“New Volkswagenin the third dimension


“New Volkswagenin the third dimension

Reduced 2D logo, innovative, flexible frames and progressive brand imagery – the dawn of a new era at Volkswagen. But what does this mean for you at the dealership or at a Volkswagen event? We demonstrate how the new Volkswagen brand appearance works in the space.

The perfect world of advertising belongs to the past; with the new brand design, the brand is expressing the Volkswagen attitude: human, open, inviting, transparent, responsible and authentic. With this guideline, old ways of thinking were shattered during the development of the new Volkswagen space concept. The concept of sterile stages that showcase the vehicle as the pinnacle of technological achievement has been fundamentally reassessed. As part of the new brand appearance, the focus will fall even more heavily on the individual, with the vehicle as a reliable companion – and it is precisely this that will be tangible to all wherever people come into contact with the Volkswagen brand.

In the future, Volkswagen spaces will be influenced by a formal and colour vocabulary that is extremely dynamically progressive and colourful. It is practically derived from the new imagery of the “New Brand Design”. However, these spaces are also characterised by straightforwardness and a timeless look in terms of form. Bauhaus architecture serves as inspiration here. It has succeeded in always allowing spaces to appear timelessly modern. Spaces at Volkswagen are described as “Vibrant Spaces” within the context of the “New Brand Design”. They should endure over the medium and long term and inspire for years.    

Boost dealership with new values

Many operating areas in sales and design at Volkswagen were involved in the development process for the new brand appearance – this includes Daniel Gottweis, architect and Volkswagen project manager for the implementation of the “New Brand Design” in the existing retail and service organisation. “We considered how we could transfer the theme ‘New Brand Design’ into the space. The transformation had to be economical, sustainable and effective. Our goal was also to develop a scalable, flexible and modular system. One that is integrated into the existing structures,” explains Gottweis.

A casual atmosphere on a level playing field

So as to create a new atmosphere within the context of the new brand appearance, the space structure was completely reconsidered: the giant welcome bar can make way for one or several mobile touchpoints. At these standing tables made of existing furniture modules, Volkswagen customers can be greeted by an employee with tablet as early as the welcome area. “Encounters therefore take place on a level playing field. The customer registers online at Volkswagen and arranges an appointment with the generated Volkswagen ID. Using the Volkswagen ID, the service employee or sales advisor can then ascertain the customer’s wishes and accompany them on their tour of the dealership,” explains Gottweis. The central highlight area extends behind this. This should showcase the latest Volkswagen model separately. An LED light strip – derived from the Moving Frame – encloses the area. A special floor surface in a concrete design with surrounding line of light serves as a visual boundary, as well as acting to showcase the vehicle. A highlight frame in the form of space-separating furniture elements is fitted with large-scale, backlit image motifs. These support the message regarding the respective vehicle. A digital vehicle information display completes the highlight area – here, digital product information and small, product-related films are provided.

The flexible frame

The flexible frame is derived from the vehicle’s architecture. The ID.3 has a striking LED light band on the front spoiler, into which the Volkswagen logo is also integrated. “This now serves as a stylistic device to support the logo in other contexts, too,” explains Jochen Sengpiehl, who, as chief marketing officer, holds global responsibility for the completely new brand appearance. This design element, which may also be a line, is repeated throughout the brand communication both with and without logo – be it on packaging, posters, the completely redesigned website or on the ceiling of the dealership. “It is one of the brand’s most important design elements and will be used as often as possible.”

Atmosphere and digitisation in the dealership

“People take priority” and “digital first” – in the dealership, the guest should feel at ease and spend a little time there. Here, Gottweis points to the various seating options and integration of a cafeteria. “With elongated, upholstered seating groups in light blue, dark blue and grey tones, the main Volkswagen colours are also picked up in the furnishings. Furthermore, we also wanted to generate the idea of ‘hospitality’ with a cafe set-up. Guests should make themselves at home in the dealership. In alcove-like seating groups, they can withdraw to conduct additional discussions in a discreet setting.”

An additional standing-table module with turntable can be integrated into the highlight area. The tablet can be inserted into this rotatable support and turned in all directions so that all participants can be involved in the process at all times. Gottweis points out a larger monitor integrated into the highlight frame: “The tablet can be coupled to the screen so that the desired vehicle can be examined digitally in the detail view. The guests receive information about, for example, equipment highlights or colours and materials.”

