New look for 130-year old bus builder

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A revived Ikarus, a once well-known brand in its native Hungary with a 130-year history, is paying tribute to its heritage but also looking forwards in its latest attempt at revival, with a new visual identity which it says reflects changes in the market and visual trends. The new logo suggests dynamism and reliability, the manufacturer says, supporting its drive for international expansion and reflecting its ambition to become a significant player in global bus manufacturing again.

The new brand makes a play of youthful colors and a simplified form which the company says will be the new image of Ikarus. The new logo is based on its predecessor, building on the brand’s tradition, retaining and modernising the wing motif, and carrying forward the incision in the letter ‘R’ of the previous logos. Visually, says Ikarus, its new image is more in line with the logos of other large automotive companies that have been redesigned in recent years, with finer, narrower lines, airier shapes, and an ‘overall harmonious effect thanks to the proportional design of the structure.’

Based in Budapest, Ikarus was established in 1895 and came to dominate most of the Eastern Bloc countries’ bus markets. In 2003, due to financial struggles and a change in ownership, the company closed its doors, though not before having achieved some success in the late 1990s with its Blue Danube coach in the UK, based on a Volvo B10M chassis. Bought by French manufacturer Irisbus, Ikarus was outlived by its Ikarus EAG subsidiary at the start of what became a complex period in its history. Ikarus EAG was also closed down in 2007 by Irisbus.

Former chairman of Ikarus Gábor Széles has attempted to revive the company in numerous forms since 2003, though up to now there has been limited success in a period which has been overshadowed by a long-running legal dispute over the ownership of the name; having been ongoing since 2017, the Budapest Court of Appeal recently ruled that the Ikarus brand is a ‘reputable trademark’ with legal protection.

“We are proud of this iconic trademark; we thus embarked on the redesign work with a great sense of responsibility,” said Zoltán Tankó, CEO of the current incarnation of the brand, Ikarus Global Zrt, which was founded around 2017. “Before we started the design work, we examined the Ikarus brand. We defined its vision, mission, brand values, and archetype and studied the communication of our competitors and the changes in the visual trends of the industry. The primary design considerations stemmed from the brand’s core values. Building upon tradition, we are preparing for the future with focus on purpose and optimism, and we are declaring to the market that the 130-year-old Ikarus is a definite presence.

“The image was refreshed primarily to support the intensive international expansion of Ikarus, which began in 2022. Our goal is to reintroduce Ikarus-branded buses to the traditional Ikarus markets, with all the equipment and visual elements that are in demand these days,” added Zoltán.