Kia Rising, 2021

The new Kia logo is the highly focused visual expression of the brand identity. With the distinctive and unmistakable new design, we reflect the brand’s evolving attitude: Kia is the youthful and agile challenger that inspires. “For quite some time I’ve been dreaming of redefining KIA, give it a new identity in order to transform the brand into the future”, says Peter Schreyer, CDO of Hyundai Motor Group.

Liberation from the oval

Kia means “personal aspiration” in Korean. That’s why we made the brand’s personality and aspiration visible when designing the new look. We liberated the lettering from the oval that so many other brands such as Hyundai, Ford, Subaru and Land Rover also have around their logo. Although the oval is considered easy to apply to the vehicle, it lacked the differentiation in appearance that we see as a parallel to the individuality of the Kia brand. The lettering of the new logo should come as if from a pen, a personal signature of the brand. Consisting of one stroke, it symbolizes the character of the Korean brand. Schreyer: “The new CI does not just show a new emblem, it’s a signature. Three brush strokes and a small accent to define the K. When developing a project together with Blackspace you always feel this fantastic common spirit. This is how perfection is made.”

Eum and Yang

In order to design a corporate identity, one must first understand the brand and its origins. If you immerse yourself in the culture, the balance between eum and yang, the complementing of opposites, quickly becomes clear. The South Korean flag perfectly reflects this relationship. That’s why the lettering is equally symmetrical and slanted upward to make the individuality and aspiration of the Kia brand visible. In this way, the lettering becomes more of a pictorial symbol, and that helps later when the logo needs to rotate on a rim.

“It’s not just about designing the best logo anymore”

Nowadays, a logo must not only work in print, but above all digitally, as an app, in a film, at the dealership and also in various applications in the vehicle. The goal was to ensure that all 64 applications we found would also work in real life – without a change in the quality of the look and feel. Here, we worked closely with CCO Luc Donckerwolke, who engaged in dialogue with us with unparalleled creativity and precision, as well as assertiveness.

“What I appreciate about Blackspace is the determination to achieve the best result. Today, it’s not just about designing the best logo, but making it functional through all applications while maintaining quality,” says the Belgian-born designer. “This includes being involved in the implementation process, embedding economic aspects, as well as communicating the sense of purpose to employees and the public. It’s always a ‘we’ and that’s why something unique always emerges, because it’s born out of the DNA of the company. Every time I visit Blackspace, I’m learning more. There’s an opportunity to expand each other’s horizon, not only as designers, but to give and receive new ways of thinking.”

And that’s what a corporate identity is all about. You’re not hired for a logo, you’re invited to have an exchange with a brand. That only works if you pull together with all departments, and for that, in turn, you need a sense of purpose for the new logo. This needs to be communicated at all times.

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