Chanel Logo: History, Meaning, And Evolution

by Mike Jansen

Chanel, a brand known for amalgamating traditional art with avant-garde creative expression, is amongst the top fashion brands in the world today.

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, popularly known as Coco Chanel, launched her fashion house in 1909. She also launched the iconic Chanel logo the same year. The Coco Chanel logo is a prominent feature in every product the fashion house creates, including jewelry, bags, and dresses. Such elaborate use of the logo has made it a dominant aspect of the Chanel brand image.

The Covid-19 pandemic adversely affected industries across the world. The global fashion industry posted an unimaginable “20 percent decline in revenues in 2019–2020.” According to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index, almost 7 percent of established fashion brands completely left the market because of “financial distress or because they were bought by rivals.” However, fashion gurus and marketing experts are of the opinion that the rapid advancements in the digital world coupled with various sustainability programs will allow the fashion industry to get back on its feet in 2022.

Top brands are making a quick comeback, and chief among them is Chanel. The fashion giant is making a speedy recovery from the pandemic as they reach double-digit this year. Chanel had reported an 18 percent decline in revenues in 2020, steeper than most of the brand’s rivals. However, after a strong comeback, Chanel will only hope to maintain their progress in 2022.

Coco Chanel started with nothing and built an empire. Their current struggle to overcome obstacles and make a comeback is a tribute to the brand’s founder.  

Coco Chanel, the designer, exuded elegance, style, strength, and grace, all of which are dominant in the iconic Chanel logo too. While the interlacing “Cs” in the Chanel logo was created to reflect the founder’s name, it also stands for sophistication, luxury, and elegance.

Chanel: a brief history

Born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, Coco Chanel led an ordinary childhood. After losing her mother at an early age, she was sent to an orphanage. Little Coco was raised by nuns who taught her how to sew clothes.  The skill she gathered at the orphanage became the reason for her turning into a fashion designer par excellence.

At the age of 20, Coco moved to Paris, where she quickly started moving up the social hierarchy. She made friends with influential people of the time who helped her become popular in upper-class society.

In 1909, Chanel opened her first store. Initially, she focused on designing hats for ladies, including wives and mistresses of the affluent. This was also the period where she learned a lot about the varied fashion taste of the wealthy.

Chanel Logo: History, Meaning, And Evolution
Chanel Logo: History, Meaning, And Evolution

On a cold morning in France, Chanel had a glimpse of her bright future. The designer had created a dress out of an old jersey to keep herself warm. Several people noticed her and asked if she could make one for them. According to Chanel, this was the moment that changed it all for her.

“My fortune is built on that old jersey that I had put on. Just because it was cold in Deauville.”

Interesting read: Giorgio Armani logo: powerful and regal.

Chanel logo

The Chanel management jealously guard their logo because it forms the basis of their visual identity. Today, the Chanel emblem has turned into an iconic symbol in popular culture.  Let us take a closer look at the logo.

Meaning of Chanel logo

The Chanel logo is considered to be a major reason behind the phenomenal success of the fashion brand. It does not come as a surprise that the designer of the now-iconic logo was designed by none other than Coco Chanel herself. While you may imagine that the two interlocking Cs represented her name, there is an interesting backstory behind its creation.

The logo’s journey begins from the orphanage where Chanel spent a chunk of her childhood. As per a popular story, Chanel was inspired by the interlaced curves she had seen in a glass window of the Aubazine Church that housed the orphanage.

The logo represents Chanel’s name and her incredible journey. The rags to riches story of Chanel can inspire everyone who wants to leave their mark in the world. The logo symbolizes her determination, faith, struggle, and success.

Black text in a white background is a common theme with major fashion houses in the world. Be it Zara or Gucci, black and white logos seem a perfect fit for legendary fashion brands.

When it comes to branding, the keyword to remember is simplicity. Whether you are a start-up or an established business, simplicity can take you a long way. The Coco Chanel logo is a mix of simplicity, class, and minimalism, which has helped the fashion house establish its brand identity.

Coco Chanel’s philosophy of “less is more” can be seen in her designs and logo.

As a business owner or a graphic designer, your priority should be to highlight the most important elements of the brand when creating the visual identity. The Chanel logo is only made of two parts: an emblem and a wordmark. Both the parts of the logo are beautifully balanced to deliver the key elements of the brand: minimalism and sophistication.

