On visceral and visual identity

Aayron logo 1

At Interlagos in Brazil today, it’s the final Grand Prix of the 2011 Formula 1 season. It’s also twenty years since the incomparable Ayrton Senna won there in front of his home crowd. If you haven’t seen it, ‘Senna’ is a film I can highly recommend, a story of life, passion and purpose. The racing’s a metaphor, only a part.

Brazil itself is a country of expression, and we are entering an age where expression’s now a part of an ever-growing universal currency of connection.

This logo, Senna’s logo, is a study in visual design, form, feeling and identity, a combination of the visual and the visceral. It matches, in many ways, the peerlessness of the man.

For brands today, the connected nature of social business raises the standards of brand expression. Because of social media, brand design has to do more than ever before in order to be functional.

Brand design to work in more compact spaces. It has to express values and a sense of culture and personality that reach out. It has to evoke engagement as well as recognition and it has to be capable of being differentiated and distinctive.

Most of all, social brand design has to move people, to jump off the screen and be the beginning of a narrative and a journey of association.

This logo is an example of a balanced blend of identification and communication, graphically arresting and also compact. It is technically focused, informative and articulate.

What sets it apart as a logo is that captures a unique personality, the restlessness of a quest, one person’s dynamic energy that people loved and associated with him so much, alongside the cool technical design of his focus, that captured the imagination, hearts and minds of millions of sports fans along the way.

The red swoosh of the track-fashioned ‘S’ is, quite literally, a masterstroke. It’s partially incompleted and full of energy, like him.  A racing logo simply reinforced by the less-is-more lettering with just the right amount of typographical flair.

The design is an articulation of the values and personality as well as a graphic shape and form. The personality chimes with the person it is a shorthand for – immediately recognisable, confident and authoritative.

As an identity it speaks for and carries the spirit of Senna and his legacy long after the moment. As a logo it reconnects people to the excitement he created on the track.

As with any legend, in death Senna’s magic lives on while many day-to-day brands are barely pulsating.

Combining the visual and the visceral on every level, the identity of the collective, connected brand makes a difference.

  • Stephen Cribbett

    I think that if you talk about the ‘moments’ that connect and bind people then you can almost consider Senna’s entire life as one such moment. Having watched the film for the second time last night (and weeped again I hasten to add), the single-mindedness of the man, combined with his passion for his people, is something brands can learn from.

    In terms of pure design, for this identity to be placed on one of the great motorbikes of all time – the Ducati 916 – and to upstage it tells you a lot about its presence.