The Burberry Logo and the History of this fashion brand.
Burberry introduced a new monogram and logo in 2018. Designed by Peter Saville, the fresh logo heralded the company’s new dawn under the new head of the creative department Riccardo Tisci. The updated Burberry logo design was quite radical because it got rid of the classic “Equestrian Knight” and labeled the brand in a bolder, more modern font.
The new austere Burberry logo has the brand name written in uppercase letters and a smaller “LONDON ENGLAND” text below it. It seems that Burberry took the well-trodden path of simple design approaches employed by Chanel, Tom Ford, Fendi, Céline, or Louis Vuitton.
The Burberry logo designers also found a way to interlock the Ts and Bs creatively, making a “TB” monogram inspired by the luxury fashion house founder’s initials. The monogram will feature heavily in promotion and brings together a stunning combination of the renowned Burberry beige, classic white, and orange honey. The monogram dated way back to 1908 and came about after Tisci visited the Burberry archives.
In a sense, Burberry’s first experiment in almost two decades was a balanced tactic of abandoning a globally renowned design feature (Equestrian Knight) and retrieving something from their archives (Monogram).
The Burberry Logo Evolution
For over 100 years, Burberry’s visual identity has been portrayed by an equestrian along with his charging horse. The iconic logo hasn’t changed much throughout Burberry’s existence, but the company opted to make a significant change in 2018, removing the equestrian from the prominent emblem.
Here’s how the Burberry logo has evolved over the years since the original version was introduced in 1901.
The Burberry logo was originally designed in 1901 and had a red emblem above a wordmark. The emblem portrayed a horse rider with a shield and pike and took almost the entire space.
The pike was a weaving flag, with the shield featuring a decorative letter “B” and the inscription “Prorsum.” The caption below the emblem was executed in uppercase letters in a thick serif font, looking strong and authoritative.
1968 — 1999
This time, the inscription stole the thunder from the emblem. The emblem was abstract and small, just a black solid shadow, minus any letters and details. The Burberry inscription was rendered in title case with a faint “Of London” slogan in uppercase below it, written in a serif font like the main inscription.
The Burberry logo now appears more like a luxury fashion house visual identity, signifying elegance and style and portraying an influential brand with legacy and history values.
1999 — 2018
The 1999 redesign balances the logo, making the emblem larger and the inscription a bit smaller. The equestrian has his white contours returned, and the wordmark is now in upper case letters of a stylish serif font, which looks much more like the Bodoni family of fonts, with thin serifs and silky, sophisticated lines.
The slogan is now only “London” in uppercase letters, rendered in the same typeface as the main inscription, but in thinner lines and smaller size.
The logo design is harmonized and appears classy and professional, reflecting the famous fashion house’s best aspects and accenting its immense expertise and experience in apparel manufacture.
2018 — Present
The present Burberry logo was designed in 2018 and reflects the new era of the brand. It portrays a youthful and modern approach to design, emphasizing the energetic and progressive character of the fashion house and its inclination to follow the latest trends and make them.
The inscription is usually used alone, but it’s sometimes accompanied by the slogan “England London,” which is also rendered in capital letters. The “equestrian knight” has been done away with from the logo, but it’s still on the brand’s tags and packaging, not to mention the patterns of branded clothes and accessories.
The Burberry Logo Design Elements
Symbol: One of the most recognizable emblems in fashion is the “equestrian knight” Burberry logo. It was created in 1901, featuring the Latin name “Prorsum,” which means “forwards.”
As the owner and founder of Burberry, Thomas Burberry was keen and cautious to protect his business interests. He had the logo registered in 1904, and in 1920, registered the eponymous Burberry check. The check only began appearing on the raincoat lining in 1924.
Burberry’s visual identity embodies a horse rider carrying a shield. Although the shield symbolizes protection, the equestrian depicts grandeur, pride, and purity.
Colors: The black in the logo represents the elegance, durability, and strength of Burberry’s products.
Font: The current Burberry inscription in capital letters is rendered in a contemporary sans serif font, which looks very much like Urania Extra Bold typeface, created by Dieter Hofrichter. The inscription is a stylish twist on the old-fashioned sans-serif, with bold clean lines and distinctive cuts and angles.
The History of Burberry
Burberry is a tour de force in the world of fashion. After developing its fabled check design, the company endured an era of mass imitation from rivals that tested it to the limit. But shrewd recruitment and revocation of licenses helped the company reclaim its image, and it has since grown in leaps and bounds.
Below, let’s take a look at the phoenix-like story of Burberry and why it’s one of the most popular and recognized luxury fashion brands in the world.
Let’s start with where it all began, more than a century and a half ago!
Thomas Burberry established his label Burberry in 1856. At just 21, he had huge ambitions!
He made a tightly woven material known as Gabardine that represented some kind of liberation. This material was fitted into his rainwear clothing and was resistant to wet conditions, which thrust Burberry into a useful alternative to other labels at the time.
Burberry steadily grew its reputation, and in 1891, the founder moved the company to London. It was there where his even more popular designs quickly enjoyed fantastic success.
Popular Burberry Designs
Building one of the most popular fashion brands in the world is no mean feat. But someone was determined to do it and did it successfully. Not only that, Thomas Burberry went an extra mile and came up with another classic design which went on to be the British Army’s official uniform.
