I’ve been a serious Formula One racing fan for almost half a century, but the new logo that rolled out of the garage for the 2018 season is a disappointing new brand for the so-called pinnacle of motorsport.
It was created by Weiden + Kennedy London for Formula One’s first-ever (seriously?) director of marketing. The new design is touted as speaking “to the core of why people loved the sport in the first place.” Wow. As my enthusiasm for the series wanes every year (as does the number of teams that can afford to compete anymore), this lame excuse for a logo is another step in F1’s eventual decline and fall.
Citing readability issues, the numeral “1” formed by the negative space in the clever previous logo (on the left) was apparently “too subtle” for most people to pick up on. (Seriously?) It also apparently caused problems with reproduction and embroidery stitching. That’s a pretty weak argument since many logos require a simplified version for embroidery. It would shock me to find out that none exists for the previous logo since it was used for 23 years! The Lids store at our local mall could easily bang out a perfectly good embroidered version of the previous logo at even the smallest size. However, I know from experience that the tiny negative space between the three graphic shapes that make up the new logo will have embroidery artists begging for revised art to work with.
The new symbol is touted as “incredibly bold and simple,” while having a “modern retro feel.” A perfect example of shallow design-speak that actually says nothing while trying to sound enlightened. Formula One has always been the crown jewel of motor racing, but Liberty Media (the new ownership group) is taking a step backward by choosing a logo that uses an extremely vague visualization of two cars supposedly racing toward a finish line. I’ve attended 14 Formula One races in my lifetime. As a branding designer and a genuine member of their target audience, I prefer a symbol that at least attempts to represent a stylized F1 car; or that somehow captures the speed and motion of the sport in a more easily recognizable way.
I’m afraid to ask how much W+K was paid for this “F1op” of a logo, but I’m sure it would just about finance a new racing team. If this is the best of the (probably) dozens of designs that didn’t measure up during their creative process, I think I need to raise my rates.
And in case they are interested, I “loved the sport in the first place” because of its daring drivers, thrilling and dangerous classic racetracks and beautiful ear-splitting noise. Since these elements are less and less a part of modern F1, I guess I shouldn’t have expected the new brand to make that connection either. This one is destined to crash and burn. (Seriously.)