Logo or no go: the big Burberry debate


Aoife Chew

Director, London

Categories Blog

Talk of the design world last week was British heritage brand Burberry causing a storm with the unveiling of their new logo, with many asking ‘WTF?!’

‘I love the way Peter Saville purged the Burberry mark of everything superfluous, like personality, style, heritage, and visual appeal, and included only what was essential, like an explanation of where London is’

Max Phillips, Signal Type Foundry

2018 has shown an appetite for the past and there’s been a resurgence of the monogram trend and loud luxury. Not since the early noughties has there been more presence of bold logos than now. Some of us might remember a time before social media when statement ‘IT’ bags and ready to wear labels were worn loud and proud. But post economic downturn saw a shift in luxury and premium codes becoming more subtle and understated. And now as fashion goes full circle maybe Burberry are just following suit behind other big fashion houses (Fendi, Dior, Gucci).

Missy Elliot 2004 in monogram Christian Dior, and Rihanna 2018 in Gucci monogram
Kylie Jenner, Fendi monogram 2018

So is this a case of jumping on the bandwagon or a moment of genius? Some have speculated that the intention was to drive appeal amongst Millennials by abandoning old imagery and authenticity. When in fact it’s authenticity and individuality which are central to the appeal of luxury brands for many of this cohort! This is undoubtedly a case of an iconic brand taking a risk by neglecting its distinctive brand assets.

‘It just went Walmart! Crests are earned. Education information transformation of a brands values require culture building. It’s harder work to bring people up to your level and easier to dump down to the masses.’

Karen Hoisington, Brand strategist

Let’s not forget, Burberry has successfully reinvented itself before – who can forget ‘chav check’ (Goldie Lookin Chain anyone?). After becoming a victim of its own success and spawning an industry of counterfeits synonymous with anti-social behaviour, the brand managed to turn itself around and reaffirm itself once again as high-end luxury.

No doubt the way the logo will be deployed across the brand’s numerous touchpoints will be key. The days of a flat logo are gone – in this digital, multi-touchpoint age, identities are flexible and adapt to different applications, so how they build richness and emotion around this new ID will be central to Burberry’s success.

But not everyone is questioning this move – experts in the field continue to debate;

‘In marketing we tend to read too much into heritage, DNA and what not. People today are more for simplicity and direct appeal.  Every top luxury brand is trying to appeal to a wider target audience to keep the profits flowing and their stock holders happy. Snobbery is no longer trendy’

Julie Chan, VP Marketing JHM, China

‘Burberry is re-focusing around the product, its audience, and the way to reach them: Innovative products for digitally connected people leveraging forward-looking influencers. Within this context I can follow the move to refresh the logo’

Mirio E. D. De Rosa, Making brands known and desired

‘I’d trust Peter Saville’s judgement any day’

Simon Mackness, Freelance creative .

Whether it’s a highly strategic move from this iconic brand remains to be seen. In the meantime we’ll be waiting on tenterhooks to see how the new Burberry will translate to the catwalk, with London fashion week in September set to reveal all!