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Mazda trademarks a new logo (and fans spot an intriguing hidden message)

Designers aren't the only ones who get keyed up over new logos. A flurry of excited rumours among car enthusiasts on online forums has greeted a new logo trademark application filed by the Japanese carmaker Mazda. What's all the fuss about? Well, it turns out that one of a series of new trademark applications shows a logo that's very reminiscent of the manufacturer's famous Wankel rotary engine.

While the logo in question shows a letter 'e', its outline resembles the rotor of a Wankel, a type of engine that became popular with hot rodders due to its high power to weight ratio but which has been out of production for years. The trademark application has revived hopes that a new hybrid car with a rotary engine is about to cross the starting line (see our top tips for logo design for more on how to create a successful logo).

Mazda logo

The new logo from Mazda. See the Wankel engine below for the resemblance (Image credit: Mazda)

Picked up by the Japanese outlet Hatena Blog, Mazda has applied for eight new trademarks. They include applications for the names e-SKYACTIV R-Energy, e-SKYACTIV R-HEV and e-SKYACTIV R-EV as well as the new logo. The blog believes this is evidence that Mazda hasn't abandoned plans to use a Wankel as part of an electrified powertrain on a new hybrid vehicle. HEV and EV refer to hybrids and fully electric vehicles.

Wankel engines were developed in the early 1960s by German engineer Felix Wankel. Mazda's engines – its RX series – gained a reputation for being small and powerful. It's not clear what the R-Energy name might stand for, but fans hope it means a new Wankel engine is on the way.

Wankel engine

A Wankel engine, which the logo is said to resemble (Image credit: Mazda)

One person wrote on the New Nissan Z forum: "It sure seems like a build up to them finally giving us the next RX sports car. Using the same tech in vehicles that actually make them money (SUVs) is the only way what we enthusiasts actually want can happen, at least with it being 100% Mazda and not a product of a partnership." Another person commented: "A rotary hybrid motor? Never thought I'd see the day."

Mazda logo

Another recent Mazda logo trademark application (Image credit: Mazda)

Mazda has applied for a host of trademarks recently, sending rumours flying about new models to come later this year. In June, a trademark application for a logo showing a stylised letter R (shown above) provoked excitement about the possibility of a new high-performance model. 

Both recent cases from Mazda show the power that logos can have not only to communicate a brand identity but also to inspire excitement and anticipation about future products. Of course, logos also have the potential to cause confusion, as we saw recently with the Kia logo redesign, so the design has to be got right.

For more inspiration for your own logos, see our guide to logo strategy, and check out the prices below for Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of apps if you need software to create your own designs.

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Joseph Foley

Joseph is a regular freelance journalist at Creative Bloq. He also works as a writer and translator, as well as a project manager at a design agency based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he spends his nights dancing tango and drinking malbec. His interests include graphic design and social media.