Rebranding a fashion brand: what we can learn from Zara

In the world of fashion, it’s all about trends. Sure, trends come and go and most of the time styles come back full circle. In recent years, we’ve seen both 60’s and 90’s fashion being revamped for modern consumers tastes. If fashion brands are constantly trying to find new ideas – and sometimes, updating old ones – their own branding changes along the decades as well. 

I’ve recently come across an article on Zara’s rebrand, which happened earlier this year and came across a lot of criticism. As I write this article and typed ‘Zara rebrand’ in Google, the first few results are actually mostly about the negative reviews the rebrand sparked before coming across a more positive article such as the one on The Drum. 

What’s the new logo like?  

The new design includes a simple typefont, which is a signature mark of Baron & Baron, the French agency that created the new design. Letters are close together to create an overlap and the letters Z and R have more curves than the previous design.  

Some of the comments and criticisms made against the rebrand included a ‘claustrophobic’ design and ‘disappointing’ rebrand. It has even mentioned that the logo was ‘kerned by robots’ or ‘the worst piece of type [they] have ever seen in years’. 

The trend for simpler brands 

Rebranding is a difficult exercise for all companies, but more specifically fashion brands where a logo and name need to be recognizable and can even appear on apparel and accessories. As Jonathan Ford from Pearlfisher New York wrote, a number of fashion brands have actually updated their brand due to spacing issues – i.e. too much space between letters in Zara’s case and too little in Yves Saint Laurent’s. There has definitely been a trend in the past few years of brands design becoming ‘simpler’, shapes ‘flattened’, maybe reflecting a need for more straight-forward logos. 

Is all change bad? 

Most people react to change focusing on the change itself rather than the actual result. A dramatic change might be ‘too much’ while a small change could be mocked, as it was the case for Zara. In that case one can wonder, can brands ever redesign their logo without causing chaos? 

As you can probably guess it, there isn’t a simple answer here. A brand isn’t something set in stone and, as the company evolves, the logo and brand can evolve too. It can be difficult to predict what consumer’s reactions to the new design will be, but if it is in line with the company and what the brand encompasses, it has all the chances of being a success. 

What has Zara gained from this? 

If anything, Zara has gained considerable coverage from this rebrand – we’re writing about this right now! – and a few months on, the new logo has found its place online and in stores. 

Zara has set the norm when it comes to premium high street fashion and the new logo is a bold choice to set the company apart in a world where luxury brands have opted for sleek all-caps branding. It’s an elegant and edgy choice that inches the Spanish giant closer to high-end rivals while maintaining its individuality and personality – an important trend in the world of fashion right now. 

What do you think of Zara’s rebrand? Do you have any example of successful rebranding or failed ones? We’d love to hear from you! 

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