Rolls-Royce refreshes brand identity as it modernises for younger client demographic

From September onwards, Rolls-Royce will have a refreshed new look and brand identity to modernise the brand and resonate with a younger demographic of clients. Working with lead design agency Pentagram, the British luxury automotive manufacturer looks to reposition itself as a “House of Luxury”.

In a virtual press conference, the brand said that in recent years, Rolls-Royce has experienced change at a quicker rate than ever before.  The brand has seen a decline in average year of its patrons going from their “50s and 60s to now 43”. This is largely due to the diverse portfolio, where Rolls-Royce now has expanded to five models, each with their own distinct character, and almost every motor car created was tailored to the lifestyle requirements of its diverse patrons.

One of the most notable changes through this refreshed identity is the double 'R' representing Rolls and Royce, the marque’s founding fathers. Pentagram uncovered typography in the brand’s archives from the 1930's and used an art-deco style as the basis from which to envisage a new Wordmark – one suitable for the modern-day Rolls-Royce. The words 'Motor Cars' were then reduced in size, with the emphasis reverting to Rolls-Royce to signify the brand’s wider influence outside of the automotive industry. The wordmark has also become more refined in its appearance and special significance has been paid to the letter 'R', to provide additional stability and prominence to this important character in the Rolls-Royce script.

roll royce monogram on purple spirit background

Meanwhile, the “Spirit of Ecstasy”, which is an instantly recognisable sculpture that graces the prow of every Rolls-Royce motor cars since 1911, will now gain increased prominence in brand identity. While the sculpture that leads each motor car remains unchanged, it has been modernised for digital platforms to enable easy application on digital and on screen without a look of fragility. Moreover the figuring has been flipped to show that it is moving forward and is ahead of everyone else.

the spirit of ecstasy development

Marina Willer, partner at Pentagram said, "The use of the Spirit of Ecstasy marks a shift in the resonance of the brand – from an automotive to a lifestyle context. She commands an aspirational quality in the luxury sphere and by placing her at the centre of the visual language. The Spirit of Ecstasy can now be interpreted as the muse for the marque, in addition to the motor cars themselves."

She added that the key idea in brand strategy was to show Rolls-Royce is moving forward and is always ahead of the curve. Moreover the sculpture’s initiatial drawing was “complicated and clunky” and as such was redrawn to make it modern and easier to apply on newer platforms.

When choosing a colour palette for the new identity, Pentagram’s design team initially turned its attention to the company’s products. The desire was to seek a more expressive, luxurious colour palette, one appealing to both male and female clients and with a future vision. As such Pentagram was drawn to purple hues, specifically those with a deep and majestic tone. Historically rare in nature and with roots in mythology, art, piety and royalty, purple has always signified wealth and power. A metallic Rose Gold is chosen to complement this colour.

rolls royce wordmark example 1

This hue will be reserved for items of longevity and used only in printed form. A wider palette of expressive colours has been determined to be used alongside these primary tones. The brand declined to comment on the amount spent on refreshing the brand visuals.

A brand fit for digital

All of these changes come as Rolls-Royce eyes a younger more digitally savvy generation. Digital communications for the brand is one which has expanded enormously in recent years. Willer added the brand needed to present Rolls-Royce in a “forward-facing, fresh and relevant way - speaking to new audiences while respecting the company’s loyal clients.”

Adding on, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive, Rolls-Royce, “As the marque's digital presence increases, there has never been a more important time for the visual language of the company to reflect our standing as the leading luxury brand in the world. We have embarked on a fascinating journey of modernising our brand identity to echo those changes seen in our portfolio, our client demographic, their lifestyle and the luxury world that surrounds them."

Emma Rickett, head of lifestyle communications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars declined to comment on Marketing’s queries the marketing budget but added, “Naturally as the digital world around us continues to grow, especially within the Asia Pacific region, so must our online presence.”

As such the amount spent on digital has increased to become a major component of its marketing spend, driven also by exclusive owners only membership application, “Whispers”.

“We envisage this will further develop and increase going forward, for example increasing our presence on mobile phone platforms, exploring further avenues such as direct broadcasting, augmented reality experiences and innovative client engagement routes,” she said.

Rickett added, “Rolls-Royce remains a very client focused business that thrives on the unique personal relationships it has with its clients around the world. However, driven by digital, our client engagement continues to increase; how we keep in touch with our clients, and how we share our marque’s stories. “