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Waze design makeover seeks to spark the joy of driving

Not content with merely giving directions and warning drivers about traffic tie-ups, potholes, accidents, police activity, and speed traps, the Waze driver social network now seeks to spark joy during your commute as well. In a brand refresh that’s rolling out today, Google’s Waze app for iOS and Android aims for simplicity and consistency in the app’s interface and information ecosystem, with an emphasis on community immersion to enhance your driving pleasure.

Waze Logo
Waze

Like Waze itself, the visual makeover stems from community input of Waze’s users, including a study conducted with 13,000 drivers and supplemented by conversations and meetups. “We needed to give our community more avenues to express themselves through the brand,” said Jake Shaw, head of Creative, in a blog post accompanying the release. “This started with their experience of the app and our mission to make their time on the road more fun.”

The new Waze update takes a warm, non-tech approach that stimulates emotion via a combination of color, moods, and icons, augmented by the app’s website and social channels. It’s the opposite of minimalist. “We’re chasing something that’s friendly, that’s organic and joyful. A lot of brands are scared of color. We’re not,” Shaw said.

Moods

Waze Moods
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re a dedicated Waze user, you’ve no doubt noticed a section of the app entitled Moods, which lets you choose from among dozens of expressive avatars that reflect your current emotions — but only after you’ve driven over 100 miles under the app’s influence. Until then, only a single mood — Waze Newbie — is available for newcomers. The new Moods feature is a work in progress but aims to foster community in transmitting to fellow Wazers how you are feeling about your travels at the moment. Specialty Moods are available to Map Editors and beta testers as a reward for their hard work, the company said.

Block by block

Waze block by block
Waze

Waze’s new grid-based block-by-block system denotes the non-road spaces on the map with a consistent design for icons and social posts and brings Waze’s community-built map into the design. The brand update also features a new logo, updated typography, and color changes.

Waze icons
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While the Waze rebranding was announced today, the timetable for complete rollout remains unclear, though the company says it will be completed in the next few weeks. For road warriors who rely on the app’s functional features like trip planning, finding the cheapest fuel, or hearing a famous voice navigate your route, Waze’s new updated look will not come a moment too soon.

Jackie Dove
Contributor
Jackie is an obsessive, insomniac tech writer and editor in northern California. A wildlife advocate, cat fan, and photo app…
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