Audi Unveils Major ‘Digital First’ Redesign To Stay Relevant For Next 10 Years

By Prosyscom
In March 6, 2018

Image via Audi

Last year, you read about Audi’s simplified, flattened logo to cater to today’s digital world. The move was part of an identity overhaul by the German automobile manufacturer to create a “digital first” redesign, with help from Stuttgart agency Strichpunkt and Munich agency KMS Team. This includes graphics for roll out across apps, television commercials, and advertisements.

In all, a new logo, color palette, typeface, and icon system with more than 500 symbols were introduced. At Monotype’s recent ‘Brand Day London 2018’, Strichpunkt’s Managing Partner Jochen Rädecker and Head of Development Thomas Michelbach spoke about the project and how it differed from traditional brand identity ventures.

Audi’s “four rings” are 100 years old—an iconic part of the brand with many reasons to be retained. The challenge, though, was to make Audi’s branding steady across every touch point, explained Rädecker.

He elaborated that the main goal was to prioritize digital. Subsequently, the team would look at printing methods, as well as two- and three-dimensional aspects since the “interface is becoming the brand” and touch points are getting tinier in size.

“If you wear a smartwatch there’s no space for four rings, there’s no way to use the logo in the [traditional] way, so you have to rethink branding completely,” Rädecker pointed out.

To overcome this obstacle, Strichpunkt built a flexible design based on main “building blocks”—a solution that Michelbach refers to as “atomic design.”

Atomic Design

Image via Audi

This approach—inspired by web development—breaks down the entire interface into smaller pieces, before sorting them hierarchically. These are then composed together and arranged according to the smallest and largest medium.

Unlike the traditional method where you have fixed formats, atomic design gives you small brand elements—dubbed ‘atoms’—which you fuse together to make ‘molecules’ and ultimately, a larger element.

“You can then take the same atoms and apply them to something like print advertisements or something like smartphones,” said Michelbach.

In addition to its “digital first” logo that adapts across different screen sizes, Audi introduced ‘Audi Type’, a fresh typeface specifically for digital applications, and a 500-strong icon collection. These adapt across small plus large screens, and come in various versions for utilization on both light and dark backgrounds.

Image via Audi

Image via Audi

Image via Audi

Image via Audi

Image via Audi

Open access to its online toolkit

Image via Audi

Audi has further uploaded its toolkit online so anyone can view, and download, its various components including logo and icons.

“We’re not trying to tell people what to do exactly but show them inspiring examples of how they can work with the brand,” commented Michelbach.

The toolkit offers guidelines with regards to logo placement, imagery, illustration, and creating assets such as online banners. Earlier this month, the brand updated the toolkit with an introduction its new user interface design

Image via Audi

That’s not all though. The agency has plans to launch an interactive tool on Audi’s website that will easily bring people up to speed with the brand’s identity guidelines. Rädecker explained that this medium breaks down the barrier between non-designers and the seemingly unapproachable, stiff corporate design manuals that often come in a daunting “300-page PDF.”

The interactive tool will help keen parties mock up Audi assets, whilst helping them remain in line with Audi’s main design principles.

Strichpunk has also made everything coded inside this project available on development platform Github. By leaving it open-source, anybody who wants to work with the brand can easily jump on board.

Watch its redesign video below and find out more here.

[via Mixed Sign and Creative Review, video via Strichpunkt Design, images via Audi]

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