This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Originally established as the New York Racket in 1888 by William Henry Belk Monroe, North Carolina, today Belk is a department store with over 300 locations across sixteen southern U.S. states. As a privately held business, Belk has also stayed in the family with three Belk brothers currently occupying the CEO, CMO, and COO positions. This week, Belk announced a major redesign of their stores and everything within and around them, including, of course, the logo, replacing a 43-year-old logo. The identity has been designed by Columbus, OH-based Ologie.
“Our new brand clearly communicates what our company is today and what we aspire to be in the future,” said Tim Belk, chairman and CEO. “We want to reflect our increased focus on meeting the fashion needs of our modern customers. While we will continue to meet the needs of our traditional and classic customers, we are changing our brand and expanding our assortments to attract new customers who are looking for modern, updated brands and styles. Our vision is for the ‘modern, Southern woman to count on Belk first — for her, for her family, for life.’”
Approximately $70 million is slated to be spent over the next 18 months for corporate branding and marketing, including $25 million for the installation of new logo signs in its 305 stores over the next 12 months. Signs will be installed in 60 stores before year-end with the balance expected to be installed by November 2011. Customers will also see the new logo and identity elements in store displays and signage, and newly designed charge cards are being issued this month to Belk Elite and Premier customers, to be followed by Belk Rewards card holders in March.
— Press Release
The old logo was just that. Old. Very old. I’m not sure if it has the equity or local love for people to miss it. It probably does. In exchange Belk’s customers have received a new logo. Very new. Following the lowercase, sans serif trend. (Speaking of trends, the new identity comes with a period-delimited tag line, “Modern. Southern. Style.”, that breaks a perfectly readable sentence into one-word action items). However, there is a certain vintage feel to the new logo that is rather welcome. The “b” is reminiscent of the Bloomingdales’s wordmark — as old school department store as it gets — and the tilted “e” takes us back to bell bottoms and LSD. Not too much just enough. The new Belk wordmark isn’t particularly creative or fetching but it’s not entirely generic or forgettable.
I don’t know what the new corsage appended to the wordmark is meant to be or represent other than a pretty looking flower kind of thing. The optimist in me wants to think that it’s a nod to the flourish in the old “B.” It does give the brand a younger, happier personality but perhaps a little too much of both? At a cost of $25 mil for all store signs, it better make the Belk brothers happy at least.