About the Tesla logo - meaning and history

About the Tesla logo – meaning and history

Everyone loves analyzing the logos of car manufacturers and automotive brands. It’s not just today’s phenomenon but rather has been going on for years. Ford, BMW, Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, Honda, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Audi; a lot have been analyzed and explained nicely by a lot of logo designing and branding experts.

Today, a logo of a brand is going to be analyzed that was able to stand out from the competition quite early on thanks to the luxurious electric cars it made, and that too at competent prices. Ladies & gentlemen, with pleasure, we will analyze today the logo of Tesla.

The company is hardly two decades old but it is a good idea to see what it stands for, how it became successful, and to learn about the history and meaning of Tesla’s logo.

Creation of Tesla – an overview

It was in California on July 1, 2003, that Tesla was established by Martin Eberhard and Marc Trepanning. The brand was named in honor of the great American inventor and electrical engineer known for discoveries like the alternating current, Nikola Tesla.

The original objective of Tesla Corporation was to use Nikola Tesla’s discoveries for designing and developing 100% electric sports cars. If the first car was to see daylight, it was due to a handsome amount of external funding, especially from Elon Musk. He became the company’s CEO in 2008 and in the very same year, the Tesla roadster was released. It was the company’s first-ever automobile.

Creation of the Tesla logo – a story worth reading and understanding

Ever since Tesla was created in 2003, not much has changed. The logo of the brand was created by a firm known as RO studio. The agency is also well-known for its work on the SpaceX brand of Tesla Group (also owned by Elon Musk), which specializes in Astronautics and space flight.

The early logo of Tesla consisted of two parts: the company name and a shield emblem with the symbol shaped like the Letter T (it represented the company’s name). It was a combination mark logo, though the emblem could have been used individually.

Tesla offered the world a futuristic yet elegant logo having a Three-dimensional (3D) effect, a popular element on logos of the previous decade. The shield’s font is known as Emblem D and would be reused on other versions. On some derivatives of the original logo, Tesla’s was red.

What about those who think that it is just a simple T?

Those who think that the Tesla symbol is only a mere representation of the letter T should know that it is not like that. Some thought it represented the reproductive system of a woman while some thought it was a cat’s nose.

In reality, it is not like that. The logo represents a part of Nikola Tesla’s greatest invention, the electric motor. As a matter of fact, he is the primary inspiration for the company’s brand. This is undoubtedly one of the aspects of the brand that has helped the company create a robust brand image in all these years. This has made it stand out from other automotive firms too.

The incumbent logo of Tesla – what to learn about it?

In 2017, Tesla decided to overhaul and redesign their logo. This was to be done by a series of changes. The company removed the word ‘motors’ and only kept the T as the main emblem and representation of the brand name i.e., Tesla.

This T was displayed in either Red or Silver, depending on whether it was situated on a white or red background. It is worth noting that Tesla is not the only company that decided to make its logo as simple as possible, in recent years.

In line with the incumbent trends in logo design, as determined by professionals from a logo design company based in Dubai, Nissan, Mastercard, and Starbucks are among the companies who have removed chunky components from their respective logos during their recent redesigns. General Motors and Volkswagen have also taken similar routes.

Tesla’s brand image has remained quite stable since the company’s beginnings. The logo was still avant-garde when it was first made. It managed to sustain itself in all these years without any issues.

How can other brands be inspired by Tesla for their logos?

Those who wish to create a logo on the footings of Tesla’s logo must understand that their logo needs to be simple, representative and of course, timeless.

But how can they add timelessness to their logo? Let’s see the color aspect first. Tesla chose to mix only black and silver. These colors represent elegance, harmony, or classical values of integrity. Together, they are associated with luxury on ethical lines.

Additionally, such colors can be easily modified and it is easy to add another color that represents the brand. In Tesla’s case, red was chosen when it could have been blue. The reason for choosing the former is the brand’s passion and love for electric cars and technological innovations.

The concept of using a shield – can it add to the logo?

A shield-based logo or a coat of arms can bring a little extra something to a logo. Though Tesla ended up removing such elements, brands like Peugeot decided to put them back into fashion and usage. Such a logo brings a certain presence to the brand. 

Brands might consider incorporating aspects that are easy to understand and can represent the brand’s values. But they should keep in mind that it must be kept simple else the logo cannot be used everywhere.

In the end, the logo should have a meaning of high importance i.e. it should be meaningful. Why? Because it represents the brand, its values, and the company too. Tesla’s logo does not have one meaning, it has two!

Tesla’s first logo was retro but was also mundane as it only used the Letter T. But the second one is well made, as it uses the electric motor as its foundation. This is suitable for a brand with a key focus on electric cars.


Now that a lot has been explained and understood about the Tesla logo, next year the company will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Could there be a new logo? There could be.

Those who feel they need to redesign and overhaul their logo, along the lines of something elegant and simple (like Tesla’s logo), can go for it and consult with a reputed logo design agency to make sure they are on the right track.

Logo Image from Wikimedia