A new brand to build the future of mobility

Kathleen Hsu

Product Designer

Today, we’re excited to introduce Smartcar’s new brand identity. Our refreshed brand communicates Smartcar’s mission of “empowering developers to build the future of mobility” in a more inspiring and approachable way.

Why a redesign?

Smartcar’s product has come a long way since our last brand refresh in 2019. We continuously advanced our product, partnered with new industries, and even expanded to additional markets outside of the United States. Soon we realized that Smartcar’s brand needed to evolve to match the growth of our platform. Our minimalistic design language limited the ways in which we could express Smartcar’s brand, and our developer-oriented voice hindered us from reaching audiences with non-technical backgrounds. We decided that now was the right time to refresh Smartcar’s brand both visually and content-wise.

Redefining Smartcar’s brand voice

In the first step of our redesign, we brainstormed the core values that Smartcar’s new brand voice should represent. We defined the following four pillars: empowering, relatable, trustworthy, and polished. Once we had established these core values, we evolved every element of our existing visual and written language to embody our brand voice and speak to businesses of all sizes and across various industries. At the same time, we made sure that our new voice would be scalable across our product, website, and marketing channels.

Graphic showing four pillars with the words "empowering," "trustworthy," relatable," and "polished" alongside a definition for each.
In the first step of our redesign, we brainstormed the core values that Smartcar’s new brand voice should represent.

Introducing a new visual identity

Based on our newly defined brand voice, we evolved Smartcar’s colors, typography, and illustrations to form our new visual language.

Colors

We kept the same shade of teal as Smartcar’s primary color, but we decided to introduce a new palette of vibrant colors to accompany it. Our new yellow, green, and purple secondary colors represent the broad range of industries Smartcar serves within the mobility space. They also help to lend a stronger personality to our brand. On the Smartcar website, every page includes one of our bright secondary colors, accompanied by a contrasting dark shade of the same color. Finally, we occasionally use a light shade of tan to recreate the retrofuturistic atmosphere that was the major theme of our 2019 redesign.

Typography

When thinking about Smartcar’s typographic voice, we knew we wanted to appeal to both developers and business professionals at the same time. As our existing body typeface, IBM Plex, evokes a more technical personality, we decided to keep and combine it with Poppins for a fresher, more approachable headline font.

Illustrations

Our new illustrations are still inspired by retrofuturism. The theme of retrofuturism emphasizes that Smartcar is enabling a mobility landscape that previous generations could only dream of. We also retained the main character of these illustrations—an astronaut who interacts with a car—to draw a parallel between retrofuturistic visions of space travel and the mobility landscape that Smartcar is enabling.

While the retrofuturistic theme and the astronaut character in our illustrations purport empowerment, relatability, and trustworthiness, we decided to change the style to create a more polished look. Our new illustrations are still hand-drawn but simpler, resulting in a playful but crisp feel.

To bring our illustrations to life and connect them with our primary teal color, we use a shade of light blue that highlights parts of each illustration.

Screenshot of the Smartcar website showing the header of the product features page with a line drawing of an astronaut holding a phone and standing next to a car.
Our new illustrations are still inspired by retrofuturism.

Putting it into words

Smartcar’s new brand voice also inspired major changes in our written content. While our previous copy was developer-friendly and valuable in explaining Smartcar’s product to a technical audience, we wanted to achieve two new goals:

  1. Relatable & trustworthy: Make our content more relevant and easier to understand for our non-technical audience, while still appealing to our developer audience
  2. Empowering & polished: Clearly communicate the value that Smartcar provides for businesses of different sizes and industries, while still explaining the essential product details

These two goals guided us when revamping our website’s content from start to finish. From the prominence of technical words like “API” and our explanation of products like Smartcar Connect, all the way to featured customer testimonials that demonstrate Smartcar’s value first hand—our revamped content aims to be helpful while appealing to our diverse target audience.

Left side: The car API for mobility applications. Smartcar allows mobility apps to locate, unlock, and read the odometer from cars across brands with a single API. Right side: Build and scale your mobility business. Companies use Smartcar's APIs to verify vehicle mileage, issue digital car keys, manage EV charging, and track fleets.
Left side: Let customers link their vehicles to your app. Before you can start making API requests to Smartcar, your customers will need to link their cars to your app. Our Smartcar Connect flow makes this easy, secure, and instant. Right side: Powering mobility worldwide The Smartcar platform allows mobility businesses to easily connect with their customers’ cars. Whether you need to track a vehicle’s location, verify its mileage, share a virtual key, start charging an EV, monitor a car’s fuel tank level, inspect the tire pressure, or check the engine oil life, Smartcar lets you do so with a single API request.
Our new homepage content aims to be helpful while appealing to our diverse target audience.

Finally, our new visual identity and our written tone and voice work hand in hand. For example, our new product images don’t only display our own product. They primarily highlight our customers’ products and how Smartcar helps power these products across different use cases and industries.

Smartcar website showing a part of the car sharing industry page with a smartphone screen showing the Turo app on the left and three blocks of text on the right.
Our new visual identity and our written tone and voice work hand in hand.

We hope that you enjoy the refreshed Smartcar brand! As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to evolve and improve the Smartcar experience. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at kathleen@smartcar.com.

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