The 2020s are shaping up to be a decade of reinvention through rebranding for the automotive industry.
In an age of electric cars, hybrid engines and the endless possibilities of technology, brands are mixing modern design infused with classic heritage nostalgia that appeals to car lovers around the world. From Vauxhall, BMW, Nissan and Rolls Royce in 2020; to Kia, Peugeot, Renault, Volvo and General Motors in 2021, and Buick in 2022, the industry is ushering in new look logos across the board.
In the spirit of reinvention, we challenged our global community of designers to reimagine the logos of the ten Formula 1 racing teams with a fresh creative twist, inspired by some of this year’s biggest graphic design trends.
Formula 1 is where we see the biggest technological and engineering innovation in motor sports. And when this is associated with the iconic brands that have become part of popular culture, you find a perfect space for experimental, playful and forward-thinking logo design trends.
Taking inspiration from this year’s retro rubber hose logo design trend, designer Glerm Rubini channels the whimsical and approachable aesthetic in his redesign of the Red Bull Racing logo. He comments, “The Red Bull brand has a tradition of exploring the use of cartoons in its communication and the idea for the logo was to make a literal illustration of a red bull in a racing environment, next to a very friendly tyre.”
The illustrated elements of the logo are complemented by typography inspired by advertisements from the early 20th century, using hand-drawn fonts and halftone textures to recreate the personable and accessible style of this trend.
Ferrari is possibly one of the most iconic brands in the world, and designer cakamura was inspired to reimagine this timeless, hero brand that has been loved by youngsters (and adults alike) through the generations. This design is created using hand-drawn typography, inspired by retro bubble design, with a youthful bright red color palette rather than the darker heritage red the brand has now transitioned to.
This year we have seen designers playing with reinventing rounded graphics and lettering styles in an extreme bubble design trend. While bubble design can often be found in products targeted at children, the exaggeration of visual elements and forms help designs feel a little more refined, while nurturing that spark of child-like delight captured in this reimagined Ferrari logo.
In 2022 designers have been pulling patterns to the forefront by using parametric geometry in their visual design. These fluid lines and three-dimensional effects create a sense of motion that is perfect for an F1 visual brand. As designer skaarj notes, “I love experimenting with parametric pattern design. It’s one of the few design styles that can produce artwork with 3D depth while using flat colors.” With its futuristic color palette and low key style, we can imagine this logo on a whole range line of team merchandise. Put us down for a t-shirt stat!
This year, experimental lettering in logo design has reached new heights, creating typography that is expressive in itself. Here, we see how Ravastra Design Std has tapped into this versatile trend when reimagining the McLaren team logo by using a custom font, describing their concept: “The idea comes from the iconic McLaren swoosh: The elegant curvature of the body of the noble Kiwi bird was the original idea of the logo. I brought it nearer to the center and used it as the curve of the R.”
You can see how letters take on new forms in this logo design, with the capitalized R mimicking the shape of the now iconic “Speedy Kiwi” from Bruce McLaren’s native New Zealand.
In a year where 90s design trends can be seen everywhere, a grunge revival has also taken hold in the design world, which can be seen in this reimagined Alpine logo. Characterized by gritty textures, this aesthetic oozes energy, as smudge marks and scribbled details create a sense of motion and almost uncontrolled motion.
Designer AdriánKG, who graduated as an industrial designer but has a passion for logo and brand design, describes how he redesigned the French team’s logo: “The concept behind the Alpine logo is based on the energetic, fast and intense feelings of the Grand Prix. The grunge revival trend provides all the aesthetic I wanted to express: the rough textures of the ground, the feeling of movement, and the racing track marks drivers left on the ground with their tyres.”
Stretched and continuous lettering is one of this year’s biggest logo design trends, captured beautifully in this AlphaTauri redesign by vuveeh™. This visual trend leverages distorted typography to push boundaries and create an infinite look and feel. Drawing the viewer’s eye to a particular place within the logo design creates visual diversity and allows creatives to emphasize elements of the brand itself: for example here, the stretched ‘P’ and ‘R’ are reflected in the forward motion and implied speed of the bull emerging from the final ‘I’ in Tauri.
