Toyota TEQ Logo Origins and Meaning

Toyota TEQ Logo Origins and Meaning

Toyota TEQ Logo Origins and Meaning 

Toyota TEQ Logo in Katakana

The Toyota TEQ logo is a Katakana representation of the company's name. Katakana, like Hiragana and Kanji, are Japanese writing systems used to represent words using phonetic symbols. Katakanas have been around for centuries in Japan and were developed when there was a need to simplify written language. The Toyota "TEQ" logo was designed by Tetsuo Katayama who took inspiration from the kanji character for "Toyota".


Toyota's early TEQ mark is familiar to anybody who has ever been around vintage Land Cruisers. But, what do the T, E, and Q in Toyota's early trademark signify? You may be shocked to discover that what you're looking at isn't even one of those letters!

To write "Toyota" in Katakana, you must employ three characters that make the same noises: To, Yo, and Ta. These are in fact the characters we mistake for t, e, and q because of what we think they look like.

TEQ Katakana Definition


In 1936, three years after Toyoda established an automobile department, he held an open contest to create a new logo. This is the one that was chosen out of 27,000 submissions. Before you guys go crazy and start calling it the "teq" symbol, which I've seen on a number of Toyota enthusiast websites, please bear in mind that this isn't what it is.

How Toyoda Became Toyota

Let's go all the way back to the company's founder, Sakichi Toyoda. What do you notice about his name? It ends in da rather than ta, correct? There's a reason behind their choice of ending it with "ta," and it has to do with Japanese lucky number 8!

Toyoda Auto Loomworks, or Toyoda Automatic Loomworks (Toyoda Automatic Loomworks) was formed as a loomsmithing business for sewing thread into fabric. They only began producing automobiles in the 1930s. Their logo, which featured what appear to be English letters, was similar to the one shown below. It's thought that using Romaji characters was intended to signal that they were a forward-thinking firm embracing change.

Toyoda Diamond Logo 

However, three years after they began producing automobiles, in 1936, they held a design competition for someone to create a new logo. The winning design was actually based on the Katakana for Toyoda, but then they noticed something: writing the characters for Toyoda took ten strokes of the pen (with the extra two marks above what we call the Q in the TEQ mark), whereas writing the ta ending takes just eight strokes. In Japanese culture, 8 is considered to be a lucky number, and even the character for 8 implies potential expansion. As a result of this - Toyota!

TEQ Logo 10 to 8 strokes



TEQ logo is in Katakana, a form of Japanese writing. Toyota used to be Toyoda that changed around 1936 due to the lucky Number 8 in Japanese culture. Share this knowledge with your followers!