Subaru Logo History

From red backgrounds to the classic blue seal, the Subaru logo has evolved over the years—but no iteration has left out the iconic stars.
Written by Max Werner
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Six stars and an oval design have been a mainstay of the Subaru logo since the 1950s—but you may not know the meaning behind the badge.
Subaru has been cranking out affordable, practical, and stylish vehicles since the company's inception over 70 years ago. During this time, there have been nine iterations of the Subaru logo—but no version has left out the iconic six stars.
Why? Subaru originates from the Japanese word for the Pleiades: a group of stars in the Taurus constellation. Each star represents Subaru’s commitment to forging a luxurious and technically advanced future, while the name translates to “unite” in Japanese.
Still, like all great logos, there’s more to the Subaru badge than meets the eye. Ready to learn more? We're here with a full breakdown of Subaru’s logo history, plus the secret to finding
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The Subaru logo came after the merger of five Japanese companies to create Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. There was only one arm of the company dedicated to creating motor vehicles, and this was Subaru.
Despite the first Subarus entering the market in 1952, the logo, a monochrome badge depicting the Pleiades star grouping, didn’t originate until 1953. According to Greek mythos, Pleiades is the result of Atlas turning each of his six daughters into stars—reflecting the unity of the corporate merger behind Subaru.
Throughout the evolution of the Subaru logo, the star-based design was never abandoned regardless of color, style, or execution. As Kenji Quit, the director of Fuji Heavy Industries, once said: “Subaru was meant to be a Japanese name for the Japanese car.”
Looking toward the stars, the iconic logo represents Subaru’s forward-thinking product designs, while the name itself is a nod to Japanese pride. 

Subaru logo changes through time

Throughout its long history, the Subaru logo has undergone nine official redesigns. From adjusting the stars’ size and placement to improving the Subaru name’s typography, here’s how the Subaru logo has changed over time:
  • 1950: The first design used a monochrome color palette and sharp, four-pointed stars. The result is a timeless, albeit bland, depiction of the Subaru logo we know today.
  • 1953: Here lies the first three-dimension Subaru badge. This design reflected the 1950s layout but used a silver gradient and was placed on the hood of Subaru vehicles.
  • 1958: Two main changes for 1958 were the introduction of a wider oval shape and a new gold color scheme. The stars were no longer connected with a thin line, giving a “chic” look to any bumper.
  • 1959: The classic logo became more colorful in 1959. This year, the logo featured a deep red with a silver frame—demonstrating Subaru’s willingness to switch things up. 
  • 1970: This year, Subaru transitioned toward a silver-black color scheme, surrounding the classic oval with thick lines and rectangular background.
  • 1979: Harkening back to the original 1950s design, the 1979 logo features a black and white color scheme, thick outlines, and a minimalist design—however, this didn’t last long.
  • 1980: Here’s where we get the first look at a logo similar to today’s. The stars have been reshaped to look like they are shining, while the (extremely) deep blue background represents a quiet night sky.
  • 1999: The background was adjusted to the (now recognizable) lighter blue color, and the oval was reshaped to give the logo a three-dimensional effect.
  • 2003 to present: This is the Subaru logo you see today. Cleaner lines, bolder colors, and a now readable Subaru nameplate make this logo a recognizable icon.

What’s behind the Subaru logo design?

Like all great brands, the Subaru logo is more just a shiny badge. Here are the three elements that make the iconic design pop:
  • The stars: Created to represent the Greek constellation Pleiades, each of the six stars represents arms of the Fuji cooperation coming together to make Subaru. The modern, etched design imitates how stars appear to shine in the night sky.
  • The shape: The iconic Subaru oval started out as more of a plump circle—but today, this classic shape represents unity and the simplicity behind the Subaru mission.
  • The color: Ocean blue hues reflect the sea of possibilities and sky-high goals for the company. Blue is also viewed as a relaxing color, showing the brand’s commitment to fun and practicality.
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