PH Footnote: Loco for the logo


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.


Le Mans 24
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
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...


Chrysler
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
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.


Formula E
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...

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (39) Join the discussion on the forum

  • PhantomPH 27 Nov 2017

    I modified the new one to be more like the old one and I think I am owed some money from the design team. Much prefer mine. biggrin


  • sidewinder500 27 Nov 2017

    Yeah, you're definetly right, yours looks better by a mile!
    Now work on better looking cars, exciting races and championships fought out till the last race!

  • PunterCam 27 Nov 2017

    Both F1 logos are st, so don't really care there. Apparently they've decided to go 90s with the new one - if that's what people want then fair enough. The Le Mans redesign is awful though - it's gone from a classic to utter pish.

    I don't understand how people think logos date anyway - get a good one and stick with it. Morons are going to complain anyway.

  • cmoose 27 Nov 2017

    Amazing to think of all the pitches, meetings and general body count involved in signing the new logo off and it fails a basic recognition test.

    It's an OK looking shape, but I very much doubt that the average Joe, when presented with the logo and given no info whatsoever, would recognise it as indicating F1. But then F1 is run astonishingly badly, so it's comforting this extends to the choosing of a new logo!

  • lestiq 27 Nov 2017

    PunterCam said:
    Both F1 logos are st, so don't really care there. Apparently they've decided to go 90s with the new one - if that's what people want then fair enough. The Le Mans redesign is awful though - it's gone from a classic to utter pish.

    I don't understand how people think logos date anyway - get a good one and stick with it. Morons are going to complain anyway.
    I always liked the original F1 logo thought it was pretty clever. Not a fan of the redesign, +1 to the version at the top of the comments, much better. As for the the Le mans logo, I'm still shocked, it just looks half arsed and completely underwhelming.

    We used to have design agencies with talented artists working in them, think back to all those glorious posters we used to see. Well, when every kid at uni can use adobe illustrator its no wonder that large firms have no-one to turn to for important designs professionally, nowadays all you have is freelancers with far less weight and support behind them.

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