As designer vuveeh™ explains, “When I think about F1, the first thing that comes to mind is speed and motion. I thought an interesting way to show speed and motion in the AlphaTauri logo was to use the iconic bull and have it morph from the “I” in Tauri. This worked beautifully to achieve that look and feel of being in motion. I knew that for such an effect to be achieved and have a logo that looks cohesive, I had to stretch the typography to fit this new layout.”
This year, creatives have revived a Y2K design trend, tapping into nostalgic styles and textures that reflect the renewed technological optimism that characterized the early 2000s. The pinks, blues and iridescent color palette in this Aston Martin redesign are reminiscent of the backs of CDs, creating a sense of innocent nostalgia that is a little kitschy in an endearing, youthful way.
Designer danoveight gives some context for their reimagined logo design: “This Aston Martin Formula One Team logo redesign is inspired by the retro futurism, Y2K design style, characterized by the gradients representing a futuristic look combined with the heritage British racing green color of Aston Martin.”
This Haas team logo redesign by arfi_▼ is filled with elements of the 90s nostalgia design trend that has proven extremely popular in 2022. At its heart, this trend is all about comfort and fun, with aesthetic references to childhood memories through bright color blocks and Memphis design patterns.
The vivid colors and simple, clean lines of this logo create a feeling of familiarity and fun that counters the overwhelming experience of the past two years. As the designer comments, “This is a logo that seeks aesthetic references from the fun of the 1990s through Memphis design patterns, bright color, abstract geometry and bold combinations, rooted in three-dimensional pattern geometry.”
One of the year’s more experimental design trends is blurred logos, as designers play with blur effects to emphasize fluidity and movement. As designer Milos Jevtovic describes, it is arguably the perfect trend for an F1 team: “I was inspired by this trend because, with this effect, I could emphasize the movement and fluidity of the logo, capturing the speed and the dynamic look at the same time. I was aiming for the logo to look fast and never-resting. The strong and symmetrical W in the middle, and the clear and modern letter mark below, pushed the illusion of movement even further.”
With Williams being the only one of the ‘Big Four’ teams that remain independently owned, there’s no brand better suited to taking a creative risk with design trends: and this blurred logo design could potentially be pushed a stage further through animation, either on the side of the track as the car passes or it travels over the rumble strips.
We end with two designs for Alfa Romeo, each capturing very different design trends from 2022. The first created by oky_wawi is a great example of how designers have been using layered elements to create classic logos with a twist. In these layered logos, color, pattern and text interrupt each other, for example here the transparent impression of the more vintage style of red typography over the word “Alfa” creates a striking and interesting visual separation of elements within the design.
The second version of the Alfa Romeo logo is inspired by the Ukiyo-e flat design trend that has proven popular with creatives world over. Designers in 2022 have taken inspiration from the pioneers of flat designs, the Ukiyo-e artists of Japan’s Edo Period.
This expansive and detailed design is reminiscent of the style of art using hand-carved woodblocks, where poses were often exaggerated with a touch of fluidity and movement (as you can see in the motion of the snake in this design).
Glerm Rubini gives additional context to their logo concept, explaining the influence the Ukiyo-e style has had on the design: “The Alfa Romeo logo brings, in a very minimalist way, several icons from the Milan region and the idea here was to illustrate them in an extremely exaggerated and fluid way, working with colors and textures as in old Japanese prints and adding some racing elements. As a final touch, at the bottom of the logo there is also a tribute to the painting “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” the most famous icon of the style.”
In a competitive world, famous car companies have survived and thrived to become some of the most iconic brands in popular culture. But with fame comes creative freedom! From retro 50s-inspired rubber hose illustration to nostalgic Y2K styles, ultra modern parametric patterns and experimental lettering, this year’s most striking visual trends come to life through these trend-forward redesigns of F1 logos.
VISTA, VISTAPRINT, 99designs, and VISTACREATE are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Cimpress group of companies. All other marks, including those of the F1 organization and respective F1 teams and sponsors are the trademarks of their respective owners. This article is being presented as a study on current design trends as reflected by hypothetical F1 team logos and Cimpress / 99designs has no affiliation, sponsorship or other relationship with the F1 organization or respective F1 teams and sponsors.
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The 2020s are shaping up to be a decade of reinvention through rebranding for the automotive industry.