If you are embedded in the various design communities across the interwebs, you likely possess a high awareness that the beloved Formula 1 logo has been updated, much to the initial dismay of many designers. For context, the previous iteration of the Formula 1 logo was designed by Carter Wong and had been in usage since 1994. Part of its popular appeal was its clever use of negative space, which seems to scratch the aesthetic itch for designers.

Evolution of the Formula 1 Logo

Formula 1 Logo (1950-1986)

  • Formula 1 Logo (1987-1993)

  • Formula 1 Logo (1994-2017) Carter Wong

  • Formula 1 Logo (2017- ), Wieden + Kennedy

  • The rumbling and grumbling began in late November when it was revealed that Formula One had applied for three trademark registrations with the European Union Intellectual Property. Based on three scant black and white concepts and no context, conclusions were drawn, sides were taken, and the fires of debate were kindled.

    The updated logo, designed by Wieden + Kennedy (London), was introduced at the Abu Dabhi Grand Prix, being the final race of the 2017 season.

    The new logo system also makes use of three custom typefaces, F1 Regular, F1 Turbo and F1 Torque, which bring a retro racing feel to the forefront.

    Chris Do of The Futur provided an in-depth overview of the creative brief that specified the reasons for the update, as well as responses from Carter Wong Design and Wieden + Kennedy.

    Ian Paget of Logo Geek fame shared the following development shots. This partial list of concept sketches reveals the depth of process exploration that preceded the end result.

    Perhaps Michael Bierut of Pentagram summed it up best

    “Evaluating a brand new logo at first glance is like judging a diving competition, when in fact it’s a swimming competition.”

    The value of an identity surfaces in the system of the overall branding mechanism, and as such, is a long-term commitment, not a short-term exercise in cosmetic changes. The updated Formula 1 logo is poised to carry the sport into the future of media-centric applications. Will it ultimately be considered a success or failure? Only time will tell.

    About Robert W Williams

    Robert is a Brand Alchemist specializing in archetypal analysis and strategy. When he's not blogging for Special Modern Design & Logos With Soul he works his magic at intj.design.