Pirelli is the fifth largest operator in the world in the tyre sector, leader in the 'Premium', the high range segments with high technological content. Founded in 1872, today Pirelli counts 19 tyre industrial plants, in four continents, operating through a widespread sales network in over 160 countries around the world.
Pirelli is distinguished for its long industrial tradition, which has always been combined with capacity for innovation, product quality and brand strength. A strength which, since 2002, has also been supported by the industrial design project of PZero, and which today has been further recognised by the Formula 1, for which Pirelli Tyre is the exclusive supplier for the three-year term 2011-2013.
The myth of the elongated P
The idea of the capital P that stretches horizontally over all the other letters of the name like a roof was born in New York, one day back in 1908. A sudden inspiration, the result of a request by the Pirelli representative in the United States, where the considerable development of commercial advertising meant that a brand that was not totally unknown, but still very young, had to stand out with a precise image and a strong identity. It was a done deal in America. And in Europe, too, immediately afterwards.
The history of the Pirelli logo is about calligraphy rather than graphic design. The Elongated P initially paid tribute to the flowery and ornate taste of the time, winding around the vertical part of the letter at the expense of the loop at the top. In another version, it wound around the word with a curving overlap into the other letters of the logo. Another time the horizontal part twisted around the word "pneu", becoming the radiator, bonnet and chassis of a red racing car. Another version focussed on the final "s" of the "pneus", generating a flexible and multicultured pack of riders, which to modern eyes greatly resemble the roaring parade in the opening sequences of the film "The Wild One".
After 1920, the story brings to the foreground characters that are apparently more real, more composed. And then, after 1930, the cavity of the P becomes stronger, and fall into line with the cold light of the White Star. The changes mainly affect the other letters of the name, or the characters of the other words of the advertising slogan. Changes in calligraphy seem part of the distant past, as are loops, swirls and hooks. The vertical part of the P acquires a kind of terminal edge, and now and again the characters acquired a tombstone-like appearance.
So, immediately after 1945, the graphic tradition of the Pirelli logo seemed quite varied and contradictory: some rules were needed. The decision was to focus on simplicity and linguistic unity, to highlight the effect of the P, making the amount of stretching permanent. The thickness scale of the other letters of the name was also established, so they remained unchanged from one font size to the next. The font to be used for the slogans, advertising copy and illustrative texts was Cairoli. Today any further innovations or changes to the logo seem impossible.
50th Anniversary of the Pirelli Calendar