We've been mulling this one over for a while. We love the bikes and while we tried to remain positive (we really tried, we promise), we've finally come to accept that Ducati, as a brand, has jumped the shark. >
Unveiled at this year's EICMA show by CEO Gabriele Del Torchio, the new shield has yet to receive an official press release. I sent an enquiry to Ducati North America with a list of questions concerning the strategy behind the rebrand, but was told they're still in the dark too, and haven't received the guidelines yet. We also requested an interview with the lead creative responsible for the new direction. That request went politely unanswered.
I suppose the best thing to do is to list all my own questions, since nobody in Italy will answer them:
Who is credited with the development?
Was the rebranding in-house, or did Ducati hire a firm?
In what way(s) was the standard red circle with the diagonal line failing to meet the needs of the Ducati brand?
Beyond a typographic interpretation of an uppercase "D," what did the red circle and line of the previous identity signify?
The new shield lock-up disregards the circle's elegant, modernist graphic flatness, instead opting for embossed edges and highlights. Beyond the obvious fashion among current identities, how does Ducati consider the new logo's nod towards trendy graphic treatments an evolution of the brand?
The shield is not represented on the machines. Why?
Will it be on the bikes in the future?
What, then, is the function of the shield, and why was it needed?
Paul Smart raced under the first iteration of the circled "D". Mike Hailwood raced under the flying "D." Why did Ducati favor a puffy shield, rejecting a reinterpretation of the much more famous and resonate wings of Ducati's past?
How does the shield, with its generic white swoosh, resonate with not only the company, but the machines as well?
If the puffy shield is actually a puffy heart as the video infers, why is the shape generic instead of distinctive?
How does a puffy heart represent Ducati?
One rule of thumb in branding is that an identity must be readable and distinctive at all scales. At small scales, the type is unreadable, the puffy shield/heart not as distinctive as its predecessor nor recognizable as unique. Was this an oversight?
Ducati has been increasingly diluting its brand through cross-marketing with companies including Sandisk and Onda, marketing cheap disposable wares such as the SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition USB Flash drive and the Onda-Ducati USB Pen Drive modem, which are certainly not relevant to the Ducati lifestyle. Along with the puffy heart, how does Ducati plan to rectify the continued decline of its perceived brand equity before the dilution impacts sales?
How does the puffy heart relate Ducati's ardent belief to the continual refinement of the desmo valve engine and trellis frame?
How does it reflect Ducati's devotion to the pursuit of engineering perfection, or its passionate belief in the spirit of racing?
Where's the purity in the treatment of Ducati's brand the company demands of its machines?
For the record, we absolutely love Ducati. Doug Polen's 851 SP3 and the Super Mono each spent months at the pinnacle of our adolescent fantasies. The marque was sleek, refined and focused, just like the machines. This was when Ducati built on its heritage and strengthened its base of devout followers. But how can we be proud of a company that sells its passion and heritage out to modem suppliers, cell phone companies and digital camera storage devices, all of which are disposables, antithetical to the design principles of Ducati?
There's this other bike company, and they dwarf Ducati's sales. They also cross-marketed themselves to the point of selling skullcaps for Chihuahuas. Ducati's puffy heart looks to be made of the same cloth.