Maybe you’ve seen it too: a few days ago on BoingBoing appeared an article entitled “Interesting logos are being replaced by boring ones”, which highlights, graphics in hand, how fashion logos are all becoming a bit similar. Let’s talk about the recent redesign that has raised quite a few criticisms: Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Balenciaga, Berluti, and Balmain (by the way, almost all with a B!). But we could also add Céline.
That they all look alike is incontrovertible. But BoingBoing‘s thesis is that it depends on a lack of imagination of designers. I don’t entirely agree with that, I think there are several forces at work.
Fashion Logos Trends: Millennials are a no-logo generation
The millennials, we know, are the luxury market’s future and partial present. And millennials have a special relationship with logos and brands: grown up in an overabundance of logos, they have developed a healthy resistance to the pressures of branding and prefer neutral and almost invisible brands that they can customize as they like. Logos are used ostentatiously only in an ironic way, while the absence of the logo is a value.
Fashion Logos Trends: there is a strong need for modernity
Luxury is updated, like any other industry, but fashion logos often remain behind for understandable reasons of heritage and brand value. But if we look at the logos of Burberry and YSL we all agree that they convey an idea of ancient, aristocratic luxury.
Fashion Logos Trends: the market is global
Today’s luxury markets are global: China, first and foremost, but India is also starting to make its way. And fashion logos often betray a strongly European heritage (Burberry was super British, YSL extra French). For a long time, we assumed this was an advantage. Today, however, global markets are no longer in awe of European brands (think of the recent case of Dolce&Gabbana), so even luxury loses some of its roots and becomes global, therefore more neutral.
Fashion Logos Trends: digital drives
Do you want a logo that works well on mobile, can be read at every resolution and you have no time or desire to imagine it responsive? Well, then these logos are perfect.
Fashion Logos Trends: even luxury brands are in a hurry
That’s a sore point. In a fast economy, nobody has time anymore. When Riccardo Tisci, Burberry‘s creative director, asked designer Peter Saville (who isn’t exactly the latest arrival) for a new identity, he asked him for four months. Tisci gave him four weeks. Not content, he also jokingly posted the email exchange on Burberry’s Instagram profile.
This is perhaps the saddest aspect of the story: while many of the forces at work are strategic, the compression of the time allowed for branding is, in my opinion, short-sighted. It creates very similar logos because designers, deprived of time, rightly rely on simplicity. But it is the same for everyone.
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