Established in 1949 in New Haven, CT, Gant is a clothing brand best known for its dress shirts for both men and women. In the 1950s it helped popularize the Ivy League look of slacks and a shirt as the company had a big presence near schools like Yale. Gant enjoyed success through the second half of the century until the brand was bounced around different ownership through the end of the 1990s and early 2000s until it landed with Maus Frères, a Swiss holding company that owns department stores and other brands like Lacoste. Currently, aside from shirts, Gant offers watches, footwear, eyewear, fragrance, underwear, and home furnishings with a global presence in over 60 countries, more than 500 stores, and availability in 4,000 retailers. Earlier this month, Gant introduced a new identity designed by Stockholm-based Essen International.
After all its success in the late 20th century, Gant entered the 21st century with an ageing customer base jeopardizing the future success of the brand. We saw an opportunity to rejuvenate the brand, attracting a younger target group, and gaining larger share of wallet by shifting the core of the brand from recreational coastal living to sophisticated cosmopolitan living.
We had the ambition to reinvent a brand that had lost its halo. We wanted to elevate historical values that had not been manifested or communicated enough. Our ambition was to transform Gant into a true lifestyle brand with a hero product at the heart of the brand. We also set to streamline its treatment of visual assets, shifting from decorative elements that were given logo status to one strong visual identity viable enough to be applied to any given unit - apparel especially.
Essen International provided text
The previous Eurostile-ish wordmark was not terrible but it didn’t feel like it fit a more upscale, slim fitting dress shirt brand. It almost looked like a shoe brand more than anything. The new logo is not original per se, as it is a direct revival of the lettering found in one of the early factories, but it’s amazing what you can get when you go through the history of a company: sometimes the answer is right at your fingertips. Depending on how you feel about super extended wordmarks you will love or hate this new logo. I happen to be a fan and this wordmark is very nicely executed. That “G” could have turned out real ugly. The thin approach also helps elevate this to a luxury brand feel and seems more in tune with the overall simplicity of Gant’s products.
In addition to the main wordmark, there is a diamond “G” monogram that, if I understand correctly, is not part of the main identity but reserved to the “Diamond G” collection. This logo also comes from the history of the brand so it’s not a new addition. On its own it’s not much — it really is just a “G” in a diamond — and when paired with the wordmark it doesn’t quite pair perfectly, given the extended-ness of the other “G”. To its merit, it’s the same stroke thickness so they do match in that regard.
The application is as simple as it gets with nothing but the logo on bags, tags, and stationery. It’s a hard approach to pull off and this does it convincingly enough but it lacks warmth. It’s a little too spare, cold-color-hued, and maybe trying too hard to be luxurious. Overall though, by being rooted in its history and repurposed for the twenty-first century, the identity is a quiet and safe evolution with a slick new fit.