Some of the news in this article are still hot-off-the-press, so may be not completely precise. We’ll update it and make some changes to it if we feel the necessity in the future
Probably, you already know it: Heidi Slimane, newest creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, has unveiled a new logo for the company. Listening to his words, he managed to redesign the existing one, used by the company for what it seems like 50 years, in honor of the founder itself – as it’s a step back to one more concise, classic past like the one he lived in.
The newest one drops the Yves from the name, leaving just “Saint Laurent” – set in one all caps sans-serif, with NT ligatures.
This incarnation wanted to be more elegant, pragmatic, clean and professional than the one we’re used to seeing, in relation to the brand. In fact, a low x-height sans-serif with a constant baseline has been used, with a real tight letter spacing, calling for exclusivity.
While all of the aforementioned things are good aspects to be presented with, inside the fashion industry, may not be fitting for this case.
Dropping the name may be a smart marketing move, as Mr Saint Laurent, founder and owner of the company already left the business ten years ago, dying six years later, on the 06/01/2008. Doing so will make the audience aware of the changes that went on inside the company with a new direction, new stylist and more – and it’s a strong enough motivation for a new logo and branding.
So, where I do feel it does wrong? I see two principal reasons right now for this logo to be a “not so good” choice. Firstly – it’s not elegant. It’s too compact, too wide both in its letters shapes and words length, while at the same time the tracking is way too constricted, not leaving enough space for the logo itself and it’s audience to breathe and relax.
On the same point, it’s not original, it looks generic, too much of the same. Just a quick glance to this selection of famous fashion houses typography will only confirm the above sentence.
Of course every of those has it’s differences, especially the Aigner & Lacoste ones – but we can surely see a trend here.
All logos here portrayed are © of their respective owners. Are used here only in an illustrative way, not claiming ownership
The old one break the boundaries of all that’s said before: unique custom lettering – a well balanced mixture of serif, sans, regular and italic weights with vertical, contrasted shaped letters.
A logomark alone against the world and all of its rules – a design that did so well that’s universally known, admired and loved, as well as the condensed, YSL vertical monogram. They weren’t perfect, nor perfectly designed (at least the monogram) but they were exclusive, original, imaginative, representative. They were good, if not great, they were a world on their own – the last one certainly isn’t, following the 1966 design, done using what it seems to be Helvetica Neue 63 Medium Extended.
Time for the second and most important reason: it’s said that the old monogram will be left inside the brand to be used on patterns, where a condensed version is needed, also the fact that the newest logo will be used on pret-a-porter products as a start, just later it will rebrand the entire company (while the oldest form it’s here to stay, particularly on beauty products division).
This move just feels wrong.
How can a company drop part of their name, refresh their identity, while at the same time use the old monogram with a letter that won’t fit anymore the new brand and name? All of this while the monogram will just plain crash with the newest wordmark, those styles are unconceivable together, they won’t ever fit on the same place. It would have been better if they designed an NT ligature condensed version, related to their unique name and used that. But there is still hope for the future, as of the majority of people reactions have been negative when presented.
A drastic change it’s required in both directions: or the company admit the error and goes back to the old, beloved identity we all know or it goes further and drop that one completely, going for the newest one – either way, there is no space for a mix of consistency in branding.