Aside from dozens of design blogs, I happen to read plenty of tangentially themed blogs when time permits. I’m no fashion hobbyist — my daily jean-and-t-shirt attire can confirm that — but I am a regular reader of The Sartorialist, Put This On, Svpply and Fashionista. The latter providing that new school journalism that mixes sarcasm and irony with a deep understanding of the topic at hand. As part of the Breaking Media network of blogs, Fashionista has grown to be one of the most read blogs in the industry, attracting 400,000 unique visitors a month. After living and publishing with a blackletter logo since 2007, Fashionista decided it was time to rethink it as it migrated its back-end from Movable Type to WordPress.
The old logo was this oversized, domineering, gothic lettering thing that said “spiky, aggressive, old-school news brand.” That’s not what Fashionista is. The editors of Fashionista are excellent journalists who will be critical when it’s called for, but they’re also unashamedly fashion lovers. They might poke fun from time to time, but they’re not spiky or unnecessarily aggressive. And they’re also inherently new-generation when it comes to how they go about their business — they use a blog platform, Flip cameras, smartphones and various social media to deliver their content and engage their audience — so unless we were being very ironic with the gothic, old-school newspaper font thing it just wasn’t really appropriate. I love a bit of irony as much as the next guy, but even if that was the original intention it also gets tired when it’s a logo that tens of thousands of people re-visit every single day. I’m also a big believer that the logo and furniture on the site should be a little subservient to the content — it’s the content that engages and the content travels well beyond the site too — so we also needed something a little less imposing.
— Jonah Bloom, CEO/Editor-in-Chief, Breaking Media
The redesign was done by Felix Sockwell — a regular commenter on Brand New — who created a lovely, custom wordmark that feels far more appropriate for Fashionista than the old logo did. In my opinion, fashion identity can be oversimplified to two categories: Bodoni or Didot for high-end fashion, and blackletter for street fashion. But I digress. Considering that, according to their media kit, 91% of their readers are women, the new logo caters more to that audience not by being simply girly but by being softer and more meaningful. The subtle dimensionality gives the logo a very nice boost and it’s something that looks great on screen, but could easily translate in one color in print. The concept of it being like a piece of thread is far more relevant to fashion than just a typeface choice, and few others do the single-line treatment like Felix can. Below is one of the alternate ideas as well as various sketches to get to the final logo.
The moment I saw Felix’s work on his blog I felt like he had a style that could be right for Fashionista. He’s done quite a bit of work for women’s brands and I like that he tends to create lettering that flows. I asked for a few different ideas, ideas that could work not only for a website but for, say, a storefront, and what really blew me away was that Felix didn’t just interpret that as “a few different looks” he actually came up with ideas — one of which involved bringing products into the logo dynamically, something we may still play with. The version we ended up going with originated from the idea of a piece of thread. We liked that notion because the craft of sewing is still so key to fashion design, but we also didn’t want it to be too overt and as Felix played with treatments to move away from that being obvious he hit on something that also had a neon-diner-sign quality to it, which appealed to me because I love 1930s – 60s diners and that sort of Americana. I also love that because it’s white out of black, like a neon strip on a backboard, it allows us to change it throughout the year — and make that background a color relevant to the season.
— Jonah Bloom