A unique challenge: How Ford's design team updated the Mustang Mach 1 logo for 2021
The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic vehicles ever made. It's 100-percent American muscle with design lines that are instantly recognizable even as the car evolves from generation to generation. The logo of the Mustang Mach 1 is in keeping with that theme. Generations of Americans know that branding as the model that gave them hours of pleasure behind the wheel.
When Ford decided to bring back the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year, Dave Mahoney, Ford design manager, and his team of graphic designers were tasked with modernizing the classic Mach 1 logo.
They didn't stare at photos of track days or the mountains or cityscapes or history to find inspiration for the change. They went down the hallway.
Mahoney and his team visited the designers working on the interior and exterior of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. These designers were writing a new chapter while balancing the expectations of the past with the possibilities of the future.
"From a brand standpoint, that vintage Mach 1 logo has such a classic look, there was a lot that we didn't want to lose," said Mahoney. "The unique letters, the outline – it was important to keep those features. What we did do is make it more modern, which really suits the new car."
The logo was changed to include an updated, bolder sans-serif font in order to achieve a more modern look. According to Ford, "The nod to the past comes largely in the form of the playful letter styling, which includes the easily identifiable down-sized lowercase 'h'."
"When a nameplate like a Mach 1 comes back, you need to play up the heritage, but we didn't want this to be a retro badge," said Dean Carbis, Ford chief designer. "We wanted it to be modern, while still calling back to the original. I think the team nailed it."
You can see the updated logo throughout the exterior and interior of the new car including on the hood stripe, front fenders and rear appliqué, on the strut tower brace under the hood, as well as inside on the door sills, digital instrument cluster and center stack touch screen during vehicle startup. An etched dash badge shows the new logo along with every vehicle's unique identification number.
The limited-edition 2021 Mustang Mach 1 will arrive in U.S. and Canadian Ford dealerships next spring.