Formula One has changed its logo, and not for the better. Cue pandemonium.
The old one wasn't exactly a marvel of graphic design - though the bold 'F' on the left and its speed strakes on the right, creating the '1' in the negative space in between, had become familiar to spectators around the world. Familiarity is no reason not to improve something, of course, but fans and drivers alike have been left unimpressed with the replacement, comprised solely of two curved lines and a vertical one which, according to Formula One's Head of Marketing, is meant to represent a pair of F1 cars racing wheel-to-wheel towards the finish line. Well, if you say so.
Lewis Hamilton branded the old design "iconic" and having appeared on the podium for the last 23 years behind jubilant drivers from Michael Schumacher to the current world champion himself, it's hard to argue with that assessment. F1 is far from the first brand to reinvent itself though, and from London 2012 to the BBC Three, organisations across the board have managed to court controversy with a clumsy stroke of the designer's pen. Here we recount the best (and the worst) of the automotive sector's rebrands.
We'll start with the obvious one. It was but a few years ago that the world's oldest and most famous race rebranded, replacing a much loved (but admittedly rather dated) logo with a fresh new look. Taking a similar negative space based approach as F1's outgoing design, Le Mans' current look is certainly a success.
Jaguar is another automotive institution to have recently rebranded. In a bid to shed the stuffy, middle management image it gained during the Ford years in favour of its rebellious new "good to be bad" ethos, the British marque retired the "leaper" hood ornament from the front of its cars. It was replaced with a redesigned version of the "growler" - a term we're guessing they skipped the focus tests on...
Less likely to have affected readers on this side of the pond was Chrysler's turn of the decade refresh. Having barely scraped through the recession - thanks to a helping hand from Uncle Sam - and needing to double its sales to survive further, its takeover by Fiat was the perfect opportunity to switch from the awful 'pentastar' to a sleeker, modern take on its classic winged badge.
Mazda has a long and interesting history as an automotive manufacturer, one which is reflected in the various badges its products have sported through the years. The most recent change came at the end of the 90s, when the previous rounded diamond - so shaped to avoid confusion with Renault - was replaced with the current "dynamic wing" logo. Symbolising Mazda's desire for 'growth' and 'improvement' it's a simple but remarkably modern design, given its age. We can't imagine anything else adorning the nose of the Furai.
We finish with something slightly different: a logo in desperate need of a redesign. For a racing series somewhat lacking in genuine excitement, image takes on another level of significance - hence last season's futuristic redesign for the cars themselves. Which is why it's such a surprise that Formula E's dire logo has persisted. Looking more like the desktop icon for a piece of accounting software than the emblem of the racing series of tomorrow, it could surely be easily improved upon. Then again, as an indicator of what to expect from the product it represents, perhaps it's not so bad after all...
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