Increasingly, a designer puts as much energy and resources into their brand image as they do into their collections. Many work with graphic designers to “express the philosophy and character of the line to the customer” (pg 535), and this is done through the creation of a brand logo, and even ad campaigns.
Gloria Vanderbilt is an early example of basic name as logo. Her name alone was licensed for jeans she had not designed.
The underlying importance of the introduction to the reading is that of the increasingly intertwined relationship between graphics and fashion. Blanchard discusses Belgian graphic designer Walter Van Beirendonck, who talks about the “language between designer and public” that is created through graphic communication and brand identity (pg 536). Several examples, such as the brand development for Stella McCartney and Yves Saint Laurent’s houses are discussed. McCartney is mentioned because of the unique situation her graphic designers were presented with when they were commissioned to create a logo for her: she already had a strong brand image but needed to create a new one upon launching her own label under the Gucci umbrella in 2002. YSL has been known to have the longest lasting and most universally-recognized logo. He is also mentioned as being one of the first fashion designers to work with a graphic designer before the trend became popular in the 1980s.
After the introductory segment of the reading, Blanchard brings her case study into focus. The relationship between Paul Smith and Aboud Sodano is one of the more unique business relationships in both the fashion and graphic design industries for several reasons. The first being that they have worked together for over twenty years and have very relaxed interactions with each other every three weeks or so.
The next, and probably most interesting aspect of this relationship, is the fact that Aboud did not make many changes to the Paul Smith logo, which had already been established. He only slightly refined the signature logo and added the now recognized colorful stripes in 1996. Before the stripes became a part of the logo, the brand had simply used black and grey, despite being known for extremely colorful collections. Aboud says, “We do stuff on a whim and a hunch,” nothing is created by a committee or out of market research (pg 542).