Why Calvin Klein's new logo is pants

I’m not one for brand bashing, logo lynching or being derogatory to my fellow design peers, but every so often I think it’s healthy to call bullshit on ‘design speak’.

This month US fashion House Calvin Klein launched their ‘New Logo’ and with it came this…


“A return to the spirit of the original. An acknowledgement of the founder and foundations of the fashion house.”

This is how it was prior to the ‘new logo’ announcement on the 3rd February.


This is the original logo, the one which emblazoned the t-shirts we wore in the 90's, and became giant billboards for Calvin Klein by doing so.



So for the layman (and fellow designers in this instance) what they’ve really done is pressed ‘caps lock’ and backed it up with a waffling statement about a return to the original spirit, which doesn’t seem to be reflected in the logo at all!

I personally think its utter bullshit like this that gives designers, especially those working within branding and I cringe when I say this… ‘logo design’ a bad rep and can devalue the important work and value we create for our client's brands.

As brand designers, our job is to take huge amounts of detailed information like company insights, market research, perceptions and positioning and distill it to create a visual language which reflects this strategic thinking. So why didn’t Calvin Klein come out with a better rationale for changing the logo?

They could have used it as an opportunity to declare that they're positioning the brand to appeal to a younger audience, or to align with the uppercase typography they’ve been using on the waistbands of their underwear. There would have been an informed and strategic reason for the change, and it could have been communicated and leveraged in a much better, more meaningful way.

So for me, Calvin Klein's new logo is pants, not because of it's physical appearance, but because it doesn't communicate to its audience what the brand stands for that it didn't before, what new direction they're heading or how they want their audience to react. At least not in the way Calvin Klein themselves have told it.

Our customers and audiences are switched on and sophisticated. They deserve more respect than to launch a cluster bomb of design vocabulary directly at them.

When your company or organisation goes through a re-brand or decides to change its visual identity, let's engage and educate our crowds, communities, fans and followers in a transparent, meaningful way. This allows them to follow you in your new direction and join you on the journey.

Is it time your company changed direction? Do you need a new visual approach, fresh thinking or a strategy to implement it?
Contact me today to see how we could work together to make the change.

Tom Love
+44 0770 893 1834
37 Elsinore Road, London SE23 2SH