"setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

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"setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:31 am

please forgive the cheesy paraphrasing of the title. briefly: i want to talk about typography in fashion, specifically in case studies of brand x using font y, but maybe we can also ruminate about general impressions we get re: how brands use typography, what brands have endearing identity design and what brands don't, creative uses of type and lettering in textiles or whatnot, why we've settled on didone serifs as the fashion-mag typeface, posting images that just meld the two in interesting ways.

currently i'm reading just my type, a book by brit author simon garfield and thus replete with gentle british deadpan. it's a fun read—it also doesn't sacrifice factual/historical accuracy in making the prose entertaining, which is something that's been bothering me with a lot of nonfiction/news writers these days. anyways! i found this quote re: the difference between legibility and readability (pg. 57 of the UK edition):

But some type is meant to be seen rather than read (a type designer once compared this attribute to a dress designed to look great on the catwalk but provide no protection against the elements). Font-as-couture is a common analogy. Adrian Frutiger, designer of one of the most popular modern fonts, Univers, had another: 'The work of a type designer is just like that of a dressmaker,' he noted. 'Clothing the constant, human form'…As with fashion, the design of type is an alarmingly vibrant art form. it refuses ossification.


i am so excited to sneak in discussion of typography and type design and branding and identity into this forum. you are all welcome.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby can- » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:43 am

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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:02 am

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i would like to start by discussing the prada logo! it's one of the more beautiful and unique type treatments around, imo. i'm not a type expert or a branding expert but here's what i'm getting out of it:

  • high-contrast but in a squared-off, blocky way. kind of indicates a forceful personality to me, but a bit of an individualistic one (probably exactly what you want to shoot for with a luxury brand). i love how rigorous and geometric some of the forms appear to be—the solid diagonal of the A extending upwards in a thick stroke, the boxiness of the counter (enclosed whitespace) inside the D.
  • the thin strokes aren't delicate the way, say, a didone typeface is. what's with those serifs? they're bracketed (aka they curve gently into the stem) but they don't really have any height to them—the curve goes straight to a thin line, and then nothingness. it looks more like the stems of the letterforms are fluted out, instead of resting on some tiny serif platform.
  • large counters: the "holes" inside the P and R and D are quite large, which is appropriate—it keeps the face readable and not too heavyset given the thickness of some of the strokes, and makes it still recognizable in small branding applications.
  • ok, seriously, what's up with that R? specifically that kind of curve that's cut out of where the leg of the R joins with the bowl-y upper counter bit. honestly it could not be there and it would still be a very strong logo…but since it's there, what i feel it brings to the table is in introducing a little more fluidity/interaction with whitespace/breathing room, since the territory of the R has a bit of the negative space poking into it…the shape kind of seems like an artifact you'd get of writing the logo's letters using traditional pen/calligraphic tools, maybe? so like a nod to tradition/heritage? or is the addition of that weird curve cutout something that makes the logo more novel? because it's this one oddity in what could turn out to be a very serious italian-dad-soberly-strolling-around-pitti kind of logo. hmm.
  • in typography there's this idea of the relative "greyness" that a face and a particular typesetting setup brings to the page, aka what the concentration of ink looks like on a page, how it's distributed…kinda feel because of the thick/thin stroke contrast, the prada logo has a very distinct presence/balance of black/white, and the greyness it brings is pretty distinctive.

tried to dig around to figure out the origins of the typeface:

from the prada group's brand description: "The Prada brand was created in 1913 by Mr. Mario Prada." so it's a custom job. it's such an idiosyncratic style i don't really know how to describe how i react to it and what i feel it conveys…modern, definitely. forceful, as i said earlier. bold. the brand, like the typeface, has a distinct personality and the style isn't supposed to fade into the background but be somewhat recognizably prada. i feel this isn't the case for the jil sander brand/logo, but that's something i'll address another time. briefly—i think the jil sander logo is intended to be crisply modern but a little more anonymous, not too idiosyncratic at the sacrifice of clean lines and a smooth silhouette.

found this cool writeup on the branding for prada candy, the fragrance. it's by a firm called alias—they extended the prada wordmark into a full typeface so they could set "candy" in the same style as the "prada" logo is drawn. the writeup is excellent:


on extensible branding in fashion, they wrote:Branding in fashion is complicated by the larger fashion houses in particular having a myriad of product – separate fashion lines, fragrances, cosmetics, eyewear – and defining themselves differently to a different audience through this different product. This can make for a confusing array of wordmarks and supporting typography which lose any sense of a brand’s singularity of purpose, content, and direction.


