Designer Collector: Car Badges with Distinct Typography and Graphic Elements

What do you collect?

I collect car badges, car keys and car brochures; there are at least 100 items in my collection so far. The items are safely kept inside a plastic box, but when space allows I am planning to show off the collection and get a glass display cabinet. Presenting the brochures will be an interesting challenge! 

Colour Badges

Since when?

I have been a car enthusiast for as long as I can remember. It all started when my friends and I got our drivers’ licenses and we transitioned from racing virtual cars in video games to driving real cars. Unfortunately, I had no need or the financial means to purchase my own. We would visit the scrapyard often and instead of looking for car parts, I would go looking for cool badges. It was also a way for me to get closer to my dream of one day owning my own car. 

Script Badges

How does it inspire you as a designer?

Studying at design school, I was naturally attracted to the colour, typography and graphic elements of car badges. I also enjoyed the systematic approach to naming conventions that some manufacturers had. This very much resembled and inspired my own methodical approach to design. I particularly appreciated older badges for their use of durable materials. Cars have unique personalities and badges tell stories about their pedigree and many other interesting details.  

Badges with Graphic Elements

Your favourites?

My favourite item in the collection is the “740 Turbo” badge that came off a 1990s Volvo. Its size and weight goes to show how differently cars were assembled back in the day. This badge also brings memories of my father’s Navy Blue Volvo 740 that he had when we lived in Lithuania. 

Number and Letter Badges
Badges as Emblems

An item you aspire to have in your collection?

Hondas have always piqued my interest, particularly the Type-R variants. As you may have guessed, the “R” stands for racing. These high performance machines are sought after by enthusiasts because they are produced in very small numbers. It would be amazing to one day find OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Type-R decals and perhaps a classic dealer brochure from the late 1990s, in Japanese! 

Special thanks to Diego Casco RGD who helped me organize my collection for this article.