February 23, 2012

Brooks Brothers

Best Practices

Author: Michael Hogdson

Rip Georges' work for Brooks Brothers in 1998 and 1999 is an equally distinguished example of identity evolution.

A millennium was ending, and Brooks Brothers, who had been around for 180 years of it, was facing a problem common to well-established brands of a conservative nature: their buyers, too, were old, conservative, and established—and getting older. They needed to attract a new crop of dapper dudes.

But how do you refresh your brand without driving away the conservative buyer? How do you get the old dudes and the young dudes to shop at the same place? The company had to find the sweet spot between dignity and stodginess. It had to welcome new customers without looking desperate.

The bold Bodoni preexisting Georges' involvement was stodgy. It needed to go. Georges made his case for change to the Brooks Brothers script through careful research. Combing through the company archives in Washington, D.C., Georges saw many subtle changes to the brand over the years. "I saw enough variation that I could make my case," recalls Georges. "And I was very interested in the old monograms and typestyles with more truncated script. They reminded me of some of the past work for Esquire."

Georges created a new Brooks Brothers script with a clearer baseline, truncating the alphabet by lopping off the bottom of the letter B. He then created a monogram double B that could be used in advertising. "My one disappointment is that the monogram has more or less been abandoned," says Georges. "But I see the script as we designed it all the time, and that is very gratifying."

All good things will come to pass: in art, fashion, and blueblood brands like Brooks Brothers.

Source: Recycling & Redesigning Logos