First built in 1898 by Louis Renault, in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris, Renault is a storied auto brand now owned by Groupe Renault, who also manage the Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors brands. The flagship Renault brand operates in 128 countries with a range of nearly 30 models and owns a 37% share of the electric vehicle sales in Europe. With the release of Renault’s new Espace model — endorsed by Francis Underwood — the company introduced a new identity designed in-house by its Corporate Design Department.
Our latest models — Clio, Captur, New Espace, Kadjar, and Renault Sandero and Duster outside Europe — boast a new design, brimming over with life and passion. These are the two notions we’ve taken up in the “Passion for Life” tagline, which brings a bright, modern take on Renault’s historic virtues. The new tagline will be in English worldwide, consistent with Renault’s international ambitions, though we will be translating it in France, our birthplace and historic market: “Renault — La vie, avec passion”.
[The] Renault diamond has been made bolder and has been freed from the confinement of its surrounding outline. It features the same more generous, higher-status, brighter logo that adorns the front of the brand’s latest models.
The brand block has changed, as well. Although its draws its DNA from Renault’s past, it stands out as more modern and more assertive. It also features a new, specially developed typeface designed to add a distinctive touch to the brand’s communication.
The Renault yellow, which has been made brighter and warmer, is visible as a vertical strip to the logo’s right.
When I was a little kid in Mexico, my parents used to own a Renault. No idea what kind of Renault it was but it was far from fancy. I distinctly remember its diamond badge — this would be the iconic Víctor Vasarely version — and has always been one of my favorite car logos. Since I’m not a car aficionado and there are no Renaults in the U.S. I had lost track of the many (unavoidable) changes to the badge, ending in an expected 3D realistic interpretation that, to its credit, has retained the essence of the 1970s diamond.
This newest iteration though is where things start to go sour. The previous version had a nice blasted aluminum feel with hard edges and contours while the new one goes for a cheaper-looking glossy chrome finish and has softened the shapes. The lens flare on the inside right is as corny as it gets.
The previous wordmark, designed by Eric de Berranger, and corporate typography, designed by Jean-François Porchez via Publicis worldwide, was strong, sturdy, and very nicely serifed, with a great contrast of thicks and thins. I am going to go out on a limb and assume Porchez did not design this new version because it is rather disappointing. The stubby serifs left on the few letters that have them look extremely odd, the thicks and thins have some contrast but not enough but maybe they are there but yet perhaps not, and that poor “U” is so dowdy.
In application things only get worse.
The one good thing about these couple of images above might the single-color, flat version of the badge but the presentation is so underwhelming that it misses to impress. The pattern explorations are so random and all over the place graphically and conceptually — flowers! 1990s rave party! — that they almost seem like a bad joke. Perhaps in actual use, the badge looks great on the grill of a car?
Hmmmm… no, not quite.
This might be one of the saddest type specimens ever issued by a company. It does nothing to highlight the aesthetics of the typeface which, in this case, is like a really bad mash-up of Museo and Rotis Semi Serif. I may be getting heavy-handed on my distaste for this custom font, so I’ll stop now.
Whaaaat? These icons are so strange. Who parks and then leans against their car? And what’s with the tiny yellow car?
The ads are okay, I guess, specially compared to the rest of the identity. The typeface doesn’t look as annoying and the logo plays well on top of the photos but, still, there is nothing special to see here.
The logo animation is probably the best part about this whole exercise as it brings to life the badge in a flattering way and provides a raison d’etre to the yellow line. Overall though, this is a very poorly presented identity and a bland update that barely sets the brand on a lateral step forward.
Thanks to Ferdinand Hascha for the tip.