Toyota has unveiled a new logo and visual identity for its Europe division, which looks to oversee the car company’s journey into a “more progressive brand”.
The identity – designed by international consultancy The&Partnership – will be used across all internal and external brand communications. The&Partnership’s European design team is behind the work, which includes a redesigned logo, colour palette and typeface.
The&Partnership head of design Dan Beckett tells Design Week that the previous identity – not changed since 2009 – was beginning to feel “tired”. It needed to be more “premium”, “forward-facing” and better adapted to mobile platforms, he adds.
“A more progressive brand”
The aim of the refresh was to “build Toyota’s image as a more progressive brand” as well as “guaranteeing longevity in a digital world”. The communications had to match that ambition, according to The&Partnership. The design work started in July 2019.
It also comes at a time of change for the Japanese car company, which is now undergoing a “rapid expansion into electrified vehicles”. At the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, U.S, Toyota announced plans for a “fully connected ecosystem” at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji.
At the centre of the new identity is the redesigned logo, which like VW, BMW and most recently Nissan, is now a flattened, two-dimensional design. This will hopefully help it transition into a more “digital” future. Beckett says that the design team considered changing the logo’s colour to red, but that the monochrome version was more in-keeping with the brand’s “premium” aesthetic.
Also notable is that the logo loses the Toyota wordmark. This is an acknowledgement of its status as one of the most recognisable brands in the world”. It also means that the branding appears “clearer” and with less visual clutter.
Preparing Toyota for the years to come
There is also a bespoke typeface for the identity, Toyota Type. The sans serif font “enhances clarity and consistency” across the brand’s communications. It was originally created by the company’s North American division, in partnership with Monotype. The&Partnership has set specific guidelines for its use, however. It’s being used in lighter weights and only in uppercase to align with the brand’s more “premium” audience in Europe.
The studio has also updated the primary colour palette, which is a “clean” and “premium” black and white colourway with a red accent which “provides a distinctive nod to Toyota”. The tagline – Always a Better Way – has been dropped in a “simplification” move, Beckett explains. There are also new “simplified” layouts, which are an attempt to add a coherence to branding.
Beckett says: “The key to this project was not to simply see it as a bringing the brand identity up to date, but preparing it for years to come. As well as re-modernising the brand we also sought to bring a more premium feeling while working hard to simplify the brand architecture and creating a design system which will be fluent across today and tomorrow’s touchpoints.
“Toyota has recently made great forward strides in its product design and we really wanted to see that reflected in the visual identity.”
The rise of the flat logo
The two-dimensional logo has swept the autombile world in the past year. In September, VW unveiled its two-dimensional logo which first appeared on its electric range of vehicles. BMW revealed a similarly flat logo earlier this year, and had to clarify that it will be used only for brand communications at the moment. Last week, Nissan revealed its redesigned logo which followed suit. It will appear on vehicles and communications.
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