Burberry, Calvin Klein and the changing face of fashion branding

From Burberry to Berluti and Calvin Klein, global fashion brands are replacing historic logos with more minimal designs. We take a look at what this says about the world of haute couture

Earlier this month, Burberry revealed the biggest change to its visual identity in over a century. Its 160-year-old logo – which featured the brand’s name underneath an image of a knight on a horse – has been replaced with a surprisingly minimal word mark created by Peter Saville and Burberry’s Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci.

The logo was revealed alongside a new monogram which spells out TB (the initials of the brand’s founder, Thomas Burberry), inspired by a logo from 1908. Speaking to Dezeen, Saville described the logotype as a “complete step-change” – one that “taps into the heritage of the company in a way that suggests what the twenty-first century cultural coordinates of Burberry could be”.

Burberry is now the third fashion house to have recently replaced a historic logo with a new design. Last year, Calvin Klein revealed a new sans serif word mark (also created in collaboration with Saville), and in February, Berluti revealed a new graphic identity designed by M/M Paris.

The #ThomasBurberry Monogram August 2018

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All three redesigns coincide with the appointment of a new Creative Director. Calvin Klein’s new logo marked the arrival of Raf Simons, the former Creative Director of Dior, while Berluti’s signalled the start of Kris Van Assche’s role as Artistic Director. Tisci recently took over from Christopher Bailey, who stepped down in 2017 after 17 years the company.

Each of these brands has replaced a distinctive and well-known logo with a simpler – one that feels, at first glance, a little less distinctive. In Burberry and Berluti’s case, serif letters have been replaced with bold caps, and Calvin Klein has removed its lower case c and k – letters which have been used as a monogram on everything from sweatshirts to perfume packaging (and have been widely copied around the world).