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Can luxury brands stand out?

December 8th, 2010 · 8 Comments

My recent blog, “Does your logo stand out in a crowd?“, elicited a comment stating “Can a great logo that suggests refinement and sophistication stand out as well? “. Well I never thought that luxury brand logos don’t stand out so I did some on-line research. I went to the home pages of 12 luxury brands and captured their logos in the array you see below. I aligned them utilizing the “rule” that each sample must be the same height.

luxury logo array

Now the first thing that popped out to me was the almost universal dominance of the brand name in the logo. Even the Rolls and BMW names are there even though not too prominently. The second thing: Seven of the 12 logos used reversed type (light colored type on a darker background). Third thing: except for Prada and Chris Craft, they used traditional type faces, and none used a sans serif face. Fourth thing: half of the samples use capital letters exclusively in their names. And fifth, Except for the Tiffany logo with it’s “Tiffany blue” background, there’s not much color represented in luxury logos.

As far as a small-sized logo is concerned, I’d vote Brooks Brothers being the worst of the bunch because of the lack of color contrast, the very fine lines of the type swishes, and the strange icon on the left that loses any recognition as it shrinks in size. Rolls comes in second. The only thing that saves it is the familiar RR configuration.

Now to address “anon’s” question, can a logo for a luxury brand stand out?. I’d say there are three or four examples of dominant logos in the group above, led by Prada.

Prada has the advantage of a short name which inherently leads to a clean and bold look when the typeface used is bold. Tiffany stands out primarily because of their traditional and world-famous use of  the “Tiffany blue” background. The Broadmoor with the “small” A does not diminish no matter the size and is distinctive. Finally, the Chris Craft logo is distinctive and the type face imparts speed even in a much smaller size.

So in this small sample of luxury brand logos you have some that dominate and some that don’t. I’m not sure that this proves that the logo isn’t important, but I think it does state that for this class of brands there are many attributes more important than the logo that contribute to their success.

But if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to luxury brands, get out of your “me-too” rut and dance to a differnt drummer if you want to differentiate the brand.

Tags: Logo Development

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jimmy Mill // Dec 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    This was a great read on branding and the creative variants depending on the luxury of the product. Logo and brand development and its relationship to the product’s identity are essential. Thanks for the read.

  • 2 Squeaky // Feb 2, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Great article on brands…and i agree its all in the detail. A little bit of detail goes a long ways

  • 3 Jon @nomBat // Feb 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I love the premise of this article. When I started reading I intentionally didn’t focus on Your array, I glanced and then continued reading. With my quick glance the only 3 brands that i recognized and stuck with me for the article were Tiffany, BMW, and Rolex. So much so that when you mentioned Prada i thought “wait, Prada was in that list?”

    Interesting and fun, thanks again.

  • 4 Sandra Sellani // Feb 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Whenver I look at logos in any service industry category, 70% of them usually include blue as the dominant color. Healthcare, finance, real estate. Most often the standard navy blue is used, but in general, I see blue as a predominant color across service industries . It’s unfortunate that so many companies choose to play it safe in terms of color, rather than asking what they want color to convey in their brand. Great article!

  • 5 Martin Jelsema // Mar 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    One other thing about all the luxury brand logos in the array: Not one uses warm colors.

  • 6 Luke // Apr 13, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Hi – very well written post!
    I had similar thoughts on the matter.

    Cheers

  • 7 Rawnie Hansen // Jul 1, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Good post. I have to say that I believe the logo of luxury brands DOES matter a lot and for some luxury brands is the most important part. A lot of people buy luxury brands just to be able to display the logo on their clothes, bags, shoes, etc., which then instantly gives them some sort of recognition and status among their piers and in society as a whole.

  • 8 Requirements for a company logo // Oct 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    [...] box like the new JC Penneys logo, or the long-standing American Express logo. A large proportion of luxury brands have only their name in their logos, but in a unique typeface – Prada, Chris Craft, Tiffany & [...]

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