Meaning and History
Founded in 1878 as a manufacturer of bicycles, Rover produced its first automobile in 1904. It was a Rover 8 model that laid the foundation for the company’s successful future in automotive industry. Rover went on to become a major car manufacturer in the United Kingdom. However, despite solid engineering developments, the company struggled financially and had to sell its shares to various manufacturers throughout the history.
In 1967 Rover merged with British Leyland Motor Corporation, and the partnership ended in creating an icon of luxury off-road vehicles, Range Rover. In 1979 Rover signed a partnership agreement with Honda Motor Company and started to use the Japanese technologies in its vehicles. Hard times followed and the company saw its shares sold to different owners. Austin Rover Group was founded in 1982 and Rover started producing the famous Mini cars.
The Rover Group was founded in 1988 and the company launched several models based on Honda powertrains. In 1994 Rover was taken over by BMW, which marked the end of a difficult but glorious history of the marque. In 2000 BMW sold Land Rover brand to Ford Motor Company, and the Rover brand to Phoenix Consortium, leaving the promising MINI. The remnants of the company’s intellectual property were later sold to Chinese automotive giant SAIC, which started producing passenger vehicles under Roewe name. The Rover name is currently owned by an Indian manufacturer Tata Motors.
Throughout the long history of ups and downs, Rover has used emblems, based on the Viking theme. As long as Vikings were probably some of the most notable rovers of all time, it was the Viking’s head that became the first emblem of Rover products. As the shape of radiator grills changed at the beginning of last century, the shape of the emblem had to change as well.
It became triangular and the Viking longship was selected as the brand’s new emblem. It had many variations throughout the history, but red, black, golden and silver colors composed the palette used in most of them. The Viking ship, seen from the front, typically featured golden or silver body and red sails.
1884 – 1902
The first Rover logotype depicts a beige shield with a black outline. On it, there was a black inscription ‘the Rover the Roverge Coventry’, written in four lines. ‘The Rover’ part got a heavy, vintage typeface. The font used for the lower lettering had slim sans-serif letters. The bottom ‘Coventry’ word was also written in a curve.
1902 – 1922
The following logotype was also a shield with a black inscription, but its color turned to brown, and on its top there was a crown. The design team also changed the inscription. Now it was ‘Imperial Rover The Rover C9 Limited Coventry’. The lower part had a less fat font than previously. The upper part had the same font as previously, but recolored red.
1922 – 1923
1923 – 1924
Another brand logo was its name, written in white letters. The word had a stretchy, fluid typeface where all letters came one from another. The central ‘V’ character was the middle of the word and split it in two halves. The word usually didn’t have any background.
1924 – 1929
The 1924 wordmark was the handwritten inscription ‘Rover 9’. It had the golden colored letters, rounded by a line coming from the first ‘R’ character to the letter ‘e’. There wasn’t any background, as well as in the previous logotypes.
1925 – 1929
1929 – 1947
The next logo by Rover was a black and red shield with a double outline colored black and white, which also bordered red and black halves. On the top of the logo, we can see an image of warrior’s head. On the red zone of the shield, there was the brand name colored white. On the black area below, three black bars came straight to the ‘V’ character and connected together at the top. Also, there were three white circles along both bars.
1947 – 1949
In the 1947 brand renovation, the color of the head, outlines and circles turned to yellow. The inscription got a slim, straight and serif typeface. The shield now was split it two halves by two lines, coming from the warrior’s head and intertwining the ‘V’ letter. The bars disappeared, and now there were two lines with the circles on them. To the sides of shield, the designers drew four feathery elements colored blue and white.
1949 – 1959
The 1949 logotype of the Rover Company was a badge with the head at the top and a red-sailed ship inside. There was the name of the company written over the sail. Beneath, they placed badge extension that depicted waves.
1959 – 1963
In 1959, they changed the badge shape to a wavy, downturned triangle. The silver-colored ship was now located at the top of the badge, and at its bow we can see the warrior’s head. Beneath, they placed badge element depicting waves and the number ‘16’.
1963 – 1965
The next logotype prepared by Rover design team depicted the golden name written in an antique serif typeface. The ship under the name was recolored golden and placed in the center of the triangle, which shape was straightened. The waves beneath turned from blue and silver to golden color.
1965 – 1976
1976 – 1979
This watermark looked similar to its predecessor, though had a few changes. At first, the circle became bigger, as well as the ship. The ship itself got much lighter color than previously, and now looked fresher and brighter.
1979 – 1989
The brand logo presented in 1979 was a rectangular badge with a slightly wider top. It was colored black and had a double white and black outline. In the upper part of the logo, brand designers placed the yellow name, written in heavy sans serif letters. Below it, there was the familiar red-sailed ship with a yellow hull.
1989 – 2003
2003 – 2005
The emblem was often seen on black background, adorned with golden or silver frames. The latest version, used from 2003 to 2005, saw the Viking longship become silver with red sails. It remains unclear whether we will ever see this iconic logo again on new vehicles.
On the 2003 version of the badge, the outline was recolored metal gray, as well as the ship and the name. The badge itself became smaller and wider. The name got bigger gaps between letters.
The last Rover emblem, used before the company’s discontinuation in 2005, featured an iconic Viking ship with silver body and red sails. The image was placed on black background, framed with silver border. Rover inscription in silver letters, put just above the sails, completed the logo. That emblem was a minimalistic version of the company’s trademark symbol.
For the largest part of Rover history, its logo featured a shield shape, and was also designed to represent a Viking ship. These two concepts often merged to depict both shield and ship in one emblem. The latest logo had a distinctive ship, embedded into shield-shaped background. The Rover inscription is made in custom font.
The last Rover emblem was designed in three colors: silver, red and black. The silver boat with red sails was placed on black background. That was the first design in a long time featuring silver boat as the large parts of the boat used to be painted in gold color before.