1221 is a brand elevating the custom forged wheel industry with new designs, new materials, and superior machining technology.
Building a Luxury Wheel Brand
- Brand Strategy & Development
- Product Brand Development, Messaging, & Design
- Product Development & Design
This was a collaborative effort with automotive designer Tom Van Ryn. Tom designs and engineers wheels and other products for the automotive industry. As an expert in luxury aftermarket wheels, and as the product designer and developer for 1221, his insights were invaluable to the formation and development of 1221’s brand strategy.
Made in California, 1221 Wheels is named for the melting point of aluminum.
Metal FX Motorsports, a machining facility known for superior wheel manufacturing, gathered a team of professionals with experience in the most influential aftermarket wheel companies to create a new brand.
The earliest concept was a lifestyle brand, targeting drivers in the Audi and BMW price range (with Porsche owners at the high end).
However, after seeing an opportunity to fill a gap recently made in the luxury market, the decision was made to focus on hypercars and exotics. Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and Bugatti owners fill this demographic.
Every team member from sales to business to design had solid expertise with this market.
Luxury marketing requires knowing exactly who you’re targeting, within a market; think of it as a niche within a niche.
Targeting people who purchase high-end items because they create and reflect a certain image and appearance requires a different strategy than targeting those who require only the most superior materials, finishes, and elements because they are true connoisseurs.
1221 was focusing on the latter.
Their clients are genuine car people… they don’t care about image, they require superior products, innovation, and nothing less than excellence.
In discussions surrounding the mission and goals of the brand, the emphasis primarily focused on pushing the limits of design and engineering.
The company isn’t satisfied with simply being another option for wheels; they want to make wheels that are unquestionably the best on the market.
While that may seem a lofty goal, these brand promises were delivered with the very first set of wheels machined:
- Proprietary materials / new aluminum alloy
- Unheard of runout tolerances
- Innovative finishes
- Fastest industry turnaround times
IDEATION & IDENTITY
Since designing and engineering wheels is simultaneously a technical and artistic process, the brand identity needed to reflect this in a unique way.
The 1221 would primarily be engraved on wheel hubs and center caps, so legibility and visibility needed to lend themselves to instant brand recognition.
Working together to create a look that would reflect both the technical and artistic natures of the design and manufacturing process, we set out to create a concept suitable for engraving, as well as print and digital applications.
We wanted to emphasize the palindrome of the numbers 1221. (A palindrome is simply a word that can be read backwards and forwards.)
Rotating on a wheel, the name also offered the perfect opportunity to create an ambigram.
(An ambigram is a word or symbol that can be read from a different orientation or perspective.)
Clean lines and modular styling gave the 1221 logo a technical style with an artistic nuance of rotational functionality.
PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
The idea to utilize pipelines in the tagline to differentiate the present and past tense forms of each verb was purposeful: it denotes what has been done (past tense) and what is being done (present tense.)
Here are a few of the tangible associations with each word:
use of new materials + finishes
6″ full-machined mini-wheels for marketing
new, stronger aluminum alloys
proprietary manufacturing techniques
durable finishes that cut weight
demonstrably superior end product
about those runout tolerances (click + scroll)
philosophy of increasingly raising the bar
While the following are only a partial representation of the 1221 core values, they represent the team’s commitment to product perfection.
Check out what 1221 Wheels is up to!