It’s out with the old and in with the new, especially when you’re the newly appointed creative director of a major fashion brand.
As one of his first major acts as creative director of Diane von Furstenberg, Jonathan Saunders debuted a reimagined logo this week, sharing the new white block letter type set in a post on Instagram. The logo does away with the traditional “DVF” initials, and instead spells out the designer’s name in full, stacking “Diane von” atop “Furstenberg,” with a space at the top for alignment.The effort signifies an aesthetic shift under new leadership, since Saunders took the helm in May 2016, and points to a larger trend among incoming fashion leaders seeking to make a significant first impression.
The announcement was also meant to drive buzz to the designer’s spring 2017 line, his first for the brand since he joined the company in May 2016, which is available for pre-order on the website. The site also underwent a slight redesign this week, to incorporate the new logo and spotlight the refreshed aesthetic. The official Diane von Furstenberg Instagram account shared two additional posts showing the new logo, plus it shared it on its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The announcement of the updated logo
Saunders is taking a page from the playbook of Hedi Slimane, who — upon taking over as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent in 2012 — not only changed the logo but also the name of the storied brand, dropping the “Yves” and dubbing the company Saint Laurent Paris. The transition was met with both praise and consternation, with some consumers applauding a fresh look and others claiming it detracted from the 56-year-old company’s image.
Side-by-side comparison of the old and new YSL logos
‘It made sense today to transpose these principles and recover the original name and typeface,’ Slimane told Wallpaper Magazine in 2013. ‘The name Rive Gauche disappeared in the past then resurfaced several times. It seems intrinsic to the universe of Yves Saint Laurent, without it being useful to refer to it literally today. We thus went to the essential, a name that is written as it is spoken every day: Saint Laurent, unequivocally.’
Erich Joachimsthaler, CEO of branding firm Vivaldi Partners, said that while logo rebrands make sense in certain situations, in most cases, he abides to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle. He noted the infamous rebrands of companies like Uber and AOL, in which major logo design changes led to consumer outcry.
“My general rule is just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” Joachimsthaler said. “Some people, especially creative people, they are bothered with things when they get to a brand and they want to change it because they want to leave their mark.”
While the Diane von Furstenberg changes are minor, Joachimsthaler cautioned that brands across all industries should be strategic when considering a rebrand and think through larger implications for what type of message it sends to consumers.
“Rebranding can be extremely powerful, but you shouldn’t mess with something unless you really have a real reason and you want to communicate a new position,” he said. “You don’t want to do rebranding because you don’t like the design. You want to rebrand because you have another story to tell.”