Yesterday's Brands, Today: Rover (1878—2005)

Rover (1878—2005)

Yesterday’s Brands, Today: Part one of four

As the winner of countless Car of the Year awards, Rover seemed like a bulletproof British institution that would never die. However, by the time the last few poorly-received CityRovers trundled off the production line in 2005, Rover’s fate was sealed: the company went into liquidation, and 6,000 jobs were lost.

It could be said that those at the car maker probably saw closure coming – not least because Rover also tried to redesign its logo just two years before the company folded. Without new and exciting cars to reflect its new, refined direction, the updated emblem was unable to stop the floundering Rover from going under.


This is the 2003 redesign, only two years before Rover stopped roving. The badge depicts the most famous “rovers” of them all – the Vikings – via the inclusion of a longboat. There have been numerous iterations of this specific design, with varying levels of detail; this was by far the simplest during its history, as it removed almost all finer points on the boat and its sails.


Over the years, the word ‘Rover’ has remained consistent throughout, but it has changed position, moving from the sails to above and separate from the ship. There has also been a drop in the number of colours used, from red, white and blue in the originals to a more prominent use of burgundy and black in later releases. So, with all this in mind, what treatment would we give the logo to resuscitate British car manufacturing in 2016?


Our new logo embraces the Rover badges of old, adopting their colours and renewing the emphasis on the Viking longboat. ‘Rover’ is no longer placed within the sails, and more prominence has been placed on the head of the boat. It retains the red, blue and black of old as a tribute to the British heritage of this classic company.

Colour ways

The red of the rebooted logo of 2003 remains the prominent colour of the shield and sails, while blue is used more sparsely for the ocean surrounding the bottom of the marque. Cream and black complement those colours to underline the quality and luxury that we want to convey in this brand.

new logo red

The bonus of this shielded, all-in-one layout is that it can be used in a one-colour format; this would work wonderfully as a chrome badge on cars, in decals on showroom windows, and on materials within the vehicles themselves – such as stitching on seats.


Is this the reboot that Rover deserves, or are there elements you feel are missing? Let us know what you think – and stay tuned for next week’s instalment, where we’ll be taking a look at Rumbelows and Happy Shopper!

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