Seismic surveys detect Frigg fieldElf opens office

Putting a name to it

person by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
The Elf name and logo were introduced on 27 April 1967. In the early 1960s, several French companies involved in oil product sales - Caltex, La Mure, CFPP, Avia and Lacq - had been merged under Union Générale des Pétroles. This created the need for a common trademark to be used on service stations and the like.
— The Elf logo
© Norsk Oljemuseum

A computer came up with about six million different combinations of three and four letters. These included e-l-f, which was finally chosen. The new name was easy to pronounce in French and other languages, and also easy to perceive visually. And it was original. A number of designers were then asked to come up with an emblem or symbol which would be combined with the name.

A logo is important in creating identity, and serves as an expression of the business and of the company’s philosophy. It encourages a sense of fellowship in-house and provides immediate identification to the outside world. The choice fell on what is known today as “the drill bit”. Using the colours blue and red, the logo symbolised a united and integrated company. It was unveiled on 1 250 service stations in France.

New guidelines for the Elf logo were adopted in 1987. The most obvious change was the colours, with the blue and red being replaced by the French tricolour, while the symbol was placed in front of the name.

Seismic surveys detect Frigg fieldElf opens office
Published October 24, 2017   •   Updated June 2, 2020
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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