May the best type win
Not to kick a man when he’s down, but Toyota may want to recall its communication design while it’s reworking its pedals. Just four years ago, while conducting competitive audits for Chevrolet at a previous job, Toyota was setting a good example of consistency and quality in its visual communications, with typefaces limited to overarching branding and one augmenting it’s “Moving Forward” campaign. Red was it’s clear brand color and everything evoked the core tenants of their products: reliable and safe.
At GM and Chevrolet the brand communications reflected the state of the organizations: fiefdoms with a lack of perspective and inspiration. The noble effort to organize and centralize branded communications reflected an edict to pull things together. Even pre-recession GM brands showed improvement due to new industrial design standards for each brand in the GM portfolio.We synthesized Chevy’s communications to a single customized typeface, Klavika, and a few strict base elements which have lead to a strong, global unity. With the now necessary fat-trimming, GM could start to look like a nimble and relevant brand some day, and certainly Chevrolet appears to be taking the bold action inferred by its brand, communications, and design.
In recent years Toyota’s communications have exposed its growing pains. A mess of typefaces, a lack of vehicle design perspective and forgetting their color—the strongest red on their website indicates recall info—leaves them looking just as harried as Mr. Toyoda in front of congress. Moving Forward, for Toyota today, means good old bootstrapping, and we’ll see it not just under the hood but on the screen and on paper.