Today, we get our designers’ take on the recent Eddie Bauer rebranding.
NT: “My initial impression of the logo based solely on the appearance is – I like it! The sans serif set in all caps, the legibility, the minimalism, the goose – it’s all very straightforward with not much to dislike. However, I had to believe there’s more to the logo’s story than simply moving away from the script wordmark because Gen Z doesn’t read cursive (*massive eye roll*). This redesign piqued my curiosity. Maybe it’s because the brand is so iconic and had been represented by the same logo for 60 years, or because their clothes are basically all my mom wears. For whatever reason, I just needed to know more.
While reading about the history of the company, I learned that in 1940 Eddie Bauer patented the first quilted down-insulated jacket in the United States, and as I’m sure you could guess, it was made with goose feathers. Although illustrated in a simple and literal style, I find the goose icon to be ownable and unique in its meaning. I like how it reflects a milestone in the company’s history while signifying “outdoors” without going the route some other sportswear and outdoor brands do with generic icons of mountains and trees. It is also being said that the goose serves a “psychological function” (now I’m even more intrigued). In researching, a goose has been symbolically described as brave, a natural leader, constantly vigilant, and on a quest to destiny. Maybe it’s a coincidence that all these qualities are perfectly fitting for an outdoor outfitter founded by an outdoorsman with a focus on guiding and innovating since 1920, but I’d like to think it’s undeniably and admirably intentional.
I won’t even bother touching upon the Gen Z cursive topic (*insert another massive eye roll*), but the drastic update to the wordmark deserves some attention. In looking closely at the letterforms, I do see the “hand-drawn qualities” that were incorporated to maintain some of the ownability and integrity of their handwritten style. However, these details are so subtle, and it wasn’t until the logo was blown up to about 10 times its normal size that I even noticed. The brand could still incorporate a handwritten script in more secondary ways for applications such as advertising. Utilizing a handwritten script that resembles the former logo could be a nice way to contrast the new humanistic sans serif that keeps communications legible for younger generations, while also maintaining familiarity for the loyalists (like my mom) who have related to the brand for many years (and still know how to read cursive!). Not to mention, there’s something about a handwritten font that brings life and personality to a company’s branding, but what do I know, I’m a Millennial!
Seeing the logo in application on store signage and apparel, I think the brand is successful in making the necessary visual updates to stay relevant with the times and being intentional while doing so. Dare I say Eddie Bauer may be a brand that both my mom and I can get behind, and for many companies, that generational appeal is often the ultimate goal.”
DN: “A trend that makes me sad is the phasing out of script-based wordmarks. It’s not Millennials’ and Gen Z’s fault that less emphasis was placed on writing in script, yet we take the blame in seeing the shift in brands (and design in general) moving away from fonts with real personality!
That being said, I do think the rebrand was a good call as I think said Millennials & Gen-Z’ers were probably not familiar with the company. A more modern look could be the difference between them shopping there and overlooking it as a store their parents shop at. I know I’ve never considered shopping there before—it wasn’t even on my radar!
The new look is reminiscent of more trendy brands which ups their “cool” factor; however, as a result the overall brand lost some of its uniqueness. There aren’t a ton of application examples yet, but what I have seen I feel like has been nicely executed. I especially like the inclusion of the goose icon as the goose appears to have been used heavily in previous design applications.”
AA: “While I do enjoy a clean sans serif font and the wordmark is feeling more modern and refreshed, I hate that they moved away from their iconic script look. The previous Eddie Bauer logo had more personality and now it feels like it just fits in with every other sans serif font rebrand. There is a very subtle hand drawn element to the letterforms, but had it not been pointed out to me I would have missed it. I think they could have really emphasized that to give the wordmark more ownability while still maintaining the legibility they were aiming for.
I have mixed feelings about the goose. I like the meaning of the goose because it works with the story behind the origin of their products and being the first to patent a down jacket in the U.S., but I would have liked to see this depicted differently. I would be interested to see an interpretation of the goose that’s not as literal, or how it could be more integrated with the wordmark.”
Inspired by Under Consideration