Chevy Impala Emblem Set to Change for 2014


Wall Street Journal - April 10, 2013

This month, General Motors Co. debuts its revamped 2014 Chevrolet Impala sedan and with it, a refreshed Chevy Impala emblem—a first in almost 20 years.

Learn more about the Chevrolet design team strategy in emblem changing.

The vehicle’s long-horned, silver African antelope logo has had only a handful of alterations during its almost five-decade run. The new look accents muscle, agility and speed, said Joann Kallio, lead creative designer for Chevrolet global brand identity, as the auto maker attempts to market the car as a more luxurious vehicle.

“We are trying to reflect an elegant simplicity while tying in the crispness of the lines running across the exterior of the vehicle,” said Ms. Kallio, who handled the emblem’s update, which was a process that took almost a year. “The vehicle has a much more muscular stance and we wanted to bring those cues from the vehicle into the emblem.”

GM reversed its decision in 1994 and revived the Impala nameplate. The work of injecting new life into the emblem fell to Anne-Marie LaVerge-Webb, who now oversees GM’s brand identities in North America. At that time, Ms. Webb said, the goal was to give the emblem a more sculpted look emphasizing the contours of the body and moving it away from a static flat look of the past.

Today, Impala designer John Cafaro said the logo was basically put on a fitness program. “It looks more buffed and chiseled,” Mr. Cafaro said.

The emblem, which appears on both sides of the vehicle on the rear top panels is always positioned pointing toward the front of the vehicle so the Impala is seen as running forward.

“There was some discussion about not putting the emblem back on the exterior,” added Mr. Cafaro, “but when we looked at it without it, we knew something was missing. It’s that piece of jewelry the vehicle needs.”

While the animal may have changed, the Impala design team decided to keep the oval Ms. Webb introduced to the logo in 1994. Until that time, the antelope was either seen sailing over flags, leaping on its own, dashing through a circle or jumping through a spokelike symbol that almost resembled a target.

“We chose the thick and thin oval to replace the circle because it portrays a sense of movement,” Ms. Webb said. “It also provides a more contemporary look.”