After decades of using Futura as the official brand font (or a variant of Futura called VW Utopia), Volkswagen is stepping out of the Modern era and moving into the Digital era. The typeface was a hit since the original 1960’s ad campaign. Futura was inspired by Bauhaus principles of Form & Function and it is based on the concept of the perfect circle. It’s an incredibly strong typeface in terms of survival and relevancy. The Bauhaus was shut down by the Nazi party in the 1930s and its design principles are with us today more than ever. So the fact that Volkswagen is moving away from this typeface is a big deal. Some are responding negatively or indifferently, pointing out that the new typeface just doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
while that may be true, what I notice is that Futura (or the variant) works best in print. Maybe it’s just me, but the digitalization of the typeface just doesn’t do it justice. The new typeface (called Volkswagen Text) is decidedly digital friendly and it looks quite comfortable in a digital display. Much more so than the Futura variant (see above). When you think about that it’s easy to see the rationale. A world wide brand with the strength and reach of Volkswagen is everywhere for all eyes to see, and digital is an ever increasing part of the mix. I can think of a time when digital will out-display analog. Paper and printed products won’t go away, but there will be much less of it going forward.
Add to that the fact that more and more cars have digital displays in them, and the fact that Volkswagen is very Apple-like in the way they control their brand, and it makes even more sense that they went with a new typeface and which typeface they picked. I think it looks great BTW. Futura has its time and place and it will always be a great face. But this new face is great too.