The current Nissan logo has been around for 20 years. In that time, it has served the Japanese carmaker as an identity, a business card, a handshake and the first greeting between a customer and the driving excitement of his/her Nissan vehicle. For decades, Nissan’s logo has stayed true to a belief held by its founder Yoshisuke Aikawa, “Shisei tenjitsu o tsuranuku” which he interpreted to mean, “If you have a strong belief, it penetrates even the sun”.
The passing of time also signals the change in habits and trends. In today’s world of conveniences, consumers have ready access to knowledge and digital interaction from the internet. Our lives have become as digital as they are physical. Hence, a brand needs to have effective touchpoints in both realms to carry an impact.
The re-imagination of the Nissan’s iconic logo is one of the company’s ways of keeping up with the times. Nissan’s new “calling card” is reflective of the significant changes in society over the last two decades, while keeping essence of its founder’s philosophy alive.
Nissan’s new logo comes alive as it pivots to the future while staying proudly connected to its rich heritage, and tradition of innovation. The company name remains at the center of the logo, communicating an instantly recognizable brand that evokes past milestones and memories while also conveying evolution.
Designing Today For Tomorrow
In 2017, Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design, began to study potential changes to Nissan’s logo and brand identity. He began with setting up a design team to study everything from a subtle evolution to a complete reinvention. This team was led by Tsutomu Matsuo, deputy general manager of Nissan’s advanced design department. Albaisa offered him the keywords “thin, light and flexible,” and set
Matsuo and his team on their journey.
“Inspiration was drawn from breakthroughs in science, technology and connectivity. How these have brought fundamental changes to our customers,” said Albaisa. “As you can imagine, visions of digitalisation started swirling in our heads.”
Over the next two years, the team sketched and plotted several iterations, always keeping Aikawa’s directive words in mind: “be passionate, be an innovator, be a challenger.”
The team had to consider several variables, including a decision early on for the logo to be illuminated on its upcoming all-electric vehicles. This also presented challenges such as the thickness of the logo’s outline to ensure a clear impression when it is lit. Even then, the team had to ensure that it will comply with government regulations for illuminated elements on cars. The logo also needed to make a strong impression when not illuminated, such as on paper or in digital form.
The new logo needed to unequivocally stand for Nissan, and do so with impact, regardless of the medium it appears in. Thus, after countless sketches and mock-ups, the result was a logo with a two-dimensional impression. Looking more designed than manufactured, it has the flexibility to live in multiple worlds.
The process started in 3-D and then developed in 2-D. The illuminated brand badge was drafted first, pulling the illuminated area out to represent the brand in 2-D form.
The overall effect of the redesign is a transition from a hard-edged, industrial feel to a refined, familiar and digital-friendly look. It signals the evolution of Nissan as not only a traditional vehicle manufacturer to a provider of mobility and services.
“The new Nissan logo communicates our guiding message, carried over from past iterations: If you have a strong, determined belief, it can even penetrate the sun,” said Matsuo. “At Nissan, this strong belief in the power of achievement has never wavered and can be seen in our pioneering efforts in electrification, driver assistance and digital connectivity. Our logo has to convey all of this in just a glance, to show our commitment to our customers, employees and society.”
Creating An Impactful Presence
The new logo made its appearance in July 2020, in digital and physical forms. Nissan’s electric vehicles will feature an exclusive 20 LED illuminated logo, with 20 corresponding to the number of years between logo redesigns. It represents a prominent visual reminder that Nissan is driving towards an electrified future.
Subsequently, the new logo will be incorporated across mediums i.e. from stationery to dealership signs to social media and digital advertising. One of four iterations will allow the new logo to flexibly accommodate varying communication points.
Notably, in certain digital and video applications the logo will “come alive” as it shifts and pulsates against a variety of backgrounds, allowing the logo to reflect today’s ever-changing environment and the flexibility needed to remain exciting, relevant and intriguing.
The recently unveiled Ariya, Nissan’s first crossover EV, is the first vehicle to wear the new logo. As the new icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, designed to fully embody the three pillars of Intelligent Driving, Intelligent Power and Intelligent Integration, the Ariya is not only fitting, but also played a key role in the tailoring of the logo.
“The Nissan Ariya is our latest electrified vehicle, packed with advanced technology,” said Albaisa. “It’s the perfect platform for this new logo.” Future vehicles will sport the new logo as the new chapter of Nissan evolves.