Transform magazine: Wide of the brand – 2022
British luxury car brand Aston Martin has subtly updated its visual identity in a redesign by graphic designer Peter Saville. The fenders have been streamlined and the semi-circle removed to give it a simpler appearance. Prior says Superunion is working with Aston Martin to use the brand in a variety of contexts.
However, by being flattened and stripped down, car logos have been criticized for their similar appearance and inability to stand out from the crowd. Stewart Davies, Creative Director at Wolff Olins, says: “While the car logos of yesteryear are impractical for today’s digital world, they are full of character, tactility and heritage. This is often thrown out the window when they transition to more flattering digital brands. »
He wonders if it is possible to create an iconic, modern automotive brand that is also digitally ready. Retaining the character and physicality of brands, giving them a unique and distinct feel while allowing the brand to function digitally is a delicate balancing act.
“The problem I foresee is that the simpler and flatter we go, it leaves us with very little wiggle room to stand out, inject character, and ultimately be different. This might provide the answer as to why so many recent car redesigns have appeared to be carbon copies of each other,” he says.
He adds that while a logo embodies much of what a brand stands for, in modern branding not everything should rely entirely on it to convey the brand narrative. “It’s really just one component in a larger toolkit,” says Davies.
He adds, “Redesigning a simple logo doesn’t make much sense or impact if the rest of the experience doesn’t tell a compelling and connected new narrative. Today’s car logo redesigns are often more focused on solving a functional need, but brands need to take the bigger picture if they want to leave a lasting impression.
Meanwhile, French premium car brand Bugatti has just unveiled an update to its brand, designed by Interbrand as part of a wider overhaul of its corporate identity. Jens Grefen, Executive Creative Director at Interbrand CEE, says, “Brands that succeed in the modern era need to do more than just sell a product or flatten their logo. The redesign prepares Bugatti for a world where brands go beyond their association with a particular product and promote a feel, a look and an experience.
“Bugatti is about to enter a whole new category beyond the automobile, engaging an exclusive audience,” he says. To achieve this, the brand must make meaningful connections with the audience so that they buy into the brand’s belief systems.
The Identity System uses visual cues from Bugatti’s past such as its French heritage, elegance and colors and gives them a “modern twist.”
“Identity creates these moments of wonder by playing with scale, contrast, tension and focus, playing with the beauty of form. It celebrates what Bugatti was, is and will be – a unique experience of form , art and technique,” he says.
Long-held ideas of owning and controlling a car are giving way to a new era of mobility where various business models such as subscriptions, rentals and app-based taxi services abound. With the eventual arrival of autonomous vehicles, automotive brands will have to adapt and partner with brands in adjacent areas.
They will compete to offer digital services such as entertainment and communications directly with American tech companies, like Apple or Google, which may even launch their own cars. Brands and corporate identities of established automotive brands will have to work hard in digital interfaces and in brand partnerships. But some may think that by ceasing to serve simply as a badge adorning the hood, automotive brands lose some of their appeal.