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How do you design a logo for the luxury market?

Luxury is a walled garden. Few brands can enter it, fewer brands manage to stay. While the right logo is not enough for success, the wrong logo will ruin a brand’s aspirations. Here are some sins to avoid.

You don’t need this article to learn that a good logo is important in building and affirming your brand. Everybody knows that. In the luxury market, though, the stakes are higher and the pitfalls abound.

Designing a logo for a luxury brand (or redesigning your logo to pivot to luxury) requires some extra caution, or you will be joining a gala with the wrong dress. Here are some sins you might want to avoid committing.

luxury brands imitation

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Sin #1 - Imitation

We all know the great luxury brands like Bulgari, Chanel or Gucci. They are iconic and desirable: every brand who is aiming for luxury status wants to be like them. Well, don’t let it show. While having a good reference is healthy, it’s easy to get carried away and design a “wannabe” logo.

Dressing like your hero is not a good idea in the luxury field. You will not just look unoriginal, but you might come off as counterfeit. Have the boldness to develop your own language.

luxury brands trend

Photo by La Victorie on Unsplash

Sin #2 - Trendinitis

Ok, I made up that word but you get what I mean. See it as a disease that makes you follow trends no matter what. Trends sweep the design world seasonally like monsoons, carrying good ideas away with them and making all logos look the same.

Noone is really safe from trend infatuation: in the last year, several fashion brands like Burberry and Balenciaga underwent a redesign that made them look identical, with simple, bold letters. By falling for a contemporary but fleeting aesthetics, the redesign washed away decades of heritage. New and small brands might also be vulnerable to trends as they give a sense of safety, of being “on the right side”.

Trends pose a danger, though: not only they fade away quickly, they also become mainstream and percolate to mass market brands. That would be embarrassing.

luxury brands seduction

Photo by Jannis Lucas on Unsplash

Sin #3 - Plainness

If your logo says everything upfront, it won’t work in luxury. This is because luxury is based on seduction, exclusiveness, mystery. Being “in the know” is a privilege. Just think of any luxury boutique and you will realize that just few products are displayed in the window and not many are even displayed inside. You will have to ask the staff to show you their collection.

This gradual disclosure is part of the luxury experience. Your logo should do the same: having some odd parts, some elements that stimulate curiosity and that have a story to tell will make it interesting and long-lived.

luxury brands heritage

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Sin #4 - Forgery

Heritage is gold in the luxury market, but only as long as it’s real. New luxury brands might be tempted to drop some heritage hints in their logo: a coat of arms, a medieval symbol, a classical font, or even the tag “Since XXXX”.

If your history dates back to at least 50 years ago, that’s fine. Otherwise, it will sound fake, like a kid wearing his parents’ clothes. Don’t sweat it: you can convey that luxury feeling in many other ways, promised.

luxury brands details

Photo by Noah Boyer on Unsplash

Sin #5 - Sloppiness

People don’t need to be perfect, but luxury brands do. This applies to every expression of the brand, including the logo. When designing for luxury you must obsess over details that would be considered marginal in other projects.

The design must be flawless and it must work perfectly on every media. Just like a luxury product, it is mostly defined by its details.

Matteo Sublimio Founder & Creative Director
AUTHOR:

Matteo Modica
Founder & Creative Director

A tireless purveyor of quality, Matteo manages every branding and communication project down to the details, leading creative teams to always express their best.

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