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Urban Outfitters Changes Logos, Blinds Art Directors Everywhere

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 10, 2010 10:00 AM

Apparently somebody over there at Urban Outfitters got jealous over all the attention Gap received during its recent logopacalypse™ because the retailer-of-cool brand has changed its logo and… oh my goodness.

Yes, that vaguely whimsical yellow weirdness resting atop the Urban Outfitters webpage is indeed the new logo – not some hacker’s idea of a prank.

It's so wacky that it has some asking "is it for real?"

A natural first reaction is to wonder what the hell the brand is thinking. Because… well, because it resembles nothing so much as a loose splatter of scrambled eggs heaved haphazardly across an ecru wall.  

But when something is this straight-up oddball, further reflection is due. And second thoughts lead us to wonder if this isn't a little bit genius. The retailer has been transitioning from retro 1980s styles to 1990s. That logo couldn't be more heinously '90s. (Or, quite possibly, 1890s.) Moreover, who really remembers the old Urban Outfitters logo? When was the last time it really even had one? The bricks-and-mortar stores have always had one logo while the bags and other branding changed regularly. In fact, the brand's official Facebook page currently features some block UO thing that looks like a direct challenge to UNIQLO.

Urban Outfitters doesn't owe its logo anything because nobody buys the Urban Outfitters brand. It's just a retailer that is only as attractive as the bleeding-edge brands it stocks, and thus, it can mess around with its logo all it wants. In fact, it would be irresponsible not to.


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Alex Yampolsky United States says:

A typographic fiasco? Likely.
A stroke of genius? Maybe, although doubtful.
A brand revolution? Hardly.

As the author correctly points out:
"Urban Outfitters doesn't owe its logo anything because nobody buys the Urban Outfitters brand."
In a way, there IS NO Urban Outfitters brand. Perhaps, sadly, we may be witnessing another typography-driven branding debacle. As always, of course, time will tell.

November 10, 2010 10:59 AM #

Pete Cenedella United States says:

It hits me, as everything UO does, as a slightly behind-the-curve attempt to be ahead of the curve. To wit: It oozes Brooklyn Vegan, artisanal chic, the kind of high-tech 21st century hipster approach to low-tech 19th century localism that riders of NYC's L train have grown accustomed to seeing. You know, giant bushy beards and butcher's aprons and making your own cheese are in. And it feels to me like UO wanted to ride that steam train. Bold prediction: buried and/or abandoned within one quarter.

November 10, 2010 11:13 AM #

Nancy Bauer United States says:

Agree completely and love the way you write.  

Thanks for the (wry) smile this morning.

November 11, 2010 10:16 AM #

laurent Canada says:

I hope they didn't pay more than $150 for that logo. A first year graphic design student with a freeware version of Photoshop could do a better job.

November 10, 2010 01:40 PM #

Chris Cunningham United States says:

The whole website looks bad. As a designer, I get there trying to be different. Zig when other's Zag, but ew.

November 10, 2010 02:27 PM #

richard United Kingdom says:

'Cult of the ugly' returns.

November 11, 2010 04:38 AM #

siobhan mulholland United Kingdom says:

Not a great visual identity, I wonder what the actual brief was and what the logo should be evoking?

Working backwards, perhaps it was something to do with being an 'uplifting experience', 'transeasonal and gender agnostic' and 'styles converging''...?

Anyone know?

"YIKES" is my official line.

November 11, 2010 05:26 AM #

Mike United States says:

My 9 year old daughter came up with a logo for her grade school that was more creative than this!  Seriously!

November 11, 2010 10:51 AM #

Karl Solberg Norway says:

There's no reason to hope that there's an ingenious reason for bad design. Bad is bad – period.

November 11, 2010 11:19 AM #

Muriel Pritchett United States says:

The entire web site has the most horrendous typography. I can't guess whether it is intended as an inside joke or perhaps sarcasm, or an attempt at retro, or if someone is letting the receptionist design the web site. In any case, I don't believe the type at the top is intended as a logo so much as a masthead. A really ugly and amateur masthead.

November 12, 2010 04:45 PM #

A Sauer United States says:

Well, I think that UO is a brand that, in the stores, is all about presentation. But when it comes to online, the brand doesn't seem interested in even attempting to recreate that same retail advantage. It's just offers "whatever."

November 12, 2010 10:13 PM #

Comments are closed

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