Classic Automotive Typography

Most people I talk to regularly know I’m a bit of a typography nut. I’ve always had a soft spot for typography and custom lettering. This is my story about how I first started really paying attention to letterforms, and how it connects to classic automotive design.

I have always been interested in everything relating to art and design, but lettering and typography has a nice combination of the creative and mathematical elements that I really enjoy. It can also look pretty damn cool, and the latter is likely the real reason I pay attention to typography.

I do remember when I first really started paying attention to letters, and their placement within designs. It all started before I was ten. I grew up around classic cars, mostly Muscle Cars from the mid-1960’s to early-1970’s. My father had cars, and I loved going with him to car shows and meets. I always loved looking for cars I didn’t recognize, or guessing ones that I thought I did. With that, I’d always focus on the cars badges and emblems. I really think this is where my focus on typography and letterforms really started. If you’re someone who doesn’t really pay attention to cars, or hasn’t noticed cars from the 1960s and earlier, you might not have noticed the detail and creativity that just the smallest of badges for vehicles had.

Fury by Thomas Hawk
Fury by Thomas Hawk

If you’re the philosopher reading this, you’ll notice this is a blatant appeal to tradition, but I really miss the vehicle lettering of the past. It is the reminiscence of my childhood. You may get something out of the amazing designs that were often overlooked by most when looking at vehicles.

Classic Automotive Typography

Tri Power by Garret Voight
Tri Power by Garret Voight

So if you enjoy classic vehicle emblems and badges, enjoy the eye candy and always be on the lookout yourself. You never know where you’ll find inspiration or your next hobby from.

Photo by Marty
Photo by Tiago Pereria
Dodge Demon by Dave
F100 Emblem by Felix Padrosa Photography
Galaxie 500 by Randy von Liski
Photo by gsamx
1970 Mach 1 Emblem by Charlie J

I’m not sure how many other people really enjoy the designs, and the stories each of these emblems and the typography tell. I may be a designer in the digital space, but the physical design of these emblems always gets to me and makes me want to create something.