Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saks' Logo Gets a Makeover

By Sandra O'Loughlin

NEW YORK -- Saks Fifth Avenue in January will unveil a new logo that will appear in advertising, shopping bags, merchandise and marketing materials. Pentagram Design developed the logo, which was incorporates Saks Fifth Avenue's classic script logotypes and the geometry of the perfect square, a shape that has become central to the identity of the retailer, from its catalogs to its employee pins.

The move is the latest initiative in a revitalization strategy under Stephen Sadove, who in January became CEO of parent company Saks Inc.

Under Sadove's predecessor, Brad Martin, the upscale department store tried to become more edgy in an effort to appeal to a younger consumer, a strategy that did not work. Sadove is on a mission to repair the store's image by ensuring stores stock merchandise for its core 48-year-old customers and at the right inventory levels, re-instituting its private label brands and bringing back petite sizes. Several of the stores have been remodeled.

A branding program and signature visual created by splitting the logo into 64 square pieces and then re-sizing, rotating and recombining them will appear on stationery, storefronts, charge cards and more. Designers including Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin, Albert Kriemler of Akris, George Sharp of Ellen Tracy and the design team of Moncler are collaborating with Saks to develop exclusive items incorporating the new visuals.

"Graphic, bold and sophisticated, the new branding initiative is not only a redesigned logo but a new visual language," said Terron Schaefer, group SVP, creative and marketing, in a statement. Schaefer anticipates the logo will become an enduring icon like that of Burberry's Nova Check and the Louis Vuitton LV.

Saks operates 54 full-line stores in 25 states as well as 50 Off 5th Outlet stores and saks.com.


  1. Not sure about this. It looks like it's stuck in the 1950s. Also, what's the story with the part of the letters cropped off on the left side of the square?

  2. This redesign was based heavily on Massimo Vignelli's Saks logo design from 1973. You can still see the original on older stores.

    I have mixed feelings about it overall. It's still a powerful design, but the logo-in-a-square motif is already a little played and it's not as much a step forward, as it is a familiar step back.

    Still, the current logo represented a Saks that alienated its long-time customers by going too contemporary. Though it was a tasteful, modern take on luxury, the 1995 logo represents a lot of ill will among established Saks shoppers. It was time to chage it.