Formula One Drives into the Future with a New Identity
F1 (Formula One) revealed its new “modern retro” identity at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this past Sunday along with its mission statement introducing five key behaviours – revel in the racing; make the spectacle more spectacular, break down borders; taste the oil and feel the blood boil.’
The ambition of this new mark is part of the overarching strategy to drive the brand into the future as ‘a forward-facing entertainment brand.’ Key to the redesign is to increase engagement and bring back the ‘exhilaration and unpredictability’ that made Formula One the institution it is.
The new mark, which aims to ‘embody the core forces of Formula 1 racing – speed, attack, and control,’ has been met with a lot of criticism – particularly by loyal fans that felt that the previous logo was perfectly fine. Many also feel that it is almost comically too ‘gamer,’ even likening it to Japanese video game brand, SEGA.
Changing an iconic logo is bound to be met with some objection, but has Formula One bottlenecked their brand with this new expression?
Whilst it is understandable why new F1 owners Liberty Media decided to refresh the identity, this new identity has some basic redesign issues, mainly around legibility and recognisability.
The treatment of characters is supposed to abstractly resemble a car or a racetrack. Unfortunately, it fails to resemble anything – including ‘F1’ as it could easily be mistaken for the letter ‘A.’ Contrary to the aim of embodying ‘speed, attack and control,’ the new identity has lost the movement of its previous logo. It’s heavy, almost clunky, which is possibly made worse by the fact that it is now only one colour. In the long run, a single colour may make the mark more iconic, but right now, it has made it very difficult to recognise.
The previous logo was definitely dated, but loyal fans had a lot of love for it. It possessed a strong sense of nostalgia for the glory days of the sport and was dynamic in the clever way it used negative space. The new logo has abandoned all this rich visual equity and a lot of people are understandably scratching their heads as they try to make the connection.
The need to evolve and remain relevant is ever pressing for all brands. Whilst attracting new fans is necessary, brands must not run the risk of alienating their loyal following. A new identity signals exciting changes ahead, but in building a new future, brands must take care to bring those who have supported them along for the journey.
What are your thoughts on Formula One’s new logo? Is it on the fast on the track to becoming iconic? Or does it just make you furious?