Defining a dynamic identity for an ambitious self-driving car business
An innovator in autonomous vehicle technologies, Cruise is on a bold mission to drive life in cities forward through all-electric, self-driving rideshare services — a mission backed by auto giants GM and Honda, and financial powerhouses including Softbank and T. Rowe Price.
We partnered with Cruise in the creation of a brand that embodies their ambition to fundamentally transform urban mobility — and, in doing so, improve the quality of life in cities.
Of the city, for the city.
It's no longer news: urban environments are being increasingly degraded by our mass reliance on cars. Cruise aims to reverse this alarming trajectory by offering citydwellers an entirely new mode of transportation —zero-emissions, self-driving, affordable, and reliable.
Our challenge was to craft a brand identity for Cruise that represented the extraordinary nature of this civic and technological endeavor. From the outset, we drew inspiration from the sculpted forms of the built environment and the approachable vernacular of civic design. Our exploration spanned materials and mediums, including motion, 3D renders, physical models, prototypes, and more.
Built to adapt and endure
The city by the bay. A hotspot of technology disruption. There's no wonder Cruise calls San Francisco home — for now. While the city's busy, complicated streets present nearly ideal testing grounds for a self-driving service, the pressing need for a new mobility solution exists in urban centers near and far.
Designing for scalability, then, was essential. We set out to create an identity system that could mirror the vibrancy of its city of origin and adapt across geographies and contexts. The Cruise palette reflects this, anchored primarily in Presidio orange, for an unmistakably San Francisco hue, and Asphalt blue, for the color of the urban road. Looking ahead to a multisensory, multimodal future, we crafted the Cruise symbol to be a living asset, responsive to a diverse range of users, data, and inputs, such as light and sound.
Inspiring San Franciscans to welcome self-drive
Of the myriad challenges facing Cruise on its journey towards launch, a non-technical one emerged as particularly daunting: inspiring San Franciscans to welcome a self-driving future.
Awareness-building called for a scalable brand system — one that could thrive across a variety of touchpoints, including the most critical: the vehicles themselves. We partnered with the Cruise team to design car livery that brought the vibrant new identity to life on the streets of San Francisco, toolkits to make a splash in events and on social media, as well as signage, swag, and internal assets to build the brand from within the Cruise HQ.
“We have an identity that reflects who we are as a business and our aspirations for the future. An open and uplifting identity that is sculpted — built like the physical environment we operate in.”
-Tom Raith, Director of Brand Design Cruise