Moniker produce an accessible, optimistic and futureproof identity refresh for Facebook’s Oculus
Facebook’s Oculus has made enormous strides at the forefront of VR technology since its founding, highlighting how products can be used to enhance the world around us outside of the initial gaming conventions associated with it. Aiming to appeal to its existing audience whilst seeking the attention of those previously uninterested in the technology, Oculus has undergone an identity refresh courtesy of San Francisco-based design studio Moniker.
Produced over the course of two years, the new identity repositions and redefines Oculus’ graphic language, moving the brand towards a rigorous visual system, refined colour palette and art direction – all while keeping essential elements of the brand’s previous identity at the front and centre.
“The existing mark was Oculus’ most distinct and recognisable brand asset and still speaks to where the brand is going,” Founder and Creative Director Brent Couchman tells us, “so it was very important to keep it and build around it.” Exploring the way they could more typographically express the brand’s values, the subsequent variable system gave the identity flexibility to signal the new direction Oculus are heading, as well as maintain the gravitas they’d already acquired.
Hero to this new system is Neue Plak, Moniker’s chosen primary typeface. Pragmatic and capable, Neue Plak’s comprehensive family is put to the test across Oculus’ identity, speaking to a larger audience and adaptable to whatever demands are required. “Having that range was really important to the system and speaking to different audiences,” Couchman explains, finding practicality behind the typeface, as well as a poignant conceptual grounding.
“We wanted a typeface that existed before screens and VR technology that had more warmth to it,” he adds, discovering Paul Renner’s Plak and its origin in the 1930s. “It had a great balance of precision and warmth,” he tells us, “with just the right amount of unique forms throughout the characters;” retrospectively redrawn and expanded by Linda Hintz and Toshi Omagari at Monotype.
Alongside the typographic structures is a similarly expansive colour system rich in energetic, warming colours across a dynamic set of gradients; with each element signalling a specific part of the identity. “Within the system, future products,” Couchman adds, such as packaging, events and promotions, “will each have their own unique gradient,” he explains, with the intention of encompassing a greater range of different voices and experiences. “From the beginning, we were setting up Oculus with a system that could work strategically over time,” he concludes, “so this was a key piece of that.”
The most subtle and significant creative decision made by Moniker, however, is the fundamental chromatic shift, changing the previous identity’s use of white on black to the inverse. Using black on white throughout, this important change in mindset provides a more optimistic, bright and futuristic tone for the identity to exude, and also provides greater accessibility to a larger audience in the process.