Established in 1991 with a store in the heart of Soho in New York City, Armani Exchange (A|X) provides clothes that “define a new dress code with a collection that takes its cue from urban lifestyle and music culture.” In other words, really expensive jeans and white v-neck shirts among other swanky clothing. A|X today has 165 stores worldwide and can be found in upscale department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. Like the rest of the Armani empire — which, by the way, had revenues of 1,620 million Euros (US$2,354 million) in 2008 — A|X has sported a Bodoniesque wordmark that has become fairly recognizable yet at the same time inundated by the fashion industry’s preference of Didones (also called Moderns). This Winter, A|X will begin rolling out a revised wordmark created by Chermayeff & Geismar, led by partner Sagi Haviv.
Chermayeff & Geismar’s design team inverted the logo, so instead of dark letters on a light background with a dividing line, the A and X are in white, sitting in two dark boxes with the slash now implied by the space between them. The firm also redrew the A and X to make the thick diagonal strokes parallel and to accentuate the contrast between the think and thick lines of the letters.
— Press Release
More than a complete redesign that might dispose of built equity, this approach allows A|X to appear mostly unchanged but still able to look revitalized. Kind of like a good haircut, where it’s still the same basic structure but something makes you do a double-take and reconsider what you are looking at. The old logo had bracketed serifs — meaning there was a slight curve where the serifs met the diagonal lines — which made it look a little softer and the new, unbracketed serifs add a touch of toughness and even a feel of classicism. I also prefer the less elongated letterforms and the new implied slash, all bundled together in a nicely tight package.
The redesign will probably go unnoticed by the majority of consumers, but eighteen years with the same logo could potentially start to hurt the image of a brand that must stay with the times, and this subtle make-over is a perfect segue for another couple of decades.