Established in 1934, MAIF (Mutuelle d’Assurance des Instituteurs de France in French, “Mutual Insurance Institute of the Teachers of France” in English) is one of the largest insurance providers in France, offering coverage for automobile, life, and home as well as health insurance, counting with approximately 3 million members. Recently, MAIF introduced a new identity designed by Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based W&cie.
“We had to reinvent the brand without betraying its exceptional heritage,” explains Valentin Baumont, Director of Branding Creation at W. “We literally pivoted the brand, moving it into a new dimension: that of brands in motion. Its DNA: cooperative and militant within a powerful system that makes no concessions and has a strong sense of identity. The brand is now in synch with MAIF’s ambitions.”
To convey MAIF’s singularity as a model for a sustainable enterprise founded on immutable principles, an enterprise that is constantly reinventing itself and innovating, the W&cie has:
• Prominently featured the triangle, which reflects the commitment to MAIF’s history and is an extremely distinctive symbol in the insurance sector.
• Modernized, simplified and refined the brand to reflect their confidence and the relevance of their current battles.
• Inclined the base, to express their agility and motion. The asymmetry illustrates their radicalness and difference.
• Extended the type beyond the sides of the triangle to reflect their openness to new publics and new opportunities.
• Conserved its luminous red color, which symbolizes MAIF’s commitment and heritage.
Over the decades, MAIF has had some trippy logos, especially towards the beginning, which sets up a precedent not just for the new logo but even the previous logo, with its jarring green and red color combination that, if you stare at it long enough, makes you queasy. Graphically it was okay; the flared sans was kind of interesting and the composition out of the ordinary. The new logo keeps the weirdness streak going with an angled triangle, which I dig, and a new wordmark, which I don’t quite dig. It feels too corporate or possibly even like it belongs in the automotive industry and the composition feels literally like two separate things forced to coexist with each other. There is something good about the energy and tension of the triangle as it floats at an angle above the baseline but there is something unfinished about it.
Beyond its inclination, the brand and its vocabulary have been rethought in motion, for new uses and new media (digital, motion, film) in order to be a veritable media brand, a content publisher.
The animation doesn’t quite help the logo as it imbues motion into the triangle but the static wordmark weighs it down. I’m also not sure how a kinetic/frenetic triangle helps convey a sense of assurance from an insurance company. I like the part in the animation directly above when the triangles multiply and create a pattern but I think I only like it visually instead of liking for what it might add to the identity.
The typography was specially designed for MAIF. It was the result of a dual creative and technological approach. Creative, because inspired by the triangular form of the logo, and designed to order. Technological, because it was developed using a digital tool that makes it easier to read on all media.
The custom typeface has its moments, especially in the lowercase but the uppercase feels, again, too corporate.
The applications feel half-finished at the moment, not just because they are renders but because everything seems to be missing one layer of information or one layer of meaning and communication or, more likely, one cohesive message. There is a dog, a skater, a women yelling into a microphone, and helmets. There is all uppercase type and all lowercase type. It’s hard to figure out what this is all amounts to: is it supposed to be fun, young, and a little edgy? Or the opposite?
The signs look good though. Here is a close-up of one installed and I think what I like about it is how the wordmark sticks out of the triangle and becomes visible, instead of disappearing into a white background.
Overall, this starts off with the correct premise of not being conforming and keeping the looseness of previous logos but it never quite commits to being one thing or another: is this for young people or old people? Families or corporations? Conservative or progressive customers? There is some potential here but the message and applications need to be fine-tuned.