on the difficulties of translating the logo to a typeface, they wrote:For the four letters in the Prada logo there are similarities with various ornamental serif fonts from the late 19th – early 20th centuries, but with more inconsistency of drawing than you would expect in a fully drawn typeface…When making an alphabet maintaining these differences of drawing, this produces inconsistent but not necessarily unworkable letter shapes. Removing these inconsistencies would make the typeface a different idea to the logo. It would normalise the typeface, removes what makes it special and surprising.


alias has also done work for 3.1 phillip lim (looks like that identity isn't being used or at least isn't on the tags of the RTW stuff, though), the McQ logo (one of my favorite type logo jobs, so cute—youthful bit still with presence). i'll note now that quite often how new typefaces are created/released is by specialty design/branding/type shops being commissioned to make a typeface for a particular situation. obviously this prada typeface is never gonna get released to the public/plebeian type enthusiasts like me, because it's so strongly attached to the prada brand. but as an example: canada type's memoriam pro was initially commissioned for a special edition of the new york times. and then lots of good faces were commissioned by government agencies for things like road signage, public transport signage and maps, &c…

(p.s. i'm not sure yet if this is quite a good idea for a thread, but we'll see. comments/criticism/clarifications welcome, of course.)
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:14 am

ahhh~ ben now you're driving me crazy because

there was one woman who did design work quite similar to the supreme logo stuff—photographs superimposed with stark sans typography, various phrases that had been cut-and-pasted on colored backgrounds onto the photos. the text was supposed to bring up thoughts on body image/consumerism/whatnot. i was frantically scouring the web to provide an actual name to this and finally got it—

BARBARA KRUGER

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intriguingly, they've acknowledged the supreme logo was inspired by kruger's work. if you're down for a bit of art/style/lawsuit gossip this bit about kruger calling supreme a "clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers" is a funny read. kinda wonder of obey was also influenced by kruger? or influenced by supreme? the logos are awfully similar.

anyways—supreme's typeface is futura heavy oblique. one of the things i actually admire the most about the identity (not just because it brings to mind the totally appropriate connections to barbara kruger and what she represents/criticizes in her artwork) is how extensible it is into different themes and presentations depending on a particular design/context. to put it in a less pretentious manner: YOU CAN CHANGE THE BACKGROUND FROM BEING JUST SOLID RED and it's still recognizably supreme but a different customized version that makes you think, "ah, this is some kinda collab-y special edition thing".

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kind of similar to the treatment for the amorphous context-shifting tate museum logo and to a more rigorous degree how the USA today recipe of "blue circle with futura text next to it" allows their identity to be modified for different sections of the newspaper, different types of content, &c. here's an excellent writeup from when they unveiled the redesign.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby bels » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:32 am

Incredible copy editor who wrote the words "The art issue, starring: KIM KARDASHIAN"
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:39 am

ah, excellent catch. but when you read the other names underneath i'm not sure if it's funny or sad.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby germinal » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:08 am

I haven't read the whole thread yet but this is relevant to my interests

Things to talk about:

YSL, Saint Laurent etc;
Signatures (Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto etc.);
Block capitals (almost everyone lol);
Other Things

re: Prada - that A is just so magnificent
re: Obey - you might like to read about Shepard Fairey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_Fairey
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby Syeknom » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:12 am

The Prada A is the coolest

I kinda dislike signatures as typographic logos.

The Stephan Schneider type is excellent:

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Spaced out, thin capital letters with serifs. The white background practically overwhelms the text,
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby germinal » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:07 am

Something else that could be fun talk about is the translation of type from a perfect-looking digital image to embroidered tag and the limitations thereof
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby pips » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:43 pm

How have I not seen this thread before?

Some of the best perfume ads came from Helmut Lang, imo. I dont think I've seen a fragrance ad that hasn't relied on imagery to sell the idea of the perfume aside from this and focused on typography and copy instead, which I think is just brilliant considering that scent is something not easily translated visually without the aid of photos (even then it's still pretty difficult). And it's all told from another person's perspective, instead of the usual fragrance ad narrative that scent is something personal and that the whole idea behind the perfume stems from the wearer's feelings while wearing it, or rather, what the designer wants you to feel while wearing it.

Someday I'll get a print of this ad.

Type used: Eurostile Condensed Bold - I'm surprised actually, but I dont often see the condensed font of this type. The normal Eurostyle looks too retro for me most times but the condensed bold is visually heavy and plays well with the white space and looks good on its own with a tightness that conveys urgency. Artwork by Jenny Holzer. Art direction by Marc Atlan.

