• Reframing a racing championship for an electrifying future


Challenge

The brainchild of Formula 1 supremo Alejandro Agag and John Todt, FIA Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric, single seater racing championship. Developed as a means of accelerating the transition to sustainable mobility, its inception was splitting opinions across the racing world and beyond. Formula E engaged Prophet to creatively reframe the series, requiring a more relevant and distinctive proposition and visual identity to help widen the sport’s fan base and distance this progressive world player in the electric revolution from traditional motor racing.

Solution

The answer was to stop trying to compete with Formula 1 and move the goal posts completely. By conducting extensive primary research, and specifically talking to fans, we honed-in on the single big idea to make Formula E distinct and famous: electric street racing. “It was about taking a perceived shortcoming – the lack of noise and lower speeds – and turning it into a differentiator: being able to race in the heart of a city!” said Greg Handrick, partner at Prophet. “It’s bold, innovative, and highlights boundary-pushing electric performance in a way that better connects emotionally with mainstream and younger audiences who are attracted by this new, gritty form of motorsport and digital interactivity of the race.”

We then translated the spirit of the evolved Formula E brand into a more contemporary visual identity. Inspired by urban visual cultures – fly posters, street signs, road markings – we dramatized this gritty edginess by layering elements within the identity to create interruption, dynamism and energy, whilst a refreshed colour palette moved away from the dated and expected toward one imbued with confidence and the power of electricity.

Results

This identity was the winner of two Transform Europe awards and recognised within the Creative Review Annual as one of the best brand identities.

Beyond the clear positioning, smarter and sharper visuals and modernised logo, the award-winning new brand shed any outdated perceptions and helped Formula E to tell its story –  what Formula E is and what it stands for – in a distinct and exciting way.

Not only has the more compelling proposition drawn new spectators, but it’s also attracted leading car brands to join the series, including BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, as well as iconic cities such as Hong Kong, New York and Rome, with more hotly anticipated in the coming year. With such established companies committing to the Championship, in the future city street racing won’t be perceived as a curiosity sport but a mainstream spectacle.

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