As a blog follower, you probably know that the original 1906 logo for Mototri Contal is a complex one. I discovered it on an original 1906 instruction booklet and was amazed. Just look at it carefully.
The winged guy (is it an angel or a God?) in the middle has a banner over his vital parts stating: “Time is Money“. At the same time he is throwing money behind his left shoulder and carries an hourglass in the right hand. I can understand the symbolist ‘time-hourglass‘ and ‘money-throwing over the shoulder‘, but still… Weird, no? This logo is from a small automotive factory (Contal) close to Paris, France in the beginning of the former century. Why is it in English? The two types of three wheelers drawn left and right are named in French though. Le ‘Tourisme‘ is with a suicide-seat (in France they called it ‘une tue-belle-mère‘ (a mother-in-law-killer) and that is the type you will see in the Peking to Paris race. The other side is Le ‘Livraison‘ which means ‘delivery’. This must have been the most popular type of Contal used by bakers and butchers.
But since this is a beautiful but also very complex logo and realising that, as the new owner, I want to revive the brand, I decided to have it changed to a more modern version of it, keeping sort of the same idea. The first one that came of the drawing board was this:
But I was not satisfied. The name underneath seemed to float under the wings… and the ‘Tourisme’ and ‘Livraison’ words didn’t seem to have a place in the new logo… so we brainstormed on it and came up with this:
This felt better but again, no… Not strong enough for me. The wings seemed to go down in defeat and the words ‘Mototri Contal’ felt like ‘stuck on’. So there we went again thinking it over to come up with this:
We were getting there but when there is doubt, there is none. The wings were too small or the circle too big for them. I felt that the circle with the name and year were now strongly held and I liked that. The next and last step was to be taken… getting those wings in a modern firm position to hold the whole logo. So we went back to the drawing board and came up with this:
We all thought this was IT. Strong, clear by name, the essentials were there and it felt balanced. This was to become the modern Contal logo. Our beast would carry these wings with pride.
But I can hear you thinking… what the f*** is that VDC in the middle?! Well, every big story must have its mystery. I will give you a hint though: the answer can be found in the theory of Roman numerals. It is supposed to say 1906, so…?