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As for the logo itself, at first glance it looks like Helvetica Condensed Bold, but on closer look and further searching it seems like it's a modified Europa Gro SH-Med Condensed. I dont like that they raised the strokes of the M's; it looks stilted to me. The G looks great here... I prefer sans serif type with capital G's that look like that instead of the usual circular G (ex, Gill Sans, Frutiger)--I only ever like the circular G in geometric sans serif types like Futura.

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I like that Helmut ads are mostly type based and more often than not the logo is displayed prominently taking up the most space in the center of the layout.I find it ironic because clients demand that designers increase logo size in ads (branding!!!!!) and as a designer that grinds my gears (because oftentimes their logos suck) but for Helmut Lang, the logo clearly communicates what the brand is all about and in fashion where the logo/brand is everything, it does its job. If you're browsing a magazine with pages upon pages of ads and photos a clean white page with simple, blocky letters is refreshing and a good break for the eyes, which I think makes for a memorable ad. This logo wont be splattered across bags or tshirts but on print it's fantastic.

Also, an extremely relevant article : http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/through-thick-and-think-fashion-and-type
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby soveryspecial » Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:38 am

schiaparelli wrote:kinda wonder of obey was also influenced by kruger? or influenced by supreme? the logos are awfully similar.


i'm pretty sure obey came before supreme, i also remember reading somewhere that a big influence on obey comes from the movie They Live:

Spoiler:
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if you wanna go deeper, check out the concept of the détournement and the situationist international. stuff like graffiti, culture jamming, 70's punk rock images, and even stuff like candid camera style pranks really stem from all that.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby spahdfgo » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:21 am

Spoiler:
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby Bobbin.Threadbare » Sat May 17, 2014 7:08 am

STORY mfg. proudly presents our own type: STORYdings

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We were going to give everyone the font mapped to each key - but this way it's a little more fun. I'm sure you can guess the above from the site header.

Expect this nonsense to get in the way of everything
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:23 pm

i have a confession: i have been neglecting this thread because i can't deal with my bbcode fuckup in the intro post. but anyways, i talked about supreme's logo earlier and this floral illustration by dutch illustrator careaux reminded me of this thread:

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@Bobbin.Threadbare, i was super charmed by the STORYdings. will you release each character piecemeal and have us guess which glyph stands for what? slow made, slow solved.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:03 am

marc by marc jacobs f/w 2014, feat. bitstream's engravers gothic
(only $25 USD! it's basically copperplate gothic without the serifs)

hard to decide between posting this here or in "fashion brands & ad campaigns", but i'm very attached to this thread and it deserves some love. the type is almost obnoxiously large, but the shape is very refined and unusual—not too squarish, and not too contemporary, super striking when the current typographic landscape is saturated with gotham and proxima nova.

the way the imagery is framed and cropped creates some super cool interactions between type & image: models are alternately obscured by type or peering from in between it. initially it feels like the type is just slapped on, harsh and strong—but they really did a good job making sure the portraiture wasn't compromised. i love everyone they photographed and how they're styled—it gives off a very pop-art-y, dorky-cool, OTT-expressivity kind of brand image that feels very thrilling.

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on the left: the line of the arms interacting with the "M", an eye peering through between the "MA" space.
on the right: the shape of the body defines the edge of the type and creates a very striking point of interest at the end of "MARC"
overall: can't get over the combo of silky jacket worn like a bathrobe x bulky oldschool-casio-y watch

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on the left: model feels anonymous as the "M" hides his features; love how the "A" follows his jawline
on the right: typical fashion profile imagery, to be honest, but the type elevates it—makes it more unexpected/loud
overall: the red hair and deep green is such a striking color combo

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on the left: love the superclose crop here—feels very emotive with her face filling the frame
on the right: love how the "A" disappears into whitespace at the edge, not as much of a fan of the "O" floating over a slightly shadowed bg
overall: probably the most clear in showing a pop-punk subculture-teenager aesthetic for the brand

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on the left: a single, arresting eye staring at you from between the "MA"
on the right: insolent expression and a slight head tilt to frame the shape of the type
overall: killer makeup, just wow. feels like a cool subversion of blush/contouring
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:22 am

a fashion friend of mine showed me the work of notter + vigne, a design agency that's done a lot of graphic (print) design work for rick owens. their work is really beautiful—stark, very crisp typography, compositions focusing on bold rectangles and juxtapositions. (super swiss.) despite the title of this thread we've never had a post on the typography and design of rick owens' stuff, so here it is!

