Established in 1900 as the Mack Brothers Company in Brooklyn, NY by brothers Jack and Gus Mack, Mack Trucks is an American manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks sold across the U.S. and internationally with headquarters in Greensboro, NC. Owned by Volvo Group since 2000, Mack Trucks employs over 5,000 people at 670 sales, parts and service centers. Arguably, one of the best known truck brands — popularized further in 2006 by a 1985 Mack Super-Liner named “Mack” in Pixar’s Cars — its logo has not been updated significantly since 1932. This month, Mack introduced a new logo and identity designed by Chicago, IL-based VSA Partners.
A central element of the new brand expression is a sleeker, more modern logo, featuring the iconic Mack Bulldog symbol poised confidently above the Mack word mark, shining a light on elements that have always been core to the brand and present on the product. At the same time, the new mark is an expression of Mack’s present-day, forward-thinking approach to the heavy-duty truck industry and customer.
The bulldog symbol originated in the trenches of World War I* not only because he embodied the spirit of hard work but, like him, Mack trucks in the field were always up for the job. He was patented in 1932 as the official Mack hood ornament, where he remains virtually unchanged to this day.
* (According to Wikipedia): Mack trucks earned this nickname in 1917, during World War I, when the British government purchased the Mack AC model to supply its front lines with troops, food and equipment. British soldiers dubbed the truck the Bulldog Mack. Its pugnacious, blunt-nosed hood, coupled with its incredible durability, reminded the soldiers of the tenacious qualities of their country’s mascot, the British Bulldog.
The previous logo was fairly comical in its crude execution, from the awkwardly spotted bulldog to the nineteen-seventies-tastic italic script wordmark and Brooklyn Dodgers swoop. But you could put a logo with teddy bears and rainbows on a giant, hardcore truck and it will look bad-ass no matter what. The new logo is now a perfect match for the shapes of the trucks, the idea of trucking, and the influence of the company. The new, chiseled bulldog stands confident and strong, looking industrial (and industrious) — it’s an unexpected rendition, one that creates some odd individual shapes, but it clearly communicates a specific unflagging attitude. The new, extended typography looks great on the grill, filling up the wide space nicely, and it serves as a solid base for the bulldog.
VSA began by examining all aspects of the Mack brand ecosystem and conducting a thorough competitive and market analysis. These insights were further augmented by comprehensive in-person and online qualitative research with customers, drivers, dealer sales teams and Mack employees. The result: a new differentiating strategic position, authentic purpose and emotional persona grounded in research. Mack’s new tagline, Born Ready, captures their unshakable, bareknuckle spirit and speaks to a legacy of customer-centricity.
The application is signature VSA Partners: excellent photography, solid typography, and air-tight layouts that all help communicate an American confidence that should move trucks off the sales floor. I would have personally enjoyed something other than Helvetica for the supporting typography, but that ain’t news anymore. Overall, this is a redesign that perfectly fits the company and its audience and makes me want to get a truck to go on errands.