Around 2008, Polaroid saw the repercussions of a smartphone world domination and stopped making instant film cameras. Soon after, it made every analogue lover panic when it also ceased production of the instant film. Then came The Impossible Project, a new company formed by a group of Polaroid lovers to produce new cameras and film based on the Polaroid, supplying a huge instant photography revival. It saved the last Polaroid factory in the Netherlands, and since then has been the only company in the world making film for vintage Polaroid cameras.
Then, in 2017, The Impossible Project bought the rights to the name Polaroid and renamed itself Polaroid Originals. Still with us? Okay. Now, the new company is coming full circle, renaming as Polaroid (and merging with the original company, which still exists – it’s like the camera version of the Sugababes). With this announcement comes a rebrand and a new camera, the Polaroid Now.
The redesigned brand identity uses the iconic colour spectrum that you’ll recognise from the original Polaroid branding. In the Polaroid Originals identity, the graphic design team, led by creative director Danny Pemberton, drew from a huge archive of Polaroid brand material to create something that paid homage to the original brand, but at the same time, drawing on nostalgia. In the new branding, led by new creative director Ignasi Tudela, the team has “reclaimed” the rainbow, existing now as a subtle five-colour bar underneath the logotype, left-aligned in the lock-up, and used in more expressive ways across the new identity. In some visuals it “drips” from the logotype, or swoops down to create a vivid platform for the cameras. And in some motion graphics, it becomes op-art patterns, a hark to its 70s roots.
Tudela says the idea behind the rebrand was to “build on the incredible heritage and beautiful design that made Polaroid a global icon. Instead of leaning on nostalgia, we wanted to take what people love about the brand and modernise it for a new audience. This meant revisiting its colours, geometric approach to compositions, and overall simplicity, with love for good typography.”
Throughout it all, the typography remains the same. Using FF Real by Erik Spiekermann, which Pemberton previously described to us as “a wonderful grotesk… full of charming little details, like the old-school double-storey ‘g’, the round points and a slightly odd ‘7’.”
“In the 70s, Polaroid changed the rules of branding with the introduction of a bold, full panel rainbow spectrum across our product lines, inspiring a host of legendary brands to this day,” says Polaroid CEO Oskar Smolokowski in a statement. “As this new decade marks a new chapter in the Polaroid story, it’s a moment for us to celebrate that heritage, while keeping our sights set on the future. The new identity for 2020 reflects this, boldly reclaiming the colour spectrum as uniquely Polaroid.”
The new Now camera is an accessible point-and-shoot with a newly developed autofocus lens, longer battery life, and a stronger flash. The design is more curved than previous Polaroids, marking a move away from the angular cases of the past, favouring a shape that’s easier to hold. And it comes in each of the brand’s five colours: red, orange, yellow, green and blue, as well as black and white models. The brand has also launched a range of colour instant film titled Colour Wave.
On the timing of the launch, Polaroid says it has considered the current context and feels right now is appropriate to bring creativity and escapism to people in isolation. It is also building an online programme of creative content and a platform for fans to share work and ideas.
GalleryPolaroid rebrand 2020
Polaroid rebrand 2020