SIGNS OF THE TIMES

New fash­ion de­sign­ers at old fash­ion brands are kick­ing off their tenures by re­vamp­ing fa­mil­iar lo­gos.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Contents -

What do Ce­line, Burberry and Calvin Klein have in com­mon? Only the fact that, in re­cent times, they have re­branded them­selves only to end up with un­can­nily sim­i­lar sans-serif lo­gos: bold, black, and kind of bor­ing.

In Septem­ber, Ce­line’s new creative di­rec­tor, Hedi Sli­mane, un­veiled a logo that did not have an ac­cent over the first “e”. (It wasn’t Sli­mane’s first icon­o­clas­tic act; when he joined Yves Saint Lau­rent ( YSL) in 2012, he de­cided to axe the “Yves”. The move, per­ceived as one that dis­tanced the brand from its much-re­spected founder, was de­rided by the brand’s fans.) Just months be­fore Ce­line’s facelift, Ric­cardo Tisci joined Burberry and aban­doned the brand’s her­itage logo in favour of a plainer Peter Sav­ille-de­signed word mark. The same Peter Sav­ille de­signed Calvin Klein’s all-caps logo when Raf Si­mons took the reins last year.

Sure, a new logo acts as a tab­ula rasa when a fash­ion house sees a change in creative lead­er­ship. But the same­ness of th­ese mod­ern min­i­mal­ist de­signs re­veals a baser need: sur­vival in the dig­i­tal world. A smart logo has to be sim­ple yet in­vin­ci­ble. It has to ren­der well, and be recog­nis­able whether as an avatar or a split-sec­ond GIF. De­spite the ini­tial out­rage at the re­place­ment of the YSL lo­go­type with a Hel­vetica font, Saint Lau­rent’s sales in­creased by 150 per cent dur­ing Sli­mane’s ten­ure.

Co­in­ci­dence or not, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that a logo isn’t the beall-and-end-all of a busi­ness; a brand should still stay true to its val­ues, and a de­signer’s creations should still speak louder than the weight of the logo’s type­face. If not, bet­ter luck with the next creative di­rec­tor.

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