i'm also including a lot of spreads that don't have typography on them, just because it's fun and the image compositions are really lovely. in my mind this thread has drifted a bit from being just about fashion x typography to being, generally, "designing on fashion's behalf".

here's the invitation for s/s 2014:

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some spreads from the same season's s/s 2014 men's lookbook:

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and the s/s 2014 women's lookbook! it's really intriguing to see the different compositions used for the men's vs women's lookbooks from the same season. the men's lookbook spreads feature a lot more large, isolated images (one per page), whereas the women's lookbook uses a lot of repetition of similar subjects at the same scale. of note: the small-scale type, isolated in whitespace, the use of b&w vs color images, the really great crop of the color image on the last spread.

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in general, i love the spreads and how images are composed/juxtaposed in the lookbooks—it conveys this very kind of structural solemnity/regalness that has a lot of tension. seems pretty appropriate for the rick owens brand. here's the f/w 2014 women's lookbook:

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desperately restraining myself from posting the rest of the work notter + vigne has done for rick owens so this post doesn't get too long. but everyone should check it out.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby hamburgerlady » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:10 pm

^ speaking of editorials.
would it be okay to post some of my own personal work as well?

here are my "mock-up" designs if i were to do a patrik ervell spread a long while ago.
i wasn't going to submit it anywhere, and i used it mainly for my portfolio and studying layouting:

Spoiler:
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creating a conjunction of the horizontal/vertical flow was my main focus.
my style is usually clean, so i tried my best to make everything easily readable and still visually pleasing.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:10 pm

gerogerigegege wrote:here are my "mock-up" designs if i were to do a patrik ervell spread a long while ago.
i wasn't going to submit it anywhere, and i used it mainly for my portfolio and studying layouting:

creating a conjunction of the horizontal/vertical flow was my main focus.
my style is usually clean, so i tried my best to make everything easily readable and still visually pleasing.


super cool, thanks for sharing. i'm intrigued, it would be cool to see how you use this style for two-page spreads. i do think the typeface for the introduction paragraph doesn't quite match the ervell brand, though.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:48 pm

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was asked about this the other day—margaret howell uses gill sans (with extra letter-spacing) for the mainline branding. the brief summary of this post is that gill sans may be one of the most important typefaces in british design history, and it's extremely fitting for margaret howell's aesthetic and brand image.

eric gill, the designer is an iconic figure in design history—like many designers of the arts & crafts movement, he was multidisciplinary, and explored printmaking, sculpting and stone-carving. i also feel the need to point out that he had quite a lurid sexual history, but that's not for this thread!

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from monotype's page on gill sans:

Early in his career, Gill apprenticed under Edward Johnston, the famous British calligrapher. During this time he was able to collaborate with Johnston on one of the calligrapher’s most well known projects: the signage alphabet for the London Underground system. Morison was aware of Johnston’s sans serif font, and when, several years later, he saw lettering by Gill using many of the same letterforms, it struck him that a typeface based on this alphabet would be highly marketable. In Morison’s plan, Gill Sans was to be the British counterpart to the Futura® design.


gill sans is an incredibly iconically british typeface, so it makes a lot of sense that maggie howell uses it. the BBC uses it!

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the classic penguin books designs use it! all fine british institutions!

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here's a wonderful typotheque article on gill sans that gets into the nitty-gritty of eric gill's opinions on typography and the high points and flaws of the typeface. if you are interested in typeface mechanics (down to "is this stroke too wide?"), definitely read it.

Gill Sans is the Helvetica of England; ubiquitous, utilitarian and yet also quite specific in its ability to point to our notions of time and place. As a graphic designer’s in-joke once put it ‘Q. How do you do British post-war design? A. Set it in Gill Sans and print it in British Racing Green’. As the preferred typeface of British establishments (the Railways, the Church, the BBC and Penguin Books), Gill Sans is part of the British visual heritage just like the Union Jack and the safety pin.


