The Ford Motor Company logo hasn’t changed much over the past 90 years. Designed to resemble the signature of company founder Henry Ford, the logo today features the Ford name written in cursive in white against the backdrop of the iconic blue oval.
But the Ford logo was very nearly modernized significantly back in 1966 when Henry Ford II, then CEO and Chairman of the global automaker, invited designer Paul Rand to have a stab at drafting a new corporate sign. Rand was a well-known art director and graphic designer, whose work included the logos of IBM, ABC, Westinghouse, Cummins, and UPS. He said in an interview that he felt “what Ford had [for a logo] was perfectly good, but it was old-fashioned. It was not in keeping with the present technological era.”
Rand’s design, showcased recently by the Facebook group Car Design Archives, replaced the elliptical blue oval with an obround shape, and rendered the classic Ford signature in a more modern, geometric font. It was sleek and advanced, while bearing enough similarity to the existing logo so as to be instantly recognizable.
After careful consideration, Henry Ford II passed on Paul Rand’s design, reportedly considering the logo too radical. It’s too bad, as 1966 was the year of Ford’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and we tend to think the logo would have looked rather terrific on the equally sleek, advanced Ford GT40.
Be sure to stop by the Car Design Archives Facebook page for more images of Paul Rand’s space-age Ford logo, including a few slick usage examples.