolved. They changed their appearance and every change has a story behind it. To discover these stories, read ahead and join us on the journey through the timeline of America’s sports car’s emblems.

Corvette Emblems Poster

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#1 – The Early Sketch

While General Motors was in the process of shaping up their Corvette line into reality, the company contacted interior designer Robert Bartholomew. As you’d expect, they tasked him with the designing of the logo that they would attach to the very first Corvette. The very first emblem he came up with (x) couldn’t be further away from the Corvette symbol we know today.

The prototype emblem depicted two crossed flags: one was the typical racetrack checkered flag, which symbolized the fact that the Corvette was aiming for victory. The other one was the good old Uncle Sam. However, it was exactly this symbol of patriotism that caused Bartholomew trouble. At the time, it was illegal to sell a product under the image of the US flag. Therefore, Bartholomew had to rethink his initial vision.

#2 – The First Corvette Emblem

Even though Bartholomew had to make a last-minute switch, the change turned out that it was for the best. Corvette’s first official emblem (x) depicted alongside the checkered flag a red flag showcasing the Chevrolet logo and a fleur-de-lis. If you’re curious about his reasoning, the fleur-de-lis was allegedly part of Louis Chevrolet’s family crest. Based upon the sketches outlined by Bartholomew, Chevrolet debuted its very first Corvette at the New York Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The car sported a shiny badge (x) which would then continue to evolve for years to come.

#3 – Corvette Emblems Of The ’50s

Let’s start cycling through all of the decades in Corvette history and take a closer look at all the significant changes brought to the Corvette emblem.

1956 Chevrolet Corvette

The first thing we need to mention is that Bartholomew was the first and, sadly, the last named mastermind behind the Corvette logo designs. All people who thought up new images for the emblems are, more or less, unknown.

  • The design for the initial badge stuck around for a while. The same general lines didn’t change, the designers decided to add the iconic Chevrolet chevron over Bartholomew’s logo (x).
  • Two years later, in 1958, designers touched a bit on the typography of the logo, swapping the stylish cursive for a simpler retro font (x).

Bottom line: The 50s didn’t mark any major changes to the appearance of the logo, though one may argue that’s understandable. The Corvette emblem did just make its debut in 1953, so people definitely didn’t feel the need for a change.

#4 – Corvette Emblems Of The ’60s

The ’58 update persisted for several years, only getting switched out at the dawn of the 60s.

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

  • From 1962, the text in the Corvette emblem disappeared for a while. Furthermore, the design team dove into another interesting change. The two flags would then stick out of the circle that had previously contained them, creating a more dynamic vibe (x, x).
  • The upgrade only lasted for one whole year and its replacement was a pretty shocking change of direction. In 1963, the Corvette emblem lost its circle, yet it gained the return of an incognito American flag.  Also, following the pointy design choices on the ’63 Corvette, the logo suddenly looked much more… sharper (x).
  • The design team probably changed, seeing how the 1965 logo completely ditched the sharp angles and crazy embellishments. Instead, Corvette opted for minimalism: the two flags and nothing else around them (x).
  • Another change happened in 1967 when Corvette decided to give the two flags a slightly different angle (x).

Bottom line: This was a pretty inconsistent decade in the history of the Corvette emblem. Designers made some pretty bold choices, only to then make a complete 360-degree turn and strip the logo of all its decorations in favor of minimalism.

#5 – Corvette Emblems Of The ’70s

The simple angled double-flag logo stuck around for a grand total of five years and the next change would mark yet another bold design choice.

1969 Corvette Stingray Headers

  • In 1973, Corvette introduced the logos that depicted what we know as the “sunburst” design, returning to typography after nearly a decade of textless emblems (x).
  • The next and only other change was in 1975 and it involved, once again, the removal of the typography from the emblem (x).
  • In 1977, Chevrolet returned to its simplistic roots and decided to get rid of the sunburst design. The year marked the return of the minimalist crossed flags, this time in a redesigned version that made the logo look more stylized (x).
  • For Corvette’s 25-year anniversary, the design team gave to all cars produced in 1978 a special shiny badge. The logo had it all: the stylized crossed flags, the circle’s comeback, typography, and a complex background (x).

Bottom line: The ’70s were split in two time periods. On one hand, we had the sunburst designs. They fit it in just well with the aesthetics of the ’70s and the fact that the logo screamed of “too much” was actually a bonus at the time. Toward the end of the decade, the design team “tamed” the emblem once again.

#6 – Corvette Emblems Of The ’80s

The very first model of the ’80s came with a drastic design change in the Corvette emblem. For one reason or another, the team behind the conception brought back the sharp angles.

1990-corvette-zr-1

  • The 1980 emblem shaped up like a V, giving the car a somewhat stylish look. Many whispered around the corners that it was pretty reminiscent of the Firebird or Thunderbird, however (x).
  • In 1982, Corvette rolled through its factory gates the Collector’s Edition, which sported an emblem that strongly reminded of the vintage design of ’60s logos. The circle was back and, for the first time in history, we could see the bowtie on the red flag clearly (x).
  • Through 1983 and 1984, the design was still relatively simple, but the creative team made some pretty odd changes. For starters, the two flags switched sides. In fact, they were now more reminiscent of two colored blocks than actual flags. The fleur-de-lis is still missing from duty and the cross stands proudly in the middle of the flag (x).

Bottom line: Overall, there were many strange and slightly questionable choices regarding the design of the ’80s logos. But it seems like, for a while, Corvette hit the nail on the head with its ’83 design.

#7 – Corvette Emblems Of The ’90s

Speaking of the 1983 design, it hung around Corvettes for a really long time. It was a choice that fit really well in with the mostly unchanged change of the car’s body style through the decade.

2001-chevrolet-corvette

  • The first time the 1983 logo took a backseat ride was ten years later, in Even then, however, it was in honor of the 40-year anniversary. The emblem was a shiny 40 number, containing the two rectangle-flags. This time, however, the red flag was now black (x).
  • Unbelievably so, the first official change was all the way in 1997 when Corvette finally had to kiss goodbye to a design that they’d been fondly exhibiting for nearly two decades. Both the flapping flags and the fleur-de-lis make a triumphant return (x).

Bottom line: The ’90s marked the entrance into an era represented by fewer and fewer logo updates. After all, only one official emblem was released that decade.

#8 – Corvette Emblems Of The Modern Era

Starting the 2000s, Corvette would update its emblems less and less frequently, every upgrade being carefully thought-over and crafted.

2017_chevrolet_corvette_grand_sport_convertible

  • The first makeover was in 2005 when the emblem strongly resembled the V shape displayed on the cars released at the beginning of the ’80s. By all means, though, it looked a lot more polished and stylized (x).
  • For Chevrolet’s centennial in 2012, Corvette went full-on classy and drained all color from the emblem (x).
  • The official 2005 design lasted heroically, only being replaced recently. The current Corvette emblem is circle-less, V-shaped, contains flapping flags, and it exhibits both the fleur-de-lis and the cross for all to see (x).

Conclusion

If you really think about it, the Corvette emblem followed the same design journey as the car it’s attached to. We had funky logos, minimalist logos, overly-decorated logos, and cool-looking logos. It’s always fun to watch the way these elements evolve, so we’re eagerly expecting the next emblem change.

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