In the world of branding, being different means standing out from the the competition. But have you noticed that the logo and brand identity design of many global brands are all becoming a little bit similar? When you put the brand logos of billionaires’ watch favourite Hublot and Chanel side by side, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were seeing double. And when you run through a list of the world’s greatest luxury and lifestyle brands, it’s the same story. The Louis Vuitton logo looks mightily like Calvin Klein. Burberry and Balmain are kissing cousins.

Celine dropped the accent in its logo – a move to make itself more accessible, while Yves Saint Laurent lost the designer’s first name to make their name snappier. Balenciaga, Diane von Furstenberg and Balmain have also rebranded in recent years. All of these luxury fashion brands’ new logos are now virtually indistinguishable. Even the British super brand Burberry has erased 165 years of its history by changing its logo into a big, bold, blocky, capitalised sans serif typeface that spells out a brand wants to go global and appeal to all… just like all the others.

Should new brands take the same approach to brand identity?

We understand the need to simplify logos, as they need to work seamlessly across different markets and multiple formats in today’s multi-media world. But we also find that by standardising the format and fonts in the same way other brands do, you lose emotion, uniqueness and market standout.

At SO, we believe that new and emerging niche luxury brands should avoid this design trend seen by luxury global brands. A new brand with a lack of heritage and brand loyalty mean that a distinctive logo is important to help them forge a strong brand identity. Making your brand different from others helps you stand out from the competition; it’s the cornerstone of branding philosophy (we’ve written about brand differentiation before). A striking logo, considered tone of voice and powerful visual identity will make a brand that people remember, reflecting its unique personality and values, and adding to the brand’s story (read more on how to write a great brand story here!)

As an experienced design and branding agency, we have helped many luxury and niche brands develop a unique brand positioning and personality that shines through every message they send to their audience. Through carefully crafting distinctive visual and verbal cues, we create a brand identity that’s easy to relate to, easy to tell apart and easy to buy from. And that gives our clients a competitive advantage. To illustrate this point, below are just a few logos we have designed for start-up luxury brands.

There are plenty of brands who have hung onto their sense of self and personality – and are immediately recognisable. Coca Cola, Vespa, Salvatore Ferragamo and Perrier-Jouët have changed little over the years, while Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney have nurtured a quirky edge that perfectly reflects their brand values. Even when Liberty revamped its logo earlier this year, the purveyor of eclectic design chose to hint at its Art Deco roots while updating the brand for the now.

One thing that the Covid crisis has taught us is that local is beautiful, small and considered works perfectly well. Keep your eye out for the host of newcomer niche brands who play little visual games with their logos: luxury Italian vegan shoe brand Nemanti, US House of Bijan menswear and German fashion brand Akris, each proclaiming hand-made and one size not fitting all. Diametrically opposed to big, global and the same.

If you need help to create powerful brand positioning and brand identity design for your niche or luxury brand, please get in touch.