In 2013, Iacopelli earned a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design from College for Creative Studies in Detroit. This past May, she got her master's in sustainable design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Iacopelli, 29, started drawing at age 5 and, given her genes, sensed her calling early. She wanted to use art to promote a "greater cause" in the world.
"I wanted my art to be translated into something that would be communicated worldwide," Iacopelli said. "To me, graphic design was a future and forward career that translated drawing on paper to a platform that was digital and had meaning and communication behind it."
Bianca Iacopelli, working with the logo for the all-new GMC Hummer EV. She's a creative designer at GM.
When she first considered a job with GM, she realized she might be able to apply her aptitude for art at a car company and use it to promote sustainability. GM intends to be an all-electric company one day in both the vehicles it sells and how it powers its facilities.
"It wasn’t until I interviewed that I realized an art degree was an extremely valued degree at GM design," she said. "That’s when I realized, ‘Wow, I could really see myself working here.' "
In May of last year Iacopelli got her big break. The automaker was planning to revive the Hummer nameplate and looked to her for help.
GM discontinued the Hummer brand of hulking off-road trucks in 2009 when the company entered federal bankruptcy. The brand's vehicles were visually striking gas guzzlers with a cult following.
But GM plans to put the name on an all-electric GMC pickup that goes on sale late next year. For GM to pin the Hummer name to an environmentally friendly truck would be tricky. Iacopelli must convey a green image without losing the machismo behind the name's heritage.
"The bulk of our work was working on this already established branding and translating it to the branding characteristics that were up and coming," Iacopelli said. "We're building this brand off of what's already been put out."
After months of research, meetings and multiple iterations of possible logos, she and her team finally said, "That’s the one. That’s the one that speaks to us the best.”
The logo is instantly memorable. GM revealed it right before halftime during the Super Bowl in February. The image is simple, but powerful. Two headlights pierce straight-on and the word HUMMER is written across a softly lit grille, all shrouded in black.
"We kept the all-cap lettering to keep the brand integrity. Yet it has a modern-geometric logo," Iacopelli said. “So when a customer sees it, it has strong legs to it … and conveys that this is the future.”