Louisa Parris’ branding is yet another nail in the coffin for the ‘blandification’ of fashion labels, many of whom have, in recent years, embraced stripped back versions of historic logos and symbols. The new identity, as well as Burberry’s recent update, suggest that the tide is definitely on the turn.
Tom Crabtree, creative director at Manual, says the main focus of the brief was to push the brand forward to “be more assertive and opinionated”. Early conversations with the founder discussed her own interest in “distinct typography”, as well as her disappointment that other fashion brands were “stamping out all of their unique typographic personality and opting for deadpan sans serifs”.
The studio drew inspiration from several design movements, including Art Deco, Bauhaus and Wiener Werkstätte – all of which have influenced Louisa Parris’ approach. The brand’s garment design process also played a key role. “Louisa’s bold designs often begin as hand-drawn patterns on a square grid and then evolve into prints on fine garments,” says Manual art director Jerome Louisick.
“Her process inspired us to design a logotype that was constructed entirely on a grid structure and built from straight and semi-circle lines. The unusual sizing of the letters captures the movement and free-flowing nature of the garments while creating a logo that feels both classic and contemporary.”
Manual’s disjointed letters – which also appear in pattern form on wrapping paper – are accompanied by primary colours, and a set of illustrations created by Malika Favre, whose work emphasises the draped fabric and graphic patterns that characterise Louisa Parris’ designs.
The branding feels like a welcome change of pace although, as Crabtree points out, many of the smaller, independent fashion brands have carefully avoided the great sans-serification of the major labels. Crabtree believes this ‘blanding’ is driven by a belief that younger generations no longer relate to historic signifiers of luxury, such as crests, script type and fine serifs, but it certainly feels like the pendulum could be swinging back the other way.