DEFY S. McQUAID! #66: Moving the Stars

The Question

Patrick asks:

I was driving to work the other day, and there was an old Subaru in front of me at a stop light. And in the lane next to the old Subaru, there was a new Subaru. I noticed that they had different logos!

The current logo has an oval with a large star in the upper left and a pattern of five smaller starts on the right side.

The older logo had 5 of the 6 stars in the exact same place. However, the left-most little star was placed in a completely new location! In the current design, it is to the SE of the large star, but in the old logo, it’s decidedly to the SW, and when you see the metal badge on the rear of the car, that little star actually sits on the oval!

Are you following me?

Anyway, I was wondering what caused the change of star location and when it happened? I can understand a completely redesigned logo, but they just moved one little star. What was wrong with it before?

The Answer

To answer your first question: No, I’m not following you. If I was following you, you wouldn’t suspect it, since I have cat-like reflexes and ninja-like skills. In fact….LOOK BEHIND YOU! I’m not there. I’m over HERE! On the EAST COAST!

Now, to the Subaru question. The word “subaru” in Japan represents the constellation of the Pleiades – hence, the reason the stars are present in the logo at all. And you are correct – there is an “old” logo and a “new” logo. Here’s the old one:

Old!

And here’s the new logo:

New!

Your description of the stars moving around is flawless – one star did make a massive shift in position from the bottom left to the bottom right. Why, you ask?

About 15 years ago, Fujitsu Heavy Industries (the parent company of Subaru) underwent a re-branding process. The old logo for that company was a red…thing. It looked a bit like a boomerang on its side. However, they wanted to make it clear that they owned Subaru, so they took the Subaru logo, re-designed it a bit, and then re-released it as the overarching logo. The reason they chose the logo in the first place was the fact that the company, when it formed in 1953, five smaller companies joined into one big company – hence the 5 little stars and one big star. By moving the little star on the bottom left over next to the other 4 stars on the bottom right, the company sacrifices a bit of astronomical accuracy for a clearer image of 5 small stars on one side, and the single large star on the other. It’s not like the old symbol was very accurate anyways; take a look at the Pleiades constellation some time – it’s close, but not quite accurate.

Hopefully this answers your question. I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Shamus, who felt the need to test his searching abilities against this most difficult question, and who found the images for me of the old and new logos.

7 thoughts on “DEFY S. McQUAID! #66: Moving the Stars

  • 5/9/2006 at 7:20 am
    Permalink

    That was very interesting, S. McQuaid and Shamus. Subaru = Pleiades – who would have thought?

    Reply
  • 5/9/2006 at 8:53 am
    Permalink

    I would also like to call the reader’s attention to http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.naic.edu/~gibson/pleiades/pleiades_ukschmidt.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.naic.edu/~gibson/pleiades/&h=256&w=384&sz=57&tbnid=OtBZkrPy7kA98M:&tbnh=79&tbnw=119&hl=en&start=1&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpleiades%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN and note that neither of the logos have a stong astronomical accuracy

    Reply
  • 5/9/2006 at 10:30 am
    Permalink

    … especially because the Pleides constellation has 7 stars, and Subaru only has 6. What gives?

    Reply
  • 5/9/2006 at 1:53 pm
    Permalink

    Didn’t you read the answer? I quote:

    “The reason they chose the logo in the first place was the fact that the company, when it formed in 1953, five smaller companies joined into one big company – hence the 5 little stars and one big star.”

    Also:

    “It’s not like the old symbol was very accurate anyways; take a look at the Pleiades constellation some time”

    Reply
  • 5/9/2006 at 2:00 pm
    Permalink

    Yes, I read the answer. That’s why I’m perplexed. Why if they had 5 small companies joined into 1 big one (six maximum entities) would they choose a symbol that should have seven parts?

    To me, it’s as absurd a concept as changing the name of the headquarters of the DOD to “The Hexagon”, because they like the name more.

    Reply
  • 5/9/2006 at 2:58 pm
    Permalink

    Subaru is two things in Japanese. It’s the constellation of Pleiades and it also means “unite”. I figure they chose the name because they united 5 small companies into the big one, and chose the star-based design because it’s the name of a constellation.

    How many people are really going to know that it’s missing a star? Do we happen to know offhand how many stars are in a Taurus, Aries, or Scorpio?

    Shaun and Shamus, you did an awesome job of finding all of this info out. I tried briefly, and all I could find was the story about Subaru meaning Pleiades. No mention of Fujitsu Heavy Industries (though, I do know that Subaru’s new front facscia theme is supposed to look like an airplane, because of FHI’s aviation history). I never knew that FHI was responsible for the rebadging.

    I also, try as a might, couldn’t find a good, large image of the old Subie logo. Good work on that, too. (Apparently, I can find the names of random craters on the moon, but not an image of a car logo.)

    Reply
  • 5/9/2006 at 5:45 pm
    Permalink

    I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think they were going for astronomical accuracy. It was more of a “well that looks cool, let’s copy it, but altered to suit our needs”. You might as well complain that the Ferarri horse is not anatomically perfect.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to smcquaid Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *