Rebranding is the new advertising
In the wake of Zara’s new logo unveil, designers all over the world lost their cool.
It’s been kerned in its sleep.
Has it been made by robots?
Looks so weird, someone get me an aspirin.
Me? I’m more concerned with Zara’s motivation behind this rebranding exercise. Officials claim that Zara wishes to align itself with some of the high-end luxury brands by refreshing its image. Since, one of the biggest design trends of 2018 was the incidence of ample space between two characters (as seen in major tech company rebrands such as Uber), a super-tight logo such as this, helps Zara stand out. This, of course, seems slightly gimmick-y given that Zara’s previous logo was already doing a decent job of setting it apart from other fast fashion brands such as H&M and Forever21. But aesthetics are terribly subjective, as witnessed in the millions of Twitter threads that followed the new logo reveal.
What’s not subjective, though, is actual, tangible quality. It’s a tall order to live up to the standards of luxury brands. So, if Zara claims that it wants to be more elite by possibly creating a new category, the quality of its merchandise should also become better, right? Simply redesigning the logo to outwardly seem like you’re changing, when in fact, your products are still very much the same, is misleading and quite honestly, tacky. Now, it’s not that I am against rebrands in general, but when you try to better something, it’s only fair that you do justice to the cause. It is futile to change appearances when your core is still what it was. At the end of the day, the customer returns for the quality and not the image.
Zara is not the first company, though, to receive backlash for trying something new. A couple of years ago, Instagram changed its look to appear more brutalist, invariably angering millions of users. But over time, its redesign was backed by distinctly newer features that became indispensable to content creators everywhere. The world saw powerful additions to the app such as stories, IGTV, live videos, multiple photo uploads in a post – features that would’ve looked too cramped had Instagram retained its old look. What does this mean? Rebranding is not, or rather, should not be an exercise in merely updating one’s appearance. If that were true, a brand would just be about its aesthetics and not its services. Undergoing a visual change should happen only if the previous design was not appropriately aligned with the offerings or if the company is changing its core values to give something different to its audience. Any other attempt at a rebrand is a waste of time and resources that can otherwise be invested in improving the overall customer experience.
That being said, Zara seems fairly confident with its new look, which could hint at something big in the pipeline. Whether you love it or hate it, this ultra-cramped logo is here to stay. At the moment, I’m not a fan, but I do think it has the potential to grow on me provided Zara does something tangibly better to support this change. Until then, I think I’ll take that aspirin.