top of page

Gemma Tonge: "I was always fascinated by the design elements of motorsport, it sparked my creativity from a young age."

Following the rebranding of Formula E’s FIA Girls on Track program this season, Females in Motorsport sat down with the artist behind the canvas, Gemma Tonge, Graphic Designer at Formula E to discuss her creative process and how she took an unconventional design role in motorsport and made it her own to pilot a unique visual identity for the brand.

For graphic designer Gemma Tonge, the path to her dream job was paved by a lifelong passion for motorsport. Growing up, she was immersed in the sport's rich visual culture – from the bold typography on race cars to the vivid photography that captured the thrill of competition just perfectly. 

"I was always fascinated by the design elements of motorsport," Gemma says. "The way the visuals could evoke such emotion and energy, it really sparked my creativity from a young age."

The passion for graphic design in motorsport was fueled by Gemma’s childhood memories and father’s legacy in the sport. Gemma's father, a former MotoGP Chief Engineer, had collected an archive of vintage racing memorabilia, which she pored over as a child. 

"We had all these old manuals and magazines from the 80s and 90s that my dad had kept,” she says. “I loved examining the typography, the imagery, the way it all came together to tell the story of the sport."

This early exposure to motorsport's visual language went on to shape Gemma's passion for the industry and artistic sensibilities. As she pursued her graphic design studies, she continued exploring motorsport themes creating personal projects along the way that allowed her to experiment with both vintage aesthetics and trendy, dynamic designs.

"In university, I did a photography-based project documenting the Goodwood Revival," she says. "I was really interested in capturing the energy and authenticity of the event through my lens, and then I played with the typography and layout to create an entire series of books. It was such a rewarding creative outlet for me."

After graduation, Gemma worked in the print industry developing an in-depth knowledge of printing techniques and processes which is an instrumental element of the design process. And then went on to work as a freelance brand identity and packaging designer before her motorsport-inspired portfolio reached the desks of Formula E, who reached out to her with an exciting opportunity of joining the in-house Design team during the time of the rebrand in Season 8.

"When I saw the job posting, I couldn't believe it," Gemma says. "It was like all my passions coming together in one incredible opportunity."

Tasked with revitalizing the FIA Girls on Track brand one year into her role, Gemma knew she needed to create a visual identity that would echo specifically with young girls aged 12-18, the initiative's primary target audience.

"The existing branding just didn't feel vibrant or youthful enough," she says. "We wanted something that would really capture the energy and spirit of the programme, something that would get these girls excited about the possibilities in motorsport."

Her creative process was a long one, but equally fun and exciting. She began by establishing four keywords to guide the rebrand: "youthful, insightful, disruptive, and fun". These four qualities would inform every aspect of the new visual identity, from the color palette to the illustrative elements.

“I began creating hand drawn mark-making in response to the different aspects of the initiative,” Gemma says. "I wanted to create a sense of authenticity and movement, something that felt hand-crafted and dynamic." 

The result was a finished product of bold, vibrant graphics anchored by a refreshed color scheme of a vibrant purple, green, and orange.

Gemma's design also sought to create a stronger connection between FIA Girls on Track and the broader Formula E brand. 

"As an FIA initiative, it was important to root the brand in the master identity," she says. "But we also wanted to give it a distinct personality that would resonate with our young audience at Formula E."

The new FIA Girls on Track brand launched earlier this year and helped raise the profile of the scheme to continue inspiring the next generation of female motorsport talent. For Gemma, seeing her design work come to life in such a meaningful way has been immensely rewarding.

"Graphic design is about so much more than just making things look pretty," she says. "It's a powerful tool for communication and connection. Being able to use that to support an initiative like FIA Girls on Track is truly special."

As the motorsport industry continues to evolve, Gemma hopes her story will inspire other young designers to consider the unique opportunities the sport has to offer.

"There's this misconception that graphic design in motorsport is just a niche field," she says. "But the reality is, it's a dynamic, multifaceted role that allows you to make a real impact. I'm living proof of that, and I can't wait to see what the future holds."


bottom of page