GILL SANS IS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE

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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby mc-lunar » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:13 pm

Here's an example of why it's important to be very conscious of font choices in advertising

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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby bels » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:56 pm

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Taken from http://witness-this.com/style/e-tautz-branding-study/ which I didn't read because the words "BRANDING STUDY" make me want to go fetal
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby Hannes Famira » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:24 am

Read more about the Céline logo here: http://famira.com/portfolio/celine
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:32 pm

@Hannes Famira, so amazing to have you post here! the Céline identity is one of my favorites (the fashion aesthetic but also the visual branding) and it's so cool to learn a bit more about it. Semplicità has a super interesting lightness and I love the rounded lowercase. love seeing how you interpreted the original scans

very motivated now to go to a Céline boutique and see if there are any small paper bits of branding (a business card for the store assistants? maybe a letterhead?) that might show the logo in another context.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby Hannes Famira » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:21 am

Thanks so much, @schiaparelli. I tried to get my hands on it too but they are very protective and won't even give away an empty shopping bag…
:/
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby Hannes Famira » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:26 am

Along with their 2015 fall collection Helmut Lang is coming out with a tightened up corporate identity. You can read all about the process of the redesign for the logo here: http://famira.com/portfolio/helmut_lang
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:11 pm

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love this—I feel it ties beautifully into this kind of 90s austerity that Helmut Lang's been carrying through in their garments for a while. kind of hope that this identity redesign also means that they'll push the sartorial identity a bit further, though—I feel like HL hasn't been properly Good or Novel for a while, and has iterated on the themes Lang left the brand with to the point of tiredness.

HL has such a rich history of typographically-driven ad work, I'm curious how their ad campaigns will incorporate the logo moving forward!



I wanted to post a bit about MONOGRAM LOGOS today, specifically the logos of loeowe and Base Range.



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loeowe's identity is by M/M Paris. from a blog post discussing the new identity, when it was unveiled in 2014:

The logotype is said to have been inspired by German-born British typographer Berthold Wolpe, hinting at the German roots of Enrique loeowe Roessberg, who established the house by giving his name to a cooperative of leather craftsmen from Madrid.

The famous anagram, originally designed in 1970 by Spanish painter Vicente Vela, has been pared down to unearth its factual origin as a branding iron used to mark cattle and leather. Packagings have also been redesigned as volumes reminiscent of library tomes, in a special new smokey-white “Humo” colour.


the beautiful curly L's are used all over their branding—embossed on leather products, printed directly onto a fabric and used as a decorative motif…JW Anderson (who's heading loeowe rn) is doing a really good job, I think, of elevating the loeowe logo and monogram mark to be very recognizable. the way he used it in the loeowe RTW show for S/S 2016 in particular felt pretty modern—a lot of uses of the monogram are kind of your typical LV/Fendi/&c old-school-luxury-house way of slapping your brand's initials on everything, but the use in the runway show felt a little more irreverent and fun.





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Base Range is a Danish/French brand that started off with women's undergarments (they've become a bit of a cult favorite—I highly recommend them but that's a discussion for another thread) and has started doing various relaxed knits. they also did 3 sleepwear sets in collaboration with BLESS!

I think their logo is super fascinating—it feels very playful and easygoing but maintains a sense of order and rigor in the jumbled-up BASE letters. the tall condensed E and the B and A that are broken up and abstracted a bit into just lines—and how the curve of the B and the S interact and provide some sense of flow through the composition—super nice. here's some pictures of their packaging and tags and whatnot from an order I made recently.

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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby oucho » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:30 am

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Quite like the sans serif font that Vogue Hommes use for their editorial titles, does anyone know what it is? Or of similar, more pared back fonts? The other fonts on the page are also nice
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Last edited by oucho on Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby Suquida » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:38 pm

Huh, nobody's posted Westwood yet?

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I'm not sure what I can say about it since I don't really know much about the ~academics of typography~ but I like it because it gives off a very medieval jizz to me, like text you'd find in a high fantasy novel. I think the globus cruciger adds to that feeling. It feels very distinctly English too at that

I've got mixed feelings about the brand itself but it's definitely one of my favorite logos/typography out there

The font is called Raphael, though Westwood's logo changes it a bit on the V and W

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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby blanket » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:25 am

@oucho

the vogue homme font is Genath Sans.

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like a lot of other fonts in vogue, it's a custom font. it was designed by Optimo and is essentially a sans-serif version of Genath. Genath was used for the covers of a number of jrp books

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deliciousssss

here are a couple of other custom typefaces and fonts vogue has used:

Vogue
"A Futura follower designed for Vogue magazine in the 1930s and released by Intertype."
Spoiler:
Here it is in a blue note poster
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Vogue AG by terminal
Spoiler:
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Vogue didot extended by terminal ft. care tags's favourite town councillor
Spoiler:
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Vogue highline, for Vogue russia, by Yuri Gordon
Spoiler:
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Re: "setting type is modern couture": fashion x typography

Postby schiaparelli » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:04 pm

supreme x the north face f/w 2015, featuring futura heavy oblique!!!

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hope some care-taggers pick this up, feel free to post your outfits to this thread~*~*~*~
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