Evolution of Chanel logo

Like some of the biggest fashion houses, Chanel has stuck to its logo from day one. The now-iconic Chanel logo, which was designed by Coco, mirrors her principles of geometry, style, grace, and comfort.

We focus mainly on the various logos that a brand adopted over the years in this section. The fashion house chose to remain with its original logo because it represents the best qualities of the iconic brand.

Color palette of Chanel logo

The Chanel logo is executed in black and white. The two together symbolize elegance, perfection, harmony, simplicity, professionalism, and creativity.

A gold version of the emblem can be found on a range of Chanel products to symbolize glamor, luxury, and wealth.

Here is a video on colors that Chanel uses.

Typography of Chanel logo

Developed by Chase Babb, the Couture typeface was inspired by Coco Chanel’s handwriting. The Chanel font is used in the emblem along with all its products. The Couture font resembles traditional sans-serif fonts, such as Double Porter and RoundCut Bold.

The font was later copyrighted by Chanel.

Fun facts

  • While some consider number 13 unlucky, Chanel believed that the number brought her good fortune.
  • Karl Lagerfeld designed the iconic interlocking Cs, seen in the logo, after the demise of Coco Chanel as a tribute.
  • Black was used only during unfortunate events, but Coco Chanel brought it back to fashion since it was her favorite color.
  • Inspired by her lovers, Chanel attached charms to some of her bags.
  • Chanel was forced to close the fashion house in 1939 due to World War II. However, she reopened it in 1954 when she was 71.
  • Chanel remained unmarried; however, she had many love interests, chief among them was Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster. They had courted for 10 years. When the Duke asked her hand for marriage, she refused by saying, “There are a lot of Duchesses, but only one Coco Chanel.”

News: Chanel loses court battle in trademark dispute with Huawei.

What makes the Chanel logo iconic?

The Chanel logo has turned into an iconic symbol that portrays elegance, style, and luxury. Let us explore the various design components that make the Chanel logo an iconic one.

Simple

Some of the most powerful logos in the world are startlingly simple. From Coca-Cola to Starbucks, the biggest brands use surprisingly simple logos. A simple logo delivers important messages by highlighting only the key aspects of the brand. The Chanel logo is a prime example of simplicity. While it exudes style, grace, and glamor, it remains astonishingly simple.

Memorable

A logo that can hook your interest from the first time you see it is an emblem destined to become memorable. When a customer easily remembers your logo, it becomes that much easier for her to connect with your brand. The intertwining Cs of the Chanel logo attracts everyone instantaneously and is etched in the mind forever. Few logos have the power to captivate the imagination of its audience: the Chanel logo does it all the time.

Relevant

One of the most important qualities of an iconic logo is its relevance. An iconic emblem is always relevant to the market their brand targets. Designers and marketers use the combination of the right colors, fonts, and symbolism to create relevance. The Chanel logo not only highlights the brand’s personality and identity, but it is also relevant to the market. The black and white Chanel emblem is a good case study for designers and marketers who wish to design great logos. 

Timeless

The best logos in the world stand out from the crowd and remain relevant even after years have gone past. Timeless logos do not follow the current fads but create them with their own signature style. The Chanel logo is creative and original. The Chanel emblem does not follow any trend but was created to highlight what the brand stands for.

The above design elements make the Chanel logo iconic. While trends have come and gone, the Chanel logo stood the test of time and has remained stylish just as it was when it was created. 

Chanel logo earrings and necklaces

The Chanel logo has become a symbol of status and grandeur. The interlocked Cs of the Chanel logo creates a powerful impact on its audience, which is why the fashion house has created interesting-looking Chanel logo earrings and necklaces. These accessories are extremely popular with women of all ages.

Chanel Logo: History, Meaning, And Evolution

Final thoughts,

Coco Chanel worked hard and used her creativity to create one of the greatest fashion houses in the world. She was bold, fearless, elegant, and smart: qualities that reflect in the iconic Coco Chanel logo.

Businesses accross the world have consulted DesignBro to build their brand with logo, website, packaging design and much more.

We can help you too!

Chanel Logo: History, Meaning, And Evolution
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