The Association of German Engineers (VDI) gets a new visual look – design diary

The Association of German Engineers (VDI) has adjusted its visual appearance. With a new brand image including a new logo, the association wants to emphasize its importance as a driving force behind the technical development.

Founded in 1865, VDI is Germany’s largest association of engineers with around 135,000 members. It’s time to renew and modernize the long known look. As part of the presentation of the new design, the change is described as the club’s largest brand relaunch since 1865.

Excerpt from the press release

“With this performance, we are setting a signal for resignation,” emphasizes Ralph Appel, CEO and Executive Member of the VDI Executive Committee. “Right from the start, we have designed our brand relaunch in a participatory way: with our honorary staff, staff from different areas and through surveys. Together, we will fill our new brand image with life and emphasize our role in society: as a driving force behind progress, as a knowledge multiplier and as a designer of the future. ”

VDI Corporate Design Visual, Source: VDI

As part of the redesign, the logo, company colors, images and style were changed. The new look is “dynamic and inspiring”, the revised word mark conveys “competence and innovative strength”, according to VDI. In addition, great emphasis was placed on the re-adjustment of the fire architecture with VDI as an umbrella for the fire family (VDI knowledge forum, VDI technology center, etc.).

VDI logo / profile picture - before and after
VDI logo / profile picture – before and after, picture source: VDI, picture montage: German

The former logo, a neutral word mark, was introduced more than twenty years ago. During the rebranding, the word mark will be supplemented with a pixel, a right angle, located to the right above the word mark. The word mark letters are closer together, so the word mark is more compact. Unlike the previous version, the letters are also slightly rounded.

For the company colors, VDI now uses an ultramarine blue, which replaces light blue as the primary color.

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Describing the previous word mark as neutral is not entirely true – it seems uninspired, unimaginative, in a word generic. During the redesign, the word mark now receives, due to the use of one YOUR-like style and an angle as an additional pixel, a technical character. In my view, what can be interpreted as a mason’s angle symbolically embodies the will for further development. This is also articulated linguistically, see “Initiators for Progress”. Background: A sign pointing to the upper right is generally considered a visual expression of a forward or upward movement.

As the sender of an association representing engineers, one might think that it is not an unsuitable logo. However, I do not find the new logo “inspiring”, but rather as distinctly objective, functional and usable, also because the design is relatively conventional. Providing the letters with roundings, but not the angles, is, in my opinion, an unjustified style break. It looks like the bracket was “flanged on” afterwards. On the other hand, I like that the angle is used as a recurring design element, as the application examples show.

The brand conveys that VDI does not appear to be a child of quiet and subtle tones. Both in sound (Walgrove, Winner), in style (RajdhaniBefore Saira Semi Condensed) as well as in the new logo, the association uses rather characteristic stylistic means of communication. Whether you like it depends on the viewer’s perspective. I do not find the design to be inappropriate or inappropriate. It has apparently been moved around to Düsseldorf that ultramarine blue is one of the trend colors.

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