Fashion logos are no longer iconic, the digital era hits again

18.03.2019 | By ELENA LONGARI

Sheriff sans-serif has been changing things in fashion town this year and what happened has been one trend no one can quite have a clear opinion on.

From Burberry to Balmain, Celine to Saint Laurent luxury fashion labels have eschewed their thin and airy letters for the simple trait of sans serif, kind of altogether.

Is this homologation the opposite of luxury, or does it give brands more chances to express their creativity through their garments?

Is this homologation to a heavier bolder font a sign of wanting to have consumers tapping more on their Instagram profile?

These and more insights on why things look they way they look on the fashion logos front today.

I think I have probably learnt how to read thanks to the highly powerful visual impact of brands’ logos;  the font, colours and size of a logo are in fact supposed to stick into your head in such a way you will be able to spot if a can of pop is the one by the famous white lettering on red background brand or not, so that your mum wouldn’t pass a no brand pop as the proper one. Facts: logos are there to create the identity of a brand.

That was up until brands had to come to terms with Instagram and promoting a certain type of visuals, digital visuals.  What brands do on Instagram is one thing, what they do in their production labs is completely another, and even more different is what they showcase on the runway.

But we are not all front-rowers, we watch fashion from outside, may that be social media or their online shops. If a brand like Burberry has transformed its logo, charged with more than 100 years of history, it isn’t due to a change of creative director. Riccardo Tisci took the monogram pattern and made it something else, but with the logo, he went where other brands had already gone, Sans Serif.


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New luxury standards: streetwear

If luxury brands had always been represented by thin letters, this passion for Sans Serif might be a new vision luxury brands are trying to convey through their image. A vision that finds its inspiration in streetwear. Sneakers and tracksuit bottoms are the everyone’s fashion goals these days, but luxury brands have given their sneakers he cult-like status, take Balenciaga Triple S.


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Streetwear of course isn’t represented by thin letters, but rather the opposite. Take Supreme and Fila, as well as Converse, names worth mentioning as in 2018 they have all been associated with some of the most iconic fashion houses of all time, i.e. Louis Vuitton and Fendi.

Celine, Saint Laurent and Bailman have all gone through a recent change of direction and with that the Sans Serif ‘filter’ was swiftly applied.


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What will brands do next?

The difference between logomania and a lack of logos

Those who keep standing out, meaning that their logo has been kept to the original font and style, have a different approach to the whole image conveyed on social media, Instagram first. What Versace, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Valentino – just to name a few – put out on Instagram is actually a lack of logo on their Instagram. It isn’t a lack of creativity, they still post the most complicated IG grids, but is the non-presence of logos that strikes as a different direction these brands have taken.

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele pioneered into reviving logos, against the current

Gucci’s treatment of logos is the case in favour to my theory that homologating to one font isn’t an opportunity to show creativity elsewhere. When Alessandro Michele was named creative director of the label in 2015, he revived the iconic logo of the 80s and interpreted it in a contemporary key. He did not go for the whole minimalist trend, which you can call sans serif.

Marco Bizzarri, Gucci president and CEO stated in an interview with The Telegraph that Michele’s rendition was and ode to joy, not something worn by the devil.

With a label launched only in 2016, he has already been endorsed by super stars and A-list celebrities of the like of Beyoncé and Amal Clooney.


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Will Gucci ever opt for the whole discretion aesthetic in the name of ‘minimalism’? And is that really what Balmain, Celine and Saint Laurent are doing with their Sans Serif?

What if the famous white and red logo of the famous pop drink was in Sans Serif? Well, Coca Cola not only use different fonts for their logo, but actually different lettering for different languages. Call that homologating!


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