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Can Burberry's bold rebrand end the trend of minimalist logos?

Can Burberry's bold rebrand end the trend of minimalist logos?

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By now, we've all seen British luxury fashion house Burberry's latest logo and campaign. Love it or hate it, the new logo has definitely incited chatter across different social platforms. 

With the bold new move, Burberry under the guidance of its new creative director Daniel Lee decided to re-introduce the evolution of Burberry with an Equestrian Knight Design (EKD), the winning entry of a public competition to design the brand’s new logo in 1901. The symbol features a soldier holding a spear with a flag on it, and the initial of Burberry "B" and the Latin word "PRORSUM" meaning forwards.

According to data from media intelligence company CARMA, mentions were largely neutral, with 23.3% of positive mentions. CARMA’s GM Charles Cheung, majority of commentators from all over the world said that they preferred this new classic logo to the previous monogram, with some describing the new logo to be representative of Burberry going backward to move forward.

carma burberry graph

Much of the comments online came from the GenZ segment of 18 to 24 year olds, followed by the 25 to 34 age group. Among them, 51.5% were male and 48.5% were female.

Apart from the new logo, Burberry also surprised consumers with its latest social media campaign, which features a number of UK artists, including rapper Shygirl, record producer Skepta, John Glacier, Liberty Ross and Lennon Gallagher. 

Evolution in Burberry branding  

Industry players MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to also mirrored the sentiments of netizens globally, with majority of them having a positive view of the new logo and campaign as part of its evolution in branding.

Jacopo Pesavento, founder and CEO of Branding Records, said that the previous look Burberry donned was also seen by brands such as Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Balmain which followed suit with an oversimplification of their iconic logos.  He added that the new brand identity is a great excuse to relaunch the entire brand that lost appeal among the younger generation. 

“I think it's signalling the end of minimalism identity and more storytelling identities that will work well for the next luxury consumer generations,” Pesavento said.

Adding to his view was Yvonne Ma, managing director of Eighty20 Marketing, who said that it was wise to bring back the The Equestrian Knight Device (EKD) symbol as it distinguished Burberry and reinforced its heritage as a British brand. “This new logo is more visually appealing and is therefore more likely to catch audience attention,” she said.

She added that Burberry's previous logo with minimal, sans-serif typeface was viewed poorly since it was bland and overused. "Burberry’s fans are pleased to see it reignite its history whilst also feeling like a step forward," she added. 

Beyond the EKD symbol 

While industry players agree that the comeback of EKD symbol could clearly speak the heritage of Burberry, the redesign Burberry lettering in a thin and elegant font has also caught their attention. The new logo introduces a new font and playful serifs on the end of slightly flared bold bars. The lettering is still set in plain black, but it looks more feminine, livelier and nostalgic, say industry players.

burberry new font cap

The combination of used and new wordmark and emblem has contemporary character and personality, combining accessibility with ownability; humanity with heritage, according to Leandro Crispim, associate creative director at Elmwood Brand Consultancy. "In contrast to the previous cold-machined and minimalist Sans Serif font, the over-spaced E and intricate illustration within the emblem suggest imperfection – the true hallmark of human crafting," he added.

Apart from this, Burberry's move could also act as a trendsetter within the industry. Crispim said that the Burberry rebranding would inspire other fashion brands to move away from the over-simplification trend that hit the market in recent years and helps them embrace the uniqueness and heritage that made their brands stand out in the first place. 

Echoing his view was Ma who said that the replacement of the flat Sans-Serif typeface with a thin font with point serifs is a good move. "It is an interesting example of reverting back to what worked for their brand for so long. However, it is expected and it would be intriguing to see more creative ideas," she said.

What to remember when luxury brands rebrand

Rebranding is often a long drawn out exercise and to do so successfully, brands must remember what elements of its visual identity makes it unique and instantly recognisable. According to William Atyeo, managing creative director at Momentum Design, when an iconic brand rebrands, it has to be with a clear purpose and understanding of their current and future customers.

“With the massive growth of fashion in developing markets, brands also need to be aware of their global customer base and what they expect from the brand.” 

Atyeo added that given much of communications today occurs on digital platforms, there should also be a clear idea of how the brand adapts and communicates creatively across multiple touch-points.

Adding to his view was Kenneth Chan, client partner of We Glow HK who said that while everyone was trying to catch up with the digital trend in the last few years, brands could not forget their heritage when doing a rebranding and should create a balance between the brand DNA and the digital trend to create something different and memorable.

Branding Records' Pesavento agreed that it was a massive undertaking that required a significant investment of time, money and resources are required for an iconic brand decides to rebrand. 

“Every aspect of the brand's visual identity needs to be considered, from physical store design to online assets and packaging. It's not just a matter of updating a logo and font but a strategic move that impacts the entire company,” Pesavento said.

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