The Meaning Behind Ferrari’s Logo: Prancing Horses and a Need for Speed

A silhouette of a prancing black horse on a field of canary yellow; the green, red, and white colors of Italy atop its head. Put it all on red background, and alas, there’s only one thing you can think of – the fast, luxurious, and stylish cars made by none other than Enzo Ferrari.

While Ferrari’s logo of the prancing war horse has been attributed to speed and elegance, how is it that just by looking at its emblem does one easily relate it to luxury cars?

It’s all about the careful development of the logo as well as the branding that the experts at Ferrari focused on.

ferrari logo

At a time when marketing strategies started to take control on how well products were sold, Ferrari learned to adapt to the trend and made a logo that will be immortalized in the automotive scene. The history of how Ferrari chose a prancing horse is already a legend all on its own. Ferrari all but added the principles of logo design to further build up its gutsy branding.

Then again, for one to fully appreciate how Ferrari developed its banners, you first should understand the principles behind logo making. Realize how big companies, and even some smaller ones, maintain their consumerism by simply improving their branding. Think about it – Lego can take you back to your childhood via their logo.

Logo design principles are extremely important to rising businesses. See how companies like Shop Wise and Turn use the technique of using words and play it with graphics to entice customers. You can also use the nature of your company to invite people in trusting your product: like how RedInk house and land packages in Perth, Australia establish emphasis on how people in Perth commonly used red ink to highlight their choices in paid classified ads.

The Principles of Logo Design

The first thing you need to know is that logos are symbols. As symbols, company logos should tell people how your company could mean to them, or what how you want your company to the whole world. Understanding your company’s value and importance to customers and prospects can help you identify and pinpoint exactly what your company stands for – or should stand for. If you’re not sure, you always have to ask yourself over and over to completely know and believe why your company is better than any of its competitors.

Depending on your product or service, your competitive advantage might be authentic and antique craftsmanship, viability and attention to detail, or health and safety. Your unique selling proposition could be power and speed, precision and efficiency, or intelligence and innovation. It could be one of millions of other characteristics that are worth buying. However, it is of high importance for you to realize that what you choose should be important to your prospects and customers, not just to you and your personal agenda.

In designing your logo, the first thing you have to take note of is keeping it simple. The best logos are the ones that give customers an immediate and clear sense of your company, and it comes best when presented clean and uncluttered. Of course, there is the ever-nifty concept of less is more, arguing that simplicity is always more impacting.

The next thing you have to do is to make sure that your logo is memorable. The concept is quite tied up with the idea of simplicity, that since your logo is simple and impactful, it should be memorable. Also, you have to take note that in business, people will have less time to look carefully into a product’s branding and logo. You only have a few seconds to send the message across and make your logo stick. A logo that is too complex, or too cluttered, has multiple extra parts or completely overdone and over-designed may be too difficult for viewers to comprehend; ergo, logos like these are easily dismissed.

Furthermore, you have to consider how to make your logo design as “timeless” as it could get. You can say that your logo is modern from time to time, or it goes with the trend. However, the best logos are always immortal and can continue to please customer with just a few tweaks as it stands true to its message over the years.

Now that we’ve discussed the important takeaways of logo designing, let’s dive into Ferrari’s legendary logo.

The Prancing Horse and Ferrari’s Legacy

If you want to know about the blunt origin of Ferrari’s logo, hear it from Enzo Ferrari himself:

“The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane of Francesco Baracca — a heroic airman of the First World War. In ’23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, Countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck’. The horse was, and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the colour of Modena.”

However, Francesco Baracca being described as a “heroic airman of the first world war” is an understatement: he has a record of 34 total aerial victories, a gold medal of military valor, three silver medals of military valor, the British military cross, and several other award under his belt. The prancing horse, however, is the emblem that Baracca used on his planes which originated from when he was a legendary cavalier in the British cavalry.

It’s true that the prancing horse gave Enzo Ferrari his luck, as he and the company continued to carry it through Ferrari’s ups and downs. Then again, its work on the subconscious of the viewers is both simple and elegant: who couldn’t relate to a lively horse showing a fighting and energetic stance. It leaves you with a sense of speed and reliability? When you see a galloping horse, you will almost always connect it to power and superiority. When you see how its mane, tail and physique stand out in obsidian beauty, you will always feel its elegance and glamour.

Ferrari’s logo brings about the idea of speed, superiority, elegance, and luxury – all tied to hints of home and sovereignty of Italy. When everything else is put on a Ferrari-red background, all you can think of is the crimson empire of glamorous cars as swift and as glorious as the Italian cavalry.

In basic terms, Ferrari’s logo is a collection of concepts that lets a viewer’s mind relay the emblem to the product’s speed, glamour and dominance over the car-making industry.

With the message all strewn up, what Ferrari needs to do now is to maintain their quality of work, and the brand of car manufacturing that they were always known for. Ferrari still makes their cars of superior quality to compensate for its high price ceiling.