December 28, 2012

Red Wing Shoes


Author: Capsule

Topic: Profiles

Introduction Red Wing Shoes' identity is a logo heard around the world. What is now Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc., began with modest means and grew to become an international brand of handmade work boots and fashionable footwear. The classic work boots brand has widely become a fashion boot as well.

Capsule, a brand development and design firm based in Minneapolis, USA, redesigned the brand's logo. The effort had to tie into a larger brand evolution that was taking place simultaneously. This meant the logo required extensive planning aimed at transforming the logo's functional elements and retaining its existing brand equities. Red Wing Shoes' authentic American style is based on its decades of heritage—Norman Rockwell immortalized the brand in a series of drawings from 1960 to1969—and its role as a figurehead of old-fashioned quality.


Planning included the exhaustive research and study of similar changes implemented by brands such as Shell, Harley-Davidson, John Deere, and many others. At this stage, research suggested much of the logo's equity resided in the black type over the red wing. Moderate variations lost the authentic American feel that attracted consumers in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. This planning process set the foundation for the design's direction and exploration.


The process of visualizing and creating change was driven by both client and design teams with an ability to flex the design process. It began with an exhaustive exploration of possibilities that helped the group visualize change. Studies were conducted to observe the shapes of various wings. The original swan wing was the model. Type studies were also conducted to ensure that the style remained similar enough to the original. The new design improved readability and other details, such as consistent thick and thins. A toolkit was also designed to provide a variety of options for use in specific contexts. The design was refined, and the wing was hand-drawn more than ten times throughout the process.


An exhaustive online site was created for vendors to source the redesigned Red Wing Shoes logo and toolkit. The new logo was implemented on everything from signage and advertising to shoes and other clothing accessories. The result was a logo design that offers a multitude of options with a logo toolkit and design that retain original brand equity.

Source: Design Matters Logos