Established in 1949 in Kobe, Japan, ASICS — an acronym for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” (A Sound Mind in a Sound Body) — is one of the leading sports shoe, sportswear, and sports equipment companies in the world. While there is a lot to be written as an introduction to ASICS, that pretty much covers it as it’s such a well-known brand. ASICS will begin rolling out a new global identity designed by Toronto, Canada-based Bruce Mau Design.
BMD worked closely with ASICS to explore new ways to express the brand and rethink core elements while still using its iconic Spiral logo. The studio also helped to position ASICS as a lifestyle athletic brand while still staying true to its core performance heritage.
The new identity and brand system are inspired by the joy and positivity that sports bring to all aspects of life, as well as by the galvanizing spirit of the athletes who drive the energy of ASICS. The global brand refresh redefines how contemporary design can be applied to a heritage brand to convey a cultural and emotional message to consumers.
BMD worked across all touchpoints on the project, including core packaging guidelines, graphic and photographic language, a footwear style guide, a brand book, and a custom typeface developed in collaboration with Kontrapunkt.
Without having a visual to assess how the old identity looked, it’s impossible to do a comparison but if we took their website and Instagram account as being representative of it, then it’s possible to surmise that it wasn’t the greatest nor the most inspiring. The new identity keeps the ASICS logo as is but pumps a new vibrant color palette through it — and I mean “vibrant” as in the colors are bright, not necessarily that they bring a sense of energy into my life since this hue and brightness choice is so common.
The most defining new element in the identity is a custom type family with an extra wide structure. I love me a good extended sans serif and this one is nice and all but I’m not convinced it’s the right aesthetic for an athletics company. There is something… plodding about it and the way it’s being applied.
Perhaps it’s because these are all renders and proof-of-concept rather than fully fledged applications but there is a lack of cohesiveness or a clear connecting thread that makes it exciting. Yes, there is the recurring extended font, but I don’t think it’s distinctive enough to carry the weight of the brand in a similar way that, say, Audi’s own extended sans serif does for that brand; obviously, Audi has been at it longer so it remains to be seen if my critique has any merits in five years. There are some interesting things here and there — the magazine image looks cool — but, overall, I definitely feel like I’m left wanting something more out of all this.