Bold and colourful imagery

Alongside the monitor, a large graphic shows the new imagery for the respective product group. It is also an integral component of the space. Indirect lighting strengthens the new colour palette at Volkswagen and makes the motifs, whose focus is the individual with all their emotions, more vibrant: an ID. CROZZ stands in front of a building. In the foreground, the electric vehicle is partially covered by a pine tree. This also casts a diffuse shadow across the bonnet ... Children frolic on the back seat of an ID. BUZZ – these are just two of the motifs that symbolically represent the new brand appearance. “The brand imagery differs greatly from that with which Volkswagen has presented itself until now. Perfectly illuminated cars in an artificial setting surrounded by people belong to the past. The appearance in future will be bolder and more colourful. Surprising perspectives and powerful, unobtrusive image compositions provide a completely new impression of the Volkswagen brand,” explains Sengpiehl. The images show people interacting naturally with the vehicles. They are the focus of events and the respective Volkswagen model becomes their reliable companion. Emotion, humour and lust for life are thus conveyed more strongly. “These emotions can also be transferred to the space. Colourful lighting elements in the dealership can be reflected in the surfaces of the display vehicles,” adds Gottweis.

We focus on the individual and their day-to-day life. This also results in completely new imagery.
Jochen Sengpiehl

The event space as a point of contact

But it isn’t just in the dealership that those interested in Volkswagen will get an impression of the brand. Trade fairs also offer the opportunity to bring vehicles and people together in a very particular way. For this “Vibrant Space” of Volkswagen’s, a unique space concept was developed within the context of the “New Brand Design”. Daniel Kniess, architect and head of the event support department, and Moritz Linde-Boldt, architect and head of the operational level for the “New Brand Design” within the space, were entrusted with this task. “The vehicles, the architecture and the formal vocabulary have to provide a coherent image and cannot compete with one another,” observes Daniel Kniess.

Innovative design elements for a new brand experience

On this basis, the team around the two architects developed a straightforward formal vocabulary. They combined this with progressive colour and lighting to offer the guest a completely new impression of the brand. Moritz Linde-Boldt points to the various elements, such as the floating, right-angled ceiling elements, transparent panes in new colours and the bright “Moving Frame” with floating illuminated logo. They combine to form a new brand experience within the space: “The ‘Vibrant Sky’ matches the surroundings in terms of colour depending on the vehicle and theme. The ‘Vibrant Walls’ facilitate a natural transparency. And we were even able to render the ‘Moving Frame’, including new logo, in the space in unprecedented ways.” Kniess joins in here: “We have a logo that offers a view, is transparent and beams as its own body of light across the event.”

We have reduced the Volkswagen logo to the essentials. From now on, it will appear more modern, clearer and simpler.
Jochen Sengpiehl

The logo as the most important link

The most important brand symbol was fundamentally redesigned: it comprises two delicate letters surrounded by a fine circle. “We have reduced the Volkswagen logo to the essentials. It is flat, open, high in contrast and can be perceived clearly; it is simple and flexible to implement and has excellent recognition value in digital media,” explains Jochen Sengpiehl. The new version is reminiscent of logo designs from the 1950s and 1960s, when the Beetle became an icon and Volkswagen made new mobility technologies accessible to many people for the first time. Now, another change is taking place. The next milestone towards electric mobility and digitisation. A central novelty is also the fact that the “W” now floats.

A new sound that sticks around

There will also be a few changes in terms of sound: in future, Volkswagen films, for example, will end with a brief, striking sound sequence. Here, Sengpiehl refers to the new sound logo: “It has huge recognition value. We use it in the vehicle itself – it should greet the driver when they open the door. But it also appears in other contexts, such as promotional films or as a sound experience at trade fair events.”

Several generations of male speakers have described the innovative technological spirit with their voices – a tradition with which Volkswagen is now breaking. As a special novelty, Volkswagen will in future appear consistently with a female voice. Actress and voice artist Luise Helm will take on the role. “She has a warm, likeable and self-confident voice. We think she suits us outstandingly well,” says Jochen Sengpiehl.

The fundamental changes at Volkswagen are now tangible. Moritz Linde-Boldt sums up as follows: “We have succeeded in transferring the theme of ‘Vibrant Power’ from imagery into the space, as well as creating a ‘Vibrant Space’.” Dealerships are now switching over to the “New Brand Design” successively. Daniel Gottweis is confident that the innovations will be adopted by retail: “Selected German retailers, importers from all over the world, network managers and architects were here with us and we presented them with our space concept – and we received thoroughly positive feedback. You can tell that the time for change has come.” In the “New Brand Design”, Jochen Sengpiehl also sees a fundamental change in the company: “The brand is currently changing very rapidly. In 2025, the transformation should be complete. Volkswagen has already reached an important milestone on its path there with the new brand appearance.”

/ December 2019

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