It’s likely a person can recall with precision what car company logos look like by just hearing the name of the manufacturer, or riff the names of auto companies by looking solely at their emblems.

Such is the power of having a great logo.

Car companies seem particularly good at creating memorable symbols for their products. The truth is, many of them follow a simple set of rules that help make their logos iconic. These rules can be applied to any company looking to elevate its brand with a sleek new logo.

Here are a few key elements of car company logos that make them so iconic.

Make it relevant

The logo a company uses must fit the business for which it’s associated. It must get the point across, while also being tasteful. A funeral home, for example, doesn’t want a fun and fluffy logo.

Mercedes-Benz does an excellent job of this. The three-pointed star represents the company’s goal of dominance over land, air, and sea. The colors black and silver represent style, creativity, and perfection.

Incorporate tradition

Trends are fleeting, and the last thing a company wants when designing a new logo is for it to appear dated seemingly overnight. It’s best to go with something that is held up by history and tradition.

Ford, the company that built the first affordable cars and opened travel to millions of Americans in the early 20th century, hasn’t changed its logo much since that time. It’s proud of the history it made and has kept that spirit alive by maintaining the same basic logo design that’s adorned its cars since the beginning.

Go for distinction

Focus on a design that is distinct and recognizable. Try to make it so that even just the outline gives it away.

Honda’s logo, for example, is simple and easy to identify. It also reflects the company’s philosophy toward manufacturing. Anybody who walks by, for example, a Honda Odyssey service sign will see that wide and thick ‘H’ and associate it with durability and reliability.

Make it memorable

Often a person will only take a quick glance at something before moving on. By making a logo memorable, that one moment is enough to make a positive impression.

BMW’s logo design is simple yet eye-catching. The thick black circle outlined in silver with the company’s name contrasts with the blue and white center in a way that pops off the car. It’s hard to not notice when a BMW passes by.

Focus on one thing

The simplest logos are the best logos. Putting the attention on one aspect of the design is enough for it to stand out. There’s no need to divide one’s attention.

Volkswagen has kept things neat with its logo. The ‘VW’ represents the company name, while the blue background represents class and the white letters stand for purity.

Car company logos made easy

Looking to create the next iconic logo? Online Logo Maker has some great design tips available. Check out the free online logomaker to help you get started in no time.