Dirty Design: Elon Musk’s Cybertruck Logo

Last night was the unveiling of the new all-electric Cybertruck from Tesla.

W o w .

People have a lot to say about this thing, and it seems to be very polarizing as far as vehicle design goes. This is not surprising since the idea is coming from Elon Musk, whose ambitions include terraforming Mars, making space tourism commercially viable, interfacing AI with the human brain, and building extensive networks of underground tunnels for high-speed travel. This vehicle should look like it came from a sci-fi movie or a dystopian future, and that is exactly what it looks like.

the cybertruck in all its polygonal glory — From tesla.com/cybertruck

All discussion about the actual vehicle aside, I was struck by the sheer irreverence of the logo, and wondered what the implications of using a logo like this would be for the design community and for future trends in logo design.

It’s Messy

In the world of logo design, especially logotypes, legibility is an important factor. You want people to be able to read your logo, right?
Well… this one is edgy. It looks like something Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser spray-painted onto the side of a building, or like something Grimes would use on an album cover. It looks like a tag you might see painted onto a wall at the subway.

None of the angles match.
The lines aren’t straight.
The line weights have varying widths.
The edges of the lines bleed.
It’s hasty, and the paint has barely dried.

It’s organic, imperfect, and street. It’s the perfect complement to a vehicle that is angular, cold, precise, and apocalyptic.

It’s Metal

One of the first things I thought of when I saw this logo was how much it resembles a thrash/death/black metal logo. It’s practically illegible and it makes you work to read it. Once you do make it out, it is impossible to un-see it.

Can you spot the Cybertruck logo? — Maria Belan-Crawford

A vehicle that challenges and goes almost totally against the status-quo — from its steely exterior, to its absurd angularity, to its unconventional engineering — needs a logo that challenges convention.

It’s New

This logo, in all its grimy glory, is still simple, versatile, scalable, and original.
It challenges the widely-held notion that a logotype should be clean and legible in order for it to be an effective tool for conveying meaning or a brand’s message.
I’d argue that this logo has the potential to obtain cult-status, and that is due partly to its unconventionality and inherent newness. Isn’t that what we all want our logos to do?

I’ve fallen for this one, and I think you should, too.

Additional Reading:
Inside the World of Extreme Metal Logos

Maria Violet Belan-Crawford

Written by

Aspiring designer and coder, occasional freelancer. Endless tinkerer!

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