Here are some of the most famous designs from Burberry:
The trench coat: In 1912, Burberry came up with one of its most trademark creations—the trench coat. But Burberry and Aquascutum, one of its competitors, are in a never-ending dispute over who officially invented the trench coat.
Despite this 100+ years dispute, Burberry’s trench coat helped make the brand more popular since the British Army used it during World War 1. Apart from British troops, a renowned polar explorer named Sir Ernest Shackleton wore a Burberry trench coat on some of his expeditions!
The Burberry check: Following the massive popularity and success of the Gabardine rainwear, Burberry took a step further and invented the trench coat, but it wasn’t done yet. The fashion house raised the stakes with a signature design, the Burberry check, in the 1920s. This design was made from a beige-based Scottish tartan and accentuated by red, black, and white.
Transforming Burberry’s fortunes for several decades, it wasn’t long before jealous rivals started making imitations of the fabled Burberry check.
The Decline of Burberry
Burberry suffered a double whammy, nearly losing everything in the process. First, there was the problem of imitation. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Burberry check was one of the most copied designs in the world of fashion.
In a bid to raise the sales, Burberry embarked on a large-scale licensing campaign, but this only stoked the fire even more. That fire is known as ubiquity, and it can bring down luxury fashion houses. Ubiquity can weaken a brand since it’s considered to be commonplace, which goes against the norm of what luxury items are about.
Burberry realized that its ubiquity would make the brand lose its status as a luxury fashion house because upper-class consumers were looking elsewhere. To maintain the brand’s reputation, Burberry launched a campaign that ultimately ended up saving the brand.
Burberry launched a campaign to reclaim its brand identity under the leadership of Christopher Bailey and Angela Ahrendts.
One of the company’s first measures was canceling licenses to boost its exclusivity and reduce the Burberry check use to about 10% of its products.
Burberry drastically reduced the usage of its signature product because football hooligans were widely using the check. The seedy nature of football thugs was starting to erode the brand value, so Burberry decided to make the check less ubiquitous.
Evolution or revolution? Either way, the campaign produced phenomenal results.
Burberry has wrestled back its image despite various pressures and now records sales of around £2bn annually.
The company now produces ready-to-wear clothing, fashion accessories, fragrances, cosmetics, sneakers, sunglasses, and plenty more!
Now, Burberry continues to go from strength to strength and faces its future with lots of innovation and confidence. With a brand new logo, created by Riccardo Tisci and Peter Saville and inspired by the founder Thomas Burberry, Burberry is poised to have a bright future and is expected to be one of the most recognizable British fashion brands in history.
Burberry Key Timelines
1856: Draper Thomas Burberry establishes Burberry in Basingstoke. His original aim was outdoor-ready apparel that Lord Baden Powell and Lord Kitchener approved.
1879: Burberry manufactures Gabardine, a tightly-woven fabric.
1891: The first Burberry store in London is opened.
1901: The “Equestrian Knight” Burberry logo is designed, containing the Latin name “Prorsum,” which means forwards.
1911: Burberry becomes the apparel provider for the first person to get to the South Pole, Roald Amundsen.
1914: During World War 1, the British Army wears the Burberry trench coat in the trenches. Dubbed the “Tielocken,” the trench coat protected the whole body and had a belt but no buttons.
1999: Burberry’s changes its name to Burberry. The company’s signature product, the Burberry check, is sold widely and, in some cases, hurts the brand.
2001: Designer Christopher Bailey is named Burberry’s creative director. He’s tasked with reviving the company’s flagging fortunes.
2006: Burberry CEO Rose Marie Brave steps down, and Angela Ahrendts (the then Apple vice president) takes over. During Brave’s tenure (2006-2014), Burberry sales shoot up to over £2 billion.
- Together, Ahrendts and Bailey took the check pattern off all but 10% of products and reclaimed fragrance beauty licenses. Bailey gave the brand a heavy British identity and restored it on the world fashion map.
2009: Burberry headquarters are moved to Horseferry House, which was designed by the same company that designed the London Stock Exchange, New York Times Building, and Apple’s European jewel on Regent Street.
2013: Burberry comes up with “see-now-buy-now,” letting customers buy runway items directly from the 2014 Spring/Summer collection online and through mobile soon after the show.
2014: Bailey is named Burberry CEO and also retains his chief creative officer role.
2016: Céline CEO Marco Gobbetti takes over as Burberry CEO, replacing Bailey, who continues as president and creative director.
- Burberry London (accessories and trench coat), Prorsum (read-to-wear), and Brit (casual wear) are all scrapped and placed under one umbrella label Burberry.
2017: Bailey retires.
2018: Bailey is replaced by Riccardo Tisci.
- Burberry introduces its new Peter Saville-designed Thomas Burberry-inspired monogram, and logo.
- Burberry bans the burning of all unsold items and starts using fur to make products.
- Riccardo Tisci introduces his first Burberry collection.
Summing Up the History of Burberry
From football terraces to wartime trenches, Burberry’s story is a compelling one in British fashion history. Now, with Riccardo Tisci appointed the new head creative officer, it’s set to change direction and face the future with confidence.
Steeped in tradition with a trademark trench coat range that was introduced in 1912, Burberry is a symbol of quintessential British style. Burberry hit a few bumps on the road in the 1980s and1990s but bounced back to become one of the major luxury fashion brands in Europe and the world.