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F1 Formula 1 Logo Review Critique

A deep dive into the reasoning behind a logo redesign.

The year is 2017, and the iconic racing brand, Formula 1, has released a new logo. The reviews are in, and they are mixed. Some people love the new design, where others have some pretty strong feelings about the new logo.

In this video, Chris reviews the new Formula 1 logo, and goes in depth on logo application, the design brief, who designed it, and other projects the creative agency has worked on. He also touches on history of the old logo design, and the reasons for the change.


The Old F1 Logo

The redesigned F1 logo that most of us are familiar with was produced in 1994 by Carter Wong. As Chris says in the video, this logo has a bit of a dated feel to it. It feels like a racing graphic from the 80s.

It’s applied in various graphics, but we don’t see the logo extending as an identity system. When we see it given a more modern treatment, the logo stands out that much more.

When you create a mark, you have to think of it as part of an entire system. You have to think how it’s applied, how flexible it is, and other components can you piece together from the original mark.


The New F1 Logo

The new Formula 1 logo was designed by Wieden + Kennedy, the same creative agency responsible for the iconic Nike tagline, “Just Do It.” Wieden + Kennedy has also done work for companies like Coca-Cola, Levi’s, and Old Spice.

The design brief from the rebrand was as follows: reposition Formula 1 as a forward-facing entertainment channel, which works across a multitude of channels.

The Executive Creative Director from Formula 1 said, “the identity is also built on this idea that Formula 1 is full of logos. It’s a sport of logos. We wanted to celebrate, or lean into that, as opposed to try to resist it.”

As you’ll see in the video, the new logo is clearly designed with its application in mind.

What Makes a New Logo Good?

Despite the mixed responses to the new F1 logo, there’s a bigger picture here. We can’t get caught up in one tiny detail of a rebrand. What we need to realize is that that one detail we’re focusing on sits on a giant beast—the business. They have a vision they are trying to move somewhere.

Keep this quote from Michael Beirut in mind the next time you see a rebranded logo: “Most people comment on logo launches as if they’re judging a diving competition when they should be judging a swimming competition.”

There’s a longer road ahead.

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