How Wieden+Kennedy is speeding up its Formula 1 design work using custom software

Reducing some creative tasks from days down to mere minutes, the programme has completely changed the design process on a project requiring over 500 deliverables a year.

15 December 2020


Since Wieden+Kennedy helped rebrand Formula 1 in 2017, the agency has been working with the brand to create its look and feel across hundreds of outlets every season, ranging from social media to on-track branding. This adds up to over 500 deliverables every year, so the team recently made a big investment in order to streamline this process: by designing and building bespoke software to do some of the design work for them. The software, built from TouchDesigner with a custom user interface added, can apply a treatment, colour, texture and movement to an image or video in minutes, a sequence that would otherwise take days. It can also be used by Formula 1’s internal design teams, broadcasters and partners, applied to any of F1’s branding, to make sure the visual language is consistent around the world.

Design director Aaron Skipper explains that the software was built around the visual identity for the 2020 F1 season, allowing the whole team to quickly generate static and motion assets which fit that identity. It’s super time-efficient, saving thousands of hours of work time over the course of one season – but does it render certain creative skills or jobs redundant? “No, we still need the people and skills,” Skipper says, “but the system allows designers to make consistent executions to a high standard of craft in a fraction of the time.” Most recently the software helped create the assets for Still Rising, a campaign celebrating Lewis Hamilton’s historic seventh World Title win, applying the visual identity to everything from podium branding to billboard ads.

It’s not all about speed though (ironically). Skipper says making the software part of the design process allows the team to be very specific in treatment steps and improves the quality of their output, but at the same time gives its users “incredible flex” in terms of how the treatment is executed. “The tool ultimately removes the restrictions of a traditional process and allows us to constantly expand the design language into multiple avenues and executions – data driven visuals, live displays, interaction, AR etc,” he comments. “Stepping away from traditional ways of working has not only allowed us to create in new and exciting ways, but also collaborate and think bigger and faster than ever.”

So far the software has only been built for use in the Formula 1 branding, but Skipper says the agency is exploring ways to use it on other client projects in the near future.

GalleryWieden+Kennedy: Formula 1 branding (Copyright © Formula 1, 2020)

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Wieden+Kennedy: Formula 1 branding (Copyright © Formula 1, 2020)

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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