Rodolfo Foitinho

17 Jun, 2018

The new Formula 1 identity comes in a year of change for the sports world as it hopes to bring the old fans close and engage with the new global fan base.


It’s been less than six months since Formula 1 introduced a new identity design by Wieden + Kennedy London. We’ve witnessed something amazing which has happened countless of times before to all new designs, in particular, to their new identities/ logos. 

It’s a kind of a court trial that happens whenever a brand changes its identity. People rush online to write about how outraged they are and how most certainly they could've done much better. They're just reacting to a new identity that is a few days old and didn't live long enough to build a significant meaning (equity) to its design and form.


Being a Formula 1 fan and a Brand Designer brings, in this particular case, my two favorite worlds together; automobiles and branding. The old logo that was designed in 1987 by Carter Wong and implemented in 1993 was one of the most recognizable logos of all time. I still remember, admiring its shape and clever negative space “flying 1” at such a young age. I recall constantly drawing the, now old, Formula 1 logo when I was just 10 years old - an act that subconsciously connected me with this mark, where my memories of it got built overtime; from the first race I watched on television with my family, to the first time I heard the roaring cars shoot by right in front of me among the electrified cheering crowds. What pleasure!


This is getting emotional now… back to branding.


This is precisely why logos and brands are so close to us. 

We connect primarily with the product and then with the experience so deeply that all moments we share with brands form an unbroken link between us. Semiotics, is the scientific domain that explains these sign systems. All brand encounters, called 

signs, contribute to a tangible value that is built into our minds.


If you ask everyone, what is their take on the new logo, they’ll reply instinctively based on their feelings, and not necessarily on how the logo looks or the fact that Formula 1 wanted to establish a new and modern soul to the sport. The new season has started and I can see more and more comments praising the brave logo change such as, “the logo is growing on me” as people get more used to 

seeing it in action.


Renowned designer, Paula Scher, once mentioned in a talk that I had attended a few years back words that resonated with me. She said that, “Identity = Form + Applications x Audience + Time.” This equation in fact gives us the solution to most branding problems.


The reactions on the new Formula 1 logo are therefore, expected and it will take a while to build the equity, but identity design will always depend on time to be effective. Change is inevitable in life and likewise, in identities. The times ask for it. Formula 1 will never be the same and as much as it’s nerve racking for a huge fan like me, I do believe that this change is a way forward for the brand.



Rodolfo Foitinho

Brand Designer, Abjad Design

June 17, 2018


Images Courtesy of Formula 1


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