Pursuits

Here's Why Luxury Fashion Brand Logos All Look Similar

What's in a logo?
IMAGE PXHERE; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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If you’ve recently done the rounds at your favorite boutiques then you may have noticed the sans serif makeover most luxury brands have undergone.

Those who have chosen to do the extreme redesign include brands who have recently appointed new creative directors (Balenciaga, Berluti, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Celine, and Saint Laurent) to the rarer and more exclusive group of those who’ve changed just for the sake of it (Balmain, Diane von Furstenberg, and Rimowa).

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The latest to do so is French luxury fashion house Balmain, which unveiled a noticeably streamlined logo in December. It was conceived by creative director Olivier Rousteing, who says the new logo better represents the brand today.

"I’m not about to tear down traditions or break rules simply for the sake of breaking them," said Rousteing in a statement. "But times do change. Balmain is now a fast-growing brand relying on new media to communicate to a global audience."

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"That is why, at each and every step of this re-design process, I stressed the need to acknowledge our roots and reference the familiar design that Pierre Balmain created for his atelier over seventy years ago," he said. "I am quite pleased with what we’ve created: a contemporary, clean and bold logo for this historic house, which manages to retain the heritage of the original, while making clear to all that it represents a French luxury brand for the modern era."

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Aside from being the equivalent of a clean slate, a new logo is an excellent way to attract attention to a brand. Numerous news outlets reported Hedi Slimane’s takeover of formerly Phoebe Philo Celine, but nothing will quite compare to the media storm that surrounded Slimane’s full rebranding of the Yves Saint Laurent brand to simply Saint Laurent Paris back in 2012—a move many decried as "disrespectful."

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Still, all the changes beg another question: Why do all the logos have the same Helvetica look and feel?

The sans serif change says a lot about how we see luxury today. According to Armin Vit, a design firm co-founder who spoke to Business of Fashion, the bold sans serif look isn’t flashy yet it speaks volumes about a brand’s personality. New York-based art director and designer Merril Cledera shares the trend nowadays to go more simple and minimal is also a way to attract younger consumers, if not a move toward globalization.

While in the past, uniformity was shunned by the industry, it seems when it comes to branding, it’s good practice.

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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
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