What Is The Meaning Behind Nissan Logo?

Ken Nakashima
January 21, 2022

From the 1933 debut emblem Red and Blue to the 2001 Space Odyssey sci-fi logo, each one did just perfectly in representing Nissan’s guiding message in each period of development. With designs increasingly integrating with the digital age, the Nissan logo has been making a lot of impressions in the automotive world. Let’s dive into some background stories rooting back from the 30s and the real meaning of it with JDM Export!

Nissan Logo: Born and Thrive

The story began in 1930. With the dream of forming a strong-based Japanese car brand, Yoshisuke Aikawa, founder of the holding company Nihon Sangyo, merged Tobata Foundry Co., Ltd. with Nihon Sangyo and Dat Motorcar Co. The company was called NISSAN with the purpose of selling cars under the Datsun and Nissan brand names.

The meaning of Nissan isn’t so much a “meaning” as much as it is an abbreviation. If you are wondering what does Nissan stands for, we should first interpret its meaning in Japanese to have a better insight into the core. In Japanese, “ni” means “sun”, and “ssan” means “birth” or “product”. “Nissan” can be translated as “The birth of the Sun” or “Sun product”.

Professor David Bihanic – a designer and lecturer of the Sorbonne University, Paris, once said, the first logo, can symbolize the Nissan’s roots, which is synonymous with the red circle on the Japanese flag.

what does nissan mean
The iconic first-born Nissan logo vs. The modern current logo. (Photo: 1000 Logos)

If you look at Nissan cars models in some decades, you’ll find a bunch of emblems shaped in various graphic styles. It is because as vehicle design evolves, automakers would want car logos that reflect their name to be in a contemporary but stylish appearance, separate from the traditional ones.

However, for the millennium, the company needed a unified visual identity. With that said, the 2001 logo was born, featuring a monochrome metallic design. It appeared as an icon of the modern automotive industry and was worn on all types of vehicles, eliminating the use of different badges for every model.

>> Feeling not enough with the Nissan? Find out more on 15 Most Popular JDM Car Models

Nissan Logo: Reaching Out The Digital Generation

As we enter the 2020s, the industrial period gives way to the digital age. Marking this change, Nissan announced a simplified logo.

The Designing Process

Nissan’s senior vice president of global design, Alfonso Albaisa, began researching possible modifications in the summer of 2017 with 3 keywords: light, thin and flexible.

Albaisa stated that the breakthroughs in science and technology did serve them as inspiration. During the process, some factors had to be considered, including an early decision to have it lighted on prospective all-electric vehicles.

This caused several technical issues, including determining the thickness of the outline to provide a clean appearance and ensuring compliance with government standards of illuminated items on automobiles. After several designs and mock-ups, the final product showed a two-dimensional appearance. 

what does nissan stand for
The new emblem shows an innovative design compared to the hard-edged, industrial ones before. (Photo: Nissan Stories)

The Brand New Impactful Appearance

Available in both physical and digital form, the logo appears in a more planned and constructed single-color flat 2-D formal that highlights a sleeker look with thinner and sharper lines.

In particular, it would come alive in specific digital and video applications as it changes against a range of backgrounds, allowing it to represent today’s ever-changing environment and the requested flexibility to stay fresh and engaging. And better yet, it is now used by Nissan vehicles all over the world.

Side note, the Nissan Ariya, the brand’s first crossover electric vehicle, is the first pick to showcase the logo embracing the three pillars of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – Intelligent Power, Intelligent Driving, and Intelligent Integration.

Representing a new era of seamless, intuitive, and mobility, however, thanks to the sun shape circling the brand name in the center, the legacy seems not to be forgotten.

meaning of nissan
Car logo has to convey everything in just a glance. (Photo: Reuters)

>> Check out the stories of the JDM line: Kei Cars – Everything You Need To Know.

Wrapping Up

Speaking on a journey the brand is making towards a zero-emissions world via Nissan Intelligent Mobility while preserving its spirit of innovation and heritage, the Nissan logo is always a powerful symbol and a witness to its rich history.

It conveys, as usual, the only wholesome guiding message: If you have a steadfast belief, it can even pierce the sun.

Stay tuned for tons of fun and updated brand’s backside stories on JDM Export right today!

You might also like