Hyundai rebrand affirms manufacturer’s lifestyle focus
The modern automotive industry is fast evolving into a new environment. With operating margins at a 10-year high, and global industry sales recorded at 88 million last year – up 4.8% from the previous year – it is seemingly a market bouncing back from a decade-long lull. Yet as credit-driven purchases stymie age-old automotive marketing traditions, strong brands are even more of a symptom of success in today’s highly volatile automotive marketplace.
For South Korean manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Company, cultivating a strong brand position has formed a central part of the company since its 1960s origins. Today, the company operates in 193 countries, with approximately 5,000 global branches and a workforce surpassing 100,000. Yet its latest rebrand aims to do away with old inconsistencies, achieving a more ‘ownable’ asset portfolio and a design gravitas that speaks to Hyundai’s current position as the third largest vehicle manufacturer in the world.
The new visual identity, created in collaboration with global design agency, Creative Works, came after Hyundai announced an 18-month global brand relaunch, geared at streamlining the brand identity across numerous digital touchpoints. Keeping in line with the previous shape and design of its logo, the new logo departs from the chrome-surface of old, welcoming a blue colour palette that keeps the simplistic sans-serif of the previous wordmark. Yet its newest portfolio welcomes quotidian photography that appeals to Hyundai’s diverse customer demographic – aiding in the brand’s shift to a more lifestyle focused brand strategy.
In 2006, Hyundai appointed Thomas Bürkle as its head of design, whose work with automotive giants BMW resulted in major design developments for both BMW’s 3 Series and 6 Series models. Coining what Hyundai call ‘Fluidic Sculpture,’ Bürkle’s range of Hyundai designs strongly favours nature as a key influencer of Hyundai’s design emphasis.
“To be distinct in the competitive automotive industry we drew inspiration from our Korean roots; natural materials such as linen and wood; our values of balance, harmony, warmth; and the four elements depicted in the Korean flag – water, earth, fire and wind. They come together harmoniously to form the basis of our redefined brand assets,” says Creative Works, in a recent statement on the project.