RIMOWA, the Mercedes of luggage brands, has given itself a new visual identity and simultaneously relaunched its logo. When looking at the new logo, one has to mention that it is actually the logo – otherwise one might assume it was plain text typeset in a sans serif font.
And this is where the drama starts. When new brands are designed today, we try to build an interesting story around the brand to give it depth, independence and credibility. Rimowa has all of this: a Cologne-based entrepreneur established the brand in 1898, and the first aluminium alloy cases featuring the unmistakable grooves came on the market in 1937. An innovation whose future success story was to a large extent shaped by the product design. Since the 1950s, the logo has only ever been changed incrementally through a range of facelifts, and has always been developed with caution.
Successful brands have no need for radical changes. Consumers love brands that tell a story and have an identity. They trust brands and a logo is, after all, known to be the symbol of a brand. Examples of successful logos that do not deny their origin are Prada and Hermès. Brands that are as successful today as they were then. They are synonymous with both tradition and innovation at the same time. Their heritage is anchored in their brand’s logo. The tension between logo and innovative products is interesting, and it enriches brands and gives them depth.
In a visual analysis of Rimowa’s “old trademark”, there are of course weak points when it comes to design and typography. The rounded typography is very much of the 1970s – it appears compacted, the spacing is not optimal, and the mark could do with some more tension and excitement. But this could all have been approached with caution. The M, the W, the label – in short, all the special features of the brand– everything is gone now.
The trend of very clear, reduced scripts for logos is currently at its peak. However, does it make sense to simply follow a design trend?
A design trend is not the same as aesthetics, which has various concepts, one of which is solidarity. Solidarity comes from trust, belonging and identification. Brand managers and brand consultants should engage with this more intensively before they rob a brand of this value.
A cautious step, as in the years before, would surely have been sufficient to align the brand with the spirit of the times.
It now looks impoverished and robbed of its identity. In my opinion, this step shows a lack of authority and self-awareness on the part of the company.
The RIMOWA logo was a symbol, an indication of quality. This symbol has now vanished.