This week BMW not only took the wraps off of a new car but also a new identity and brand strategy for MINI. While the most visible sign is a modernized (and fantastic looking logo in our opinion) logo, the evolution of the brand’s strategy and design tenets are the bigger story here.
Design, authenticity and long-term value define the new brand image, which will initially be seen in a newly-designed logo, new font and new visuals. In addition MINI is said to be exploring new approaches to communications in the launch campaign for the new Clubman.
Sebastian Mackensen, head of MINI, emphasised: “Since its creation in 1959, the MINI brand has always stood for ideas, inspiration and passion. We want to continue the MINI success story and have refined our brand strategy and refreshed the brand’s visual identity – starting with the campaign for the new MINI Clubman. We aim to make more people avid MINI fans – with a new brand identity and new offerings in the future.”
Brand strategy – Born from the Ideals to Founded Mini
The relaunch unveiled this week represents the most significant leap in brand identity since 2001, with a new corporate design effective immediately. The central idea is the combination of clear, emotionally-appealing design with a focus on the essential. The motivation of Sir Alec Issigonis, the creator of the MINI, was to build a small, economical city car that took up as little space and used as little petrol as possible. His clever solutions for optimizing space gave the original Mini its unmistakeable design; his friend, John Cooper, recognized MINI’s race car potential. The collaboration between the two created a unique dynamic between the brand’s focus on the essential and highly-emotional driving fun, and is also to thank for its iconic MINI design.
The new brand philosophy eliminates all that is not essential to make room for what matters most. This design philosophy was first seen in the MINI Superleggera concept and will be much more evident in future products. While the new Clubman moves in this direction, MINI will go much further (a la the Superleggera) with this new approach of design focus.
The new logo, new typography and new tonality are also based on the principles of clarity and authenticity – and reinterpret the brand’s DNA to allow it to shape the spirit of the times in the future.
MINI logo and font
A “flat design” 2D logo has been developed from the existing 3D logo for high recognition value: The logo stands for itself, with no imitation of material or shape. This minimalistic approach stands out visually and can be used in all sizes and formats.
The new MINI Serif font also reinforces the new brand image. It was developed from a typeface manually-set by Swiss designers used in publishing and given a modern cut. MINI Serif reflects the brand’s strong design orientation, underscores its quality and benefits from the contrast between tradition and modernity. The new MINI font is geared towards the user, easy to read and gives content the room it needs.
The New Brand Roll-Out
These things take time. Yes the new logo isn’t in the projected logo that the Clubman illuminates the ground with. And it hasn’t taken over MINI’s digital properties yet either. The new MINI corporate identity will make its first in vehicle appearance in the new Clubman within the MINI Connected app (and, most likely on Connected equipped F55/F56 models). While the new identity is prominent on the new Clubman page within MINI’s web properties we don’t expect a full MINIUSA.com refresh for months to come.
In addition to that Corporate communications won’t start using the new ID until 2016. So, aside from Clubman advertising, all current MINI logos and identity will remain through the end of 2015.
On the dealer side things are bit more complicated given the infrastructure cost of new signage. Therefore they won’t be required to change to the new CID (new signage, building colors etc) until 2018.