Designer Unplans Buick Logo

From Sketch to Icon: Creating an American Brand

Buick is in a period of revival, as demonstrated by the 2024 Encore GX, which is the first automobile from the brand to sport the remodeled Tri-shield emblem here in the United States. Although the modification was necessary – and grants Buick a refreshed outlook for the years ahead – it wasn’t exactly intentional.

Steve McCabe, the manager of advanced design for Buick, informed Automotive News (AN) that designers had been prompted to envisage what the new representation of Buick would be in the electric era. One of the sketches which featured a few diagonal lines instead of a logo was presented to the President of GM, Mark Reuss.

McCabe detailed that vehicular designs regularly begin as mere outlines, with the finer points latently being included thereafter. The proposed swipes would have eventually been substituted with an emblem, however, this idea wasn’t adhered to in this specific illustration. Despite this, Reuss felt positively about what he had beheld.

“This one just happened to be the one that sort of slipped through without us putting a badge on,” said Geoffrey Richmond, Senior Exterior Designer at Buick. “When [Reuss] saw it, he was captivated.” Richmond went on to explain that this particular model had a certain charm that made it stand out from the rest. “It had a certain mystique that caught his eye and he wanted to make sure it was part of the lineup,” he added.

“The serendipity of it being my sketch was a pleasant surprise,” said Richmond. “Everyone in the studio was doing these [kinds] of sketches, and mine just happened to be the one that got noticed.”

Back in March 2022, CarBuzz unearth trademark filings, which hinted at an impending alteration to the emblem. Soon enough, a visual of the refreshingly modeled design for the Tri-shield came out and gave all of us a peek into its look. SAIC-GM then expressed that with this change of branding, the brand will be taking a leap forward towards being known worldwide.

The freshly remodeled logo marks one of the most significant transformations the symbol has experienced in over three decades. Frequently blamed for being overly austere and rigid, the car maker looks to slay the negativity it has come to embody as it embarks on its new journey into the realm of electricity. By 2030, Buick plans to become a totally electric car manufacturer and will present the battery-driven Electra crossover car as its first EV here in the United States.

GM President Mark Reuss is clearly a fan of the new style, telling Automotive News (AN) that “it’s sleek and dynamic, and I love that we’ll see it on all Buicks going forward into the new era of electrification for the brand and for the company.” Reuss is enthusiastic about the fresh look, emphasizing that it will be featured on all Buicks entering the new electric age.

The iconic Tri-Shield of Buick has its roots dating back to 1959. It provided symbols for such flagship models as the LeSabre and Electra. Regardless, the automaker was aware that a contemporary style was paramount, so an effort was undertaken to upgrade its antiquated aesthetics.

The shields are no longer encased inside a circle, and the staggered layout has been done away with. Rather, now encompasses a minimalistic logo with all the shields situated side-by-side. In order to keep their brand’s recognition, David Haskell reveals that the sash has retained its inclined profile.

“We believe that people will still be able to recognize the modern and new aspects of our new logo,” McCabe said, “but there will still be a strong connection to our past that is just as significant.” He added that the new logo won’t just be featured on vehicles, but will be a staple on all Buick-related items, including dealerships, websites, letterheads, and business cards.

“The new logo might be small, but it plays a big part in the overall picture,” he said. “When you’re putting together a brand-new face, modern and sleek, you don’t want the old badge to make it look dated. That’s why it’s so important to get it right.”

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