A brand logo is a very important element in a company’s identity, more so if the company has global coverage. While the first design may sometimes be rushed when the company is founded, more thought usually goes into the design and what it means as the years go by. In the car industry, brand logos have evolved constantly but, in most cases, the original image is retained. The change usually comes during a new era in the business environment or in the company’s direction.
At the 2019 IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany this week, the Volkswagen brand unveils its new logo and a new brand design. This world premiere marks the start of a new era for Volkswagen, accompanied by the presentation of the full-electric ID.3 at the same time. Volkswagen’s future is electric, fully connected and has a neutral carbon balance.
More modern and more authentic
With its new brand design, VW has created a uniform global 360° brand experience which is ‘more modern and more authentic’. The new Volkswagen logo with its flat two-dimensional design is clearer and has been reduced to its essential elements. The brand design and the logo aim for high flexibility and are intended for digital applications. It will apply to Volkswagen Passenger Cars and also Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
“The new brand design marks the start of the new era for Volkswagen,” said Jurgen Stackmann, Member of the Brand Board of Management responsible for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales. “By formulating new content and with new products, the brand is undergoing a fundamental transformation towards a future with a neutral emission balance for everyone. Now is the right time to make the new attitude of our brand visible to the outside world.”
One of the world’s largest rebranding campaigns
The realignment of Volkswagen’s brand design is said to be one of the world’s largest rebranding campaigns, with the changeover to the new design due to be completed by mid-2020. The strategic foundations for the new brand design were not done by external agencies but by a joint team of Volkswagen Design and Marketing. The design was implemented with the full integration of all departments of the company in the record time of 9 months using a powerhouse concept developed by Volkswagen especially for this purpose. A total of 19 internal teams and 17 external agencies were involved in the project.
Volkswagen’s Chief Designer Klaus Bischoff played a key role in the development of the new corporate identity. “In the new brand design, we have created an authentic communications platform for the emotional presentation of e-mobility. We are showing the Volkswagen of the future under the motto of “digital first” and “no filter”.
The symbol and trademark will be the new logo which is more modern, clearer and simpler. The logo is reduced to its essential elements and presented with a new design that is flat and two-dimensional. It will allow more flexible use and will be outstandingly recognizable in digital media. To date, the logo has been blue and white. A new blue tone is now being added, allowing additional colour variants. As the digital application with simple, user-friendly interfaces has become extremely important, the logo will be positioned flexibly with the new ‘moving frame’ in the future.
Focus on people in visual language
The new visual language of the brand will be very different from that presented by Volkswagen to date – it will be bolder and more colourful. The focus will be on people. Volkswagen will no longer concentrate on perfectionism in vehicle photography. In future, the main objective will be to present realistic situations that customers can identify with.
As in the case of the vehicle, light will also play a key role in communications. Light is the new chromium. In future, the logo will be illuminated, on the vehicle, at the brand locations and at the dealerships.
Instead of a brand claim, Volkswagen will have a sound logo for the first time. This will make also make the Volkswagen brand distinctive in acoustic terms, both in the vehicle and in communications. For several decades, Volkswagen has used a male voice to present its vehicles and for advertising purposes. The brand is now to become female. For almost all markets, a woman with a warm, pleasant and confident voice will speak for Volkswagen.
70,000 logos to be changed worldwide
The international roll-out of the new brand design starts at the motorshow with outlets and facilities in Europe being the first to change during September, followed by China in October. North and South American markets will follow from the beginning of 2020 along with all other markets. The exercise is expected to be completed by the middle of next year. In total, about 70,000 logos in 171 markets in 154 countries will be replaced. In general, the cost to dealers will be kept as low as possible. In architectural terms, there will be no change to the interior of the dealerships.