Navigation app Waze has always had a bit of an attitude compared to the bone-dry directions delivered on sister brand Google Maps. Morgan Freeman, DJ Khaled and the Cookie Monster are a few of the well-known direction-givers that have made rush hour a little more entertaining over the years.
In a brand refresh, engineered by design studio Pentagram and ad agency FIG, Waze gave drivers new icons to mark their spots on the map. FIG’s team focused on expressing the new Moods portfolio of user avatars, which takes the familiar Waze smiley-faced car to whole new levels of expression.
Furious, Bold, Wild and Prickly are a few of the new icons that drivers can choose to depict how they are feeling to other Waze users on the crowd-sourced interface.
"We wanted to capture the range of emotions one feels, either on a commute that is going brilliantly or that captures the frustration at being caught in the usual rush hour traffic," a FIG spokesperson told Campaign about the agency’s first project for Waze. "[The icons enable] Wazers to let the community know how they are feeling. It’s a nice method of self-expression and it’s fun and friendly."
While the brightly colored icons are cartoonish in keeping with the bold, primary colors the brand favors, new icons Prickly and Furious are indicative of the reality of life on the crowded streets.
FIG also created some reporting icons for users to share with other Wazers to tip them off about road and driving conditions or just share a burst of emotion. One uses the Furious icon to gripe about people who don’t use their turn signals, while another uses the Bold icon, which wears a helmet, to alert others to upcoming speed bumps or, in Bold’s case, launch pads.
In a blog about the brand refresh and Moods project Waze published on Medium, the company noted: "We want to represent all different types of people in all different moments on their journey, and make people smile … even when there might not be much to smile about."