This year marked the first season of the FIA GT1 World Championship, a global event sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and promoted by the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO). And GT, for those as oblivious to car terms as me, stands for Gran Turismo (in Italian) or Grand Touring (in English), which are race cars that are based on standard production road cars, and conform to strict GT1 regulations. The FIA GT1 event brings together “Six iconic brands Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, Lamborghini, Maserati, Nissan” to a race that features “12 teams, 24 cars and 48 of the world’s leading drivers [competing] on 10 of the leading circuits on four continents.” London-based Interstate Associates, a firm with plenty of motor sport work experience, produced a comprehensive identity for the championship.
I have to admit that my first impression — which took all of five seconds to render — was to draw a frown. Great, just some fast-paced-looking-thing with gradients. But in the next five seconds, I smiled, as I quickly saw the “G”, “T”, and “1” come together in a single icon. Pretty great use of counterspace. The accompanying typography provides a nice, Swiss-looking balance to the otherwise bombastic icon, and it works quite well. As you strip away the layers of gradients, the logo loses most of its appeal, but this is an identity that lives on full-color liveries of cars that spare no expense and it exists for television and internet consumption — it even passes the “will it embroider?” question.
It took a few more hundreds of seconds to like the gradients, which I eventually did, after seeing the extent of the identity and how everything comes to life with a bit of help from the shading. Everything feels like it’s a car going at hundreds of miles an hour, and that’s not a bad thing in this context. I really like how the visual language extends across the flags and into the car graphics. I’m a firm believer of designing sans gradients, but applications and executions like this one show that when done well, it looks swell.