Nissan: Shaping an Identity


When you think of a designer working for a car company, the first thing that comes to mind may be a person making sketches of vehicle bodies. In reality, automotive designers work on a multitude of things – from car emblems to logos, motor show booths, dealerships, company uniforms and more. The scale and materials vary widely, but everything fits together as part of a unified brand identity.

nissan designer sakurai
“We design things with all sorts of different materials and sizes, but the basic idea – trying to give shape to the brand’s spirit and identity – is the same,” says Nissan designer Hiroyuki Sakurai.

Designing Spaces

At Nissan, dedicated designers work on buildings and spaces such as company buildings, motor show booths and dealerships.

nissan crossing
Nissan’s space designers work on company buildings and spaces – Interior of NISSAN CROSSING

“We often apply elements from cars to space design,” Sakurai says. “The Nissan Pavilion event space, where we unveiled the new Nissan Ariya electric crossover last year, incorporated elements of the Ariya’s design – a contrast between tradition and innovation.”
Nissan Pavilion

Showcasing Cars in the Digital Age

Designers are also increasingly inspired by the intersection of physical and virtual experiences. “We’re trying to blaze a new path by offering novel experiences, such as driving a heritage car, or a futuristic car that hasn’t been made yet,” Sakurai says. “Virtual reality devices are increasingly used for both car design and space design. For instance, we can use a VR headset to change the time, the season and the lighting. This is because the external ambiance is part of how we experience a car.”

Car Emblems

As the “face” of a car, badges and emblems are key to a carmaker’s identity. In addition to the company badge – in Nissan’s case, spelling out the company name – there are also emblems naming the model and signifying the specification or grade. Each is created by dedicated designers to fit the specific model.

Changing with the Times

Until around the 2000s, fonts and decorations of Nissan’s car emblems varied from model to model, depending on the character of each car. Emblem designer Naoki Yamamoto was captivated by the elegant emblems of high-end cars when he first joined Nissan.

The brand’s new identity is being brought to life by designers like Sakurai and Yamamoto, as they reimagine the spaces and new emblems that represents the new chapter for Nissan.


Nissan Motor Corporation logo


Nissan Motor Corporation





(855) 426-6628


P.O. Box 685003

Franklin, TN 37068

ABOUT Nissan Motor Corporation®

Nissan first came to the United States to sell vehicles in 1958 and began importing and making Datsun vehicles in the United States under the Nissan Motor Corporation in U.S.A. (NMC), name in 1960. In 1990, Nissan North America Inc. (NNA), was created to coordinate all of Nissan’s various activities in North America to enhance the design, development, manufacturing, and marketing of Nissan vehicles. In 1998, the two organizations merged operations under the Nissan North America, Inc., name. Headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, Nissan’s North American operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.