Nissan has revealed its first new logo in 20 years, which looks to connect the brand’s “rich heritage” with a digital future.
The Japanese car company revealed the logo, along with a new model of electric car, at a “digital world premiere”. In a statement on its US website, the company detailed the design process and outlined the uses for the updated brand identity.
The design process
In 2017, Nissan senior vice president of global design Alfonso Albaisa began work on Nissan’s logo and brand identity. Albaisa set up a design team led by the deputy general manager of Nissan’s advanced design department Tsutomu Matsuo. The team was led by three keywords: thin, light and flexible.
A two-year design process followed. “Inspiration was drawn from breakthroughs in science, technology and connectivity – how these have brought fundamental changes to customers,” Albaisa says. “As you can imagine, visions of digitalisation started swirling in our heads.”
Part of the design challenge was taking variables of different vehicles into account. The logo is to be illuminated on electric vehicles, for example. This meant the team had to work out the thickness of the logo’s outline “to ensure a crisp impression when lit” as well as considering government regulations for cars’ illuminated features. The logo also needed to make a “strong impression when not illuminated” like when it is used on more traditional formats like paper.
The company is detailed about the design process: the logo design started in 3D and was then developed in 2D. The illuminated badge was created first and the lit-up area was then used to create the 2D form of the badge.
“More designed than manufactured”
The previous logo was inspired by Nissan founder Yoshisuke Aikawa’s mantra: ‘if you have a strong belief, it penetrates even the sun’. The logo’s circular design featured a horizontal plate with the company’s name. Nissan says that it was a priority to retain this belief, and so the new logo’s core elements are familiar.
The result is a flat design update, in line with BMW’s hotly-debated new logo and Volkswagen’s updated design from last year. And like Volkswagen, Nissan also announced the design update with the reveal of an electric vehicle. The Ariya is the company’s “first all-electric crossover SUV”.
On the Ariya range, the new logo will be lit by 20 LEDs, which is a nod to the number of years between logo redesigns. Nissan has confirmed that the new logo will be used on other vehicles in the coming years as the “new chapter of Nissan evolves”.
Nissan calls the new two-dimensional look “more designed than manufactured” and claims it has “the flexibility to live in multiple worlds”. It hopes that the redesign takes the identity from a “hard-edged, industrial feel to a refined, familiar and digital-friendly look”. It says that the new logo symbolises “the company’s dedication to keep innovating for new generations of customers”.
The new logo rolls out from July, in both digital and physical platforms. It will first appear on the new electric vehicles, followed by a wider roll-out. The company lists letterheads, dealership signs, social media and digital advertising among these. It is hoped that the four iterations of the logo will be able to flex across all these uses.
One aspect of this will be for digital communications, where the logo can “reflect today’s ever-changing environment” by using different backgrounds. In a promotional video for the launch entitled A New Day for Nissan, the new logo appears in a variety of natural settings, from cherry blossoms to crystalline formations.
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