This week we’ve seen Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci team up with Peter Saville and co. to create a new logo and pattern for the British fashion house. As one of Britains most iconic brands, we’ve all come to recognise the plaid of Burberry which is perhaps their most famous asset. We’re not sure if the new pattern is to replace it yet or just compliment their existing pattern but we’ll come back to the pattern in a sec.
In terms of the logo as the you can see from the pictures it’s not particularly inspiring. Especially from a company which is meant to be at the forefront of design, even more so when you consider this took Peter Saville 4 weeks to complete. It’s a generic sans typeface, tight kerning at least with spot on spacing but that should just be given really. What we’re really concerned about is the loss of the knight which could have been a nice icon to play with. The pattern is all right, it’s a TB monogram which stands for Thomas Burberrry and was pulled from the Burberry archives so at least it’s got some substance to it. That being said if Burberry were to lose there existing pattern for the new one it could be a major loss of brand equity considering they’ve already dropped the knight.
So, I suppose the real question is why? Why rebrand to such a painfully dull logo which makes you look like everyone else. I’ve stuck some comparisons of recent rebrands across the fashion industry, Balancing and Yves Saint Laurent am looking at you.
To really understand the logo change we have to head back in time to November when Burberry announced a revamp intended to "re-energise" its products over several years. That includes taking its brand further upmarket, queue sans serif logo & closing stores that are not in “strategic" locations and creating a "centre of excellence" for luxury leather goods. Which turns out is a great cost cutting effort to help boost profits by losing stores and staff. So far so good right? But, what are the wider implications of this cost cutting effort? Tim Jackson, head of the British School of Fashion at the London campus of Glasgow Caledonian University, reckons luxury fashion firms such as Burberry face a paradox. To satisfy shareholders, they have to keep expanding even if that risks "diluting their identity and creating excess stock", he said.
The Bigger Issue
Even worse than losing brand equity though and a bad logo is a dangerously unethical brand strategy. By creating excess stock whilst you’re downsizing in stores means that product has to go somewhere. Infact just last year alone Burberry destroyed £28.9 Million worth of stock. Yes, nearly £30 million worth of plaid went up in smoke, literally. Burberry does this to stop old stock being stolen and resold, which would ultimately cheapen the brand. Pretty much every major fashion house does this by the way. Richemont, which owns the Cartier and Montblanc brands, has had to buy back €480m (£430m) worth of watches over the last two years. So whilst Burberry are putting people out of jobs and making people redundant in their stores so they can appear more upmarket. They’re also shelling out for millions of pounds worth of excess stock and paying to get rid of it.
At a time when the planet is on it’s knees with global warming, the ocean is full of plastic, food banks are the normal across the UK.What’s to stop Burberry, which is leader in the British creative industry to look at that waste and do something creative with it all. It’s time for major players, not just in the fashion industry but across the private sector to start reflecting on their own spending habits and brand strategies and start looking to make them more ethical.
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