Visual design in games normally means either character or environment design, but it’s not often that it means branding.
Appropriately, given how much of a role advertising and branding plays in modern Formula 1, futuristic PS1 racing game Wipeout was the first game to work with a design studio to develop the posters, logos and team icons seen throughout the game, (as well as the packaging and posters for the game).
The design studio, The Designer’s Republic was primarily known for working on album designs for Warp Records, the label that included Aphex Twin and The Orb. With their work on Wipeout, they brought music industry sophistication and cool to an industry that had previously favoured cartoony pop or teenage grittiness.
Sci-fi imagery often ages badly, but Wipeout’s still looks clean, iconic and real because the J-Pop, sci-fi corporate branding that The Designer’s Republic created feels like it was developed for real racing teams, rather than trying to create something that just looked ‘futuristic’.
More than 20 years later, it still looks great: