Behind the Design of Lyft’s Glowstache
An inside look at how the ridesharing service matured its pink-hot brand
If you’ve been following branding news recently, you may be aware that ridesharing service Lyft refreshed its iconic and quirky icon, the pink furry mustache.
While the large mustache encouraged brand visibility and adoption in its early stages, it did not come without disadvantages.
It was cumbersome and drivers frequently had to secure it to their vehicles. It was difficult to keep clean and hard to see at night, often one of the busiest times for drivers. With a growing number of users, not everyone was keen to the idea of rolling up to a serious business meeting in cars flaunting the furry symbol.
“What may seem like a simple object had many design challenges,” Grégoire Vandenbussche, Ammunition’s lead designer on the project told PSFK. “The Glowstache doesn’t have any flat surfaces, making it fairly complicated to create in 3D. It’s closer to the process of creating a sculpture than designing the average consumer electronic device.”
Here are some areas carefully considered in the design:
Location – It became clear that the symbol needed to stay inside the car. This would keep it cleaner, avoid theft, or damage in the case of an accident. It would eliminate the need for drivers to have to adjust the mustache on the exterior of the car.
Installation – A magnetic base was selected because it made placement of the Glowstache easy for drivers. Knowing that the mount (although easily removable) would remain on dashboards even when the Glowstache was removed meant careful consideration into how it looked. It couldn’t resemble valuable electronic items that may attract the attention of thieves and encourage break-ins.
Size – It had to be large enough to be noticeable, yet lightweight and portable enough for removal or carrying. Many drivers also use other ridesharing services like Sidecar and Uber.
Legal – There are limitations on what kinds of lighted objects can be in cars. The Glowstache also could not appear too red or blue so as not to be confused with police or emergency vehicles.
Field Testing – Ammunition and Lyft brought in engineering consultants at Mindtribe to help test prototypes. It paid careful attention to how Lyft passengers reacted to the Glowstache to see if it inspired a sense of delight.
One less talked about element of the design process was the packaging. “We saw the Glowstache as an opportunity to create a physical icon for the Lyft brand,” said Vandenbussche. “We wanted to create something both useful and playful that would also feel like a reward for drivers.”
Lyft is rolling out the Glowstache to drivers across the country in the coming weeks and months.
Initial response has been favorable. “The reaction to the Glowstache has been incredibly positive so far,” shares Vandenbussche. “Drivers have shared feedback that Glowstache is simple to use, and that it makes driving easier and more fun. We’ve also seen drivers take to Twitter to thank Lyft and post photos of their new Glowstache in action.”
You can see more photos of the Glowstache under the social hashtag #GLOWMO.
Image Credits: Lyft and Alfredo Mendez