More essential, geometrical and streamlined. A new generation of brand logos is invading the fashion and textile industry and the global market. Here, Sportswear International investigates what reasons might be behind this trend and if, in the era of internet, logos can still be considered effective means through which brands communicate their own identity and new strategies.

Coincidence or trend?

Francesco Morace, sociologist
Francesco Morace, sociologist
It’s a matter of fact that many brands have opted for logos with simpler designs, easier and clearer images in the last seasons. “Logos continue to play a key role in defining a brand’s identity,” commented Francesco Morace, sociologist and president of Future Concept Lab, a strategic advisory company and market trend observatory. “In recent times we have consulted many companies that wanted to redefine their identity and future strategies and most often the redesign of their logo was key in providing new energy to their future projects. For most of our clients we focused on essential graphics and simple lines because – especially in crisis years – a company has to concentrate and give new value to the ‘heart’ of their own experience, expertise and specialty. And it shall not be confused with the ‘core’ of one’s activities – which are simply the basics. Through a rejuvenated logo we prefer to show a company’s vital essence and not simply their competence.”

Everything changes - nothing changes

El Naturalista logo
El Naturalista logo
Among some of the brands who recently redesigned their logo, for instance, there is El Naturalista. They opted for a bright green, much more essential lettering and substituted their traditional frog symbol with a stylish graphic of the animal that reminds of two “M” letters, positioned one on top of the other. “We have tried to make our logo easier without losing our origins,” commented José Maria de la Peña, chief marketing and communication officer of El Naturalista. “We were looking for a modern look. For this we chose a fluorescent green, a color that is present in nature though also has a big technology attribute.” And referring to the animal that personifies the essence of their brand he explained: “Also our frog has evolved to become more modern, though underneath its skin it is essentially unchanged. It is never satisfied, always jumping and fighting against stagnation in a simple and uncomplicated way.”
New Petit Bateau logo
New Petit Bateau logo

Another brand that recently restyled its own logo is Petit Bateau, a French 123-year-old brand willing to maintain a modern spirit. “Our brand has maintained its saling ship logo though opted for a more stylised image,” commented Giorgia Seriello, managing director Petit Bateau Italia. “The brand has evolved through the years though kept its sober playfulness intact.”

The longer one’s history the harder the task

Colmar runway show
Colmar runway show
There are brands that have a longer tradition and heritage such as, for instance, Colmar, Italian sportswear and outdoor brand born 93 years ago. “Our brand is now facing a moment of growth,” explained Stefano Colombo, marketing manager and owner of Colmar. “Therefore, before we refreshed our logo’s graphics we preferred to redefine our own DNA and made an in-deep analysis of our own brand identity. We recognized four founding elements – sport, style, innovation and history – that also have to be associated with our sporty and dynamic attitude, our Italian style and long history. Thanks to this new approach and our more essential logo image we can now look towards the future with a much more defined strategy and convey our brand’s message clearer and more effective.”

Too much noise, too many brands

Carhartt logo
Carhartt logo
Today, in a market crowded with fast growing fashion brands, appealing luxury brands and proliferating independent brands, it is extremely hard to see the results of sharpening one brand’s image and logo redesign in order to reach a clear target, according to Antonio Mastrorocco, owner of the Italian One-Off brand consulting company. He commented: “Only a few brands such as, for instance, Carhartt, did a flawless 15-year work of constant redefinition of their identity and created own clear codes. Only in cases like these thanks to a constant and coherent work of brand identity building - done on-line and off-line - a logo becomes a mean for making a consumer feel part of a brand’s world.”

The web discriminant

Antonio Mastrorocco, One-Off
Antonio Mastrorocco, One-Off
When Google announced its logo redesign in September 2015 by launching a more essential and simpler version of the one they presented in 1998, they explained that they opted for this more linear logo version because today more and more users connect through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This means they want to see the results of their searches in faster time. And these simpler versions can help users to visit their favourite websites faster. As a consequnce, for instance, Google can get more viewers and therefore, revenues.

Similarly also fashion brands want to be reached easier and faster. “Today a logo’s restyling has to meet the needs of on-line visibility. Minimalistic graphics and names have to prevail and, looking at the Supreme brand, for instance, the brand well explains how this process has evolved,” continues Mastrorocco.

Fresher logos are cool for ingredients and fibers

Garmon logo
Garmon logo
Redefining one’s own logo is not simply related to brands that consumers recognize and buy but also to industry players and fiber manufacturers. For instance, Garmon Chemicals, dyeing and treating chemical substance manufacturer, has completely refreshed its logo to a grey writing with a capital G and a red arrow. “We chose this new logo as a powerful metaphor for a positive break and an innovative change,” commented Alberto De Conti, chief marketing officer of Garmon. “The logo is the face of any brand and its very first impression. So its design is extremely important,” he continues. “We realised that the need for the restyling of our logo could have been an opportunity for us and our clients. To differentiate ourselves from the competition, we must distinguish ourselves as a chemical company with outstanding products and a distinct style. Internally the new logo is there to remind us to be innovative and stand out from the crowd and externally we hope the new logo sends out a clear message that reminds of its magic and that Garmon’s chemistry constantly renews and strengthens itself.”

Coolmax logo
Coolmax logo
From January 2016, as part of a new communication strategy, Invista will also introduce a new logo for both its Coolmax and Thermolite brands, two fibers with cooling and thermo-regulating properties used within the company’s apparel and non-apparel segments. “Based on extensive consumer research, our new logos reveal a more contemporary look for the brands while they also symbolise the product benefits with appropriate colour tones – blue for cool and dry with Coolmax brand and red for lightweight warmth with Thermolite brand,” commented Dave Trerotola, president of Invista Apparel and Advanced Textiles. Also fibers the consumers recognize need to look new because final users are always more competent and demanding. They need to see also a change in the aesthetics of a fiber presentation and not only in its performance.
An old saying “The eye wants its part” is never wrong, especially if it relates to logos.