Motors by Memory

How accurately can the British public draw car logos from memory?

Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, doing the school run or drooling over your dream motor, it is fair to say that most of the population are surrounded by cars and adverts for cars most days of their lives. Manufacturers spend a lot of time and money creating brand identities that are intended to be easily recognised and remembered, but does all the exposure to car logos mean that the UK can remember what they look like?

To find out which car logos the general public can recall with ease and which ones they struggle to remember, we asked 100 people to draw 10 badges from well-known car makes in the UK as accurately as possible, purely from memory.

We analysed over 1,000 drawings, that took over 60 hours to draw, noting everything from the colours used, to the shapes remembered, the styling of the font and the impact of the smaller details. Our research revealed many memory mishaps, but also demonstrated which motoring legacies are seemingly engrained in our memories forever.

Explore the study below or use the menu to jump to a brand.



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Expert opinion

We caught up with Charlie Bell, Creative Director at Whitespace; one of Scotland’s leading creative agencies. He gave us his thoughts on the future of car branding…

“We are witnessing a massive shift in the automotive industry. Technology has infiltrated every aspect of it. Self-driving cars, interactive dashboards, GPS, smart lanes, AI traffic systems. Tesla has ripped up the rule book in term of branding. Tesla is not just a car company, it’s a tech brand. They act more like Apple than they do Ford.

“And car brands have reacted. We are seeing traditional car brands refining their look to be more in line with the current trend of flat vector graphics. Gone are the shiny chrome effects in logos for many brands. Volkswagen, Toyota, Lotus, Hyundai, Audi and Mini are just a handful of automotive brands opting for a more minimal approach.

“And it is telling that the logos people could recall best where the simplest yet most striking.”

Charlie Bell

Creative Director, Whitespace


We set out to see how well we can recall the badges of 10 well-known car makes. So what do the results show us? Whilst around 80% of drawings used the right colours, and 78% of the main badge shapes were drawn correctly, further detailing was more difficult to remember.

Despite some of these badges remaining consistent over decades, the patterns and pictures featured are too much for many minds to recall. Overall only 12% of drawings were near perfect, and 26% were good but not perfect. Generally, as expected, the simpler the logo, the more accurately participants were able to recall and draw it.