For 23 years, Formula 1 has had the same iconic logo. At the final Grand Prix this year, they unveiled a completely new design to be used in the 2018 season and beyond.

Gone are the fourteen red ‘speed lines’ trailing from the number 1. Instead, the new logo uses just three thicker, bolder lines and accentuates more of a backwards-sloping angle, the shape of which not only resembles two cars racing towards a finish line, but also attempts to showcase to the world a renewed brand that is both figuratively and literally, in motion.

Many brands update or adjust their logo regularly, but F1 was not one of those. So, why now?

Marketing to a young audience

The sport has been desperately trying to engage with, and retain, younger viewers. The Guardian reported earlier in the year that F1 has lost 3.8 million viewers in the UK since 2015, and that the sharpest fall has been in the 17-24 group, who now watch 42 percent less television than they did in 2010 (motorsport.com). These statistics are likely to worsen in 2019, when the sport will no longer be broadcasting for free in most cases, so change is desperately needed.

Part of their wider strategy is to engage with a younger audience, largely focusing on investing in promoting the brand via digital technologies, and particularly social media.

New social media strategy

Up until just February of this year, the F1 had an archaic approach to social media and video content management, stipulating what teams and drivers could and couldn’t share, while posting minimal video content themselves. With so much content being stolen and redistributed online, the organisation viewed it as a threat to their TV revenues, rather than an opportunity to widen their audience and promote their brand.

This approach is in stark contrast to many of the sports ‘competitors’, even the lesser-known MotoGP motorcycle championship has almost 13 million followers on Facebook compared to F1’s 3.9m, thanks to their bold and liberal approach to sharing video content. The MotoGP don’t share the whole races, but they actively post video highlights and photographs, even while the race is still underway. It’s proved to be a great way of expanding, capturing and providing instant engagement opportunities for fans.

New logo designs that work with social media

F1 have discovered, like many others, that the brand they had developed many years ago is no longer functional. It’s design many years ago would have been influenced by its application, printed on huge billboards and sitting at the bottom of TV screens. It’s dimensions and lack of alternative logo styles meant that the brand was not at home inside the necessary applications of today – a tiny, round Instagram profile picture on a small phone screen or a square, 1:1 Facebook video, for example.

With so many applications, how can you ensure brand consistency?

We regularly guide clients who have had a logo for a long time through this process. We start by assessing how the application of the logo has changed and how it is likely to change in the future, helping us to develop a brand and a strict set of guidelines that ensure that a given logo or brand style is applied strongly and consistently across both the online and offline world. Often this requires developing a family of logos and a adaptable brand style.

Take our own logo for example, there’s many versions of it. We have our ‘bird’ element along with our full logo, combining the element with a typographical “Squarebird”.

It enables us to be flexible, while consistent, and it doesn’t seem out of place when you see the bird on its own or the full logo. F1’s relaunch will help them do the same, and I’m sure we’ll see more brand extensions as the season begins next year.

The new logo, whether you like it or not, is a wise move strategically. It will create attention worldwide, and provides an opportunity for F1 to explain the reasons behind it.

It does however seem a shame to lose the old logo, which was one of my favourites. It’s commonly known that the FedEx logo is home to an ingenious hidden arrow, which has won plaudits over the years. Similarly, the old F1 logo had a hidden ‘1’ within the negative space between the F and the 1. If you think everyone knows that, ask a few people. You’ll be surprised how many don’t know it’s there, and they’ll never see it the same again!

To conclude

In summary, Formula 1 now see what they missed out on, and the new logo design is just as much of a statement of intent, a projection of their willingness to change, as it is a functional redesign.

Branding and logo design Bristol

Are you thinking of rebranding? Do you find that your logo doesn’t translate or work on the range of applications that you need it to? Our friendly team will be happy to discuss your requirement, and help you take the first step towards a slick and consistent brand. Contact us today >

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