Versace, a fashion brand known for creating some of the best haute couture and accessories, tops the list with the best fashion brands, such as Gucci and Giorgio Armani. The high-end fashion brand is also known for its unique logo.
The iconic Versace logo is based on a Greek mythological creature, Medusa. The Versace siblings played in the Reggio Calabria area as children, where the founder of the fashion brand first noticed the portrait of the mythological creature. Medusa struck a chord with Gianni Maria Versace. Years later, he used the creature’s head as the centerpiece of the iconic Versace logo.
Apart from creating some of the best apparel and accessories, the fashion giant is committed to creating a pollution-free climate. The fashion brand has gone fur-free and created sustainable boutiques. Additionally, the fashion house committed to being net-zero along with sourcing 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Versace: a brief history
Founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace, Versace is known for creating innovative and colorful apparel and accessories. Before launching his company, he designed for Complice, Callaghan, and Genny. His designs quickly became famous, which led him to open his own brand. The Italian fashion designer launched his first fashion store in Milan’s Via Della Spiga under the name “Gianni Versace Donna.”
Pop stars including Michael Jackson and Elton John were among his famous clients. Since Gianni designed for several popular celebrities of the time, he was described as a “Rock n’ Roll” designer. The Italian Rock n’ Roll designer also created haute couture for Princess Caroline of Monaco and the Princess of Wales.
The fame experienced by the legendary fashion designer was short-lived. On July 15, 1997, Gianni was shot dead by Andrew Cunanan outside his Miami home.
After the fashion designer’s tragic death, Santo and Donatella Versace, Gianni’s siblings, took over the fashion brand.
Santo was declared the new CEO, and the creative director’s position went to Donatella. However, the two siblings could not retain the popularity of the fashion brand, which resulted in the profits declining.
While efforts were made to save the declining fate of the company, the fashion giant had to sell a 20 percent stake to The Blackstone Group, a New York City-based investment management company. The Blackstone Group purchased the stake for €210 million in 2014.
The Versace logo
Before using the famous medusa logo, the fashion brand used two different wordmarks. The Medusa logo was designed by Gianni Versace, taking inspiration from the portrait he had seen in ruins of Reggio Calabria as a child.
Gianni first introduced the wordmark in 1980, even though the brand came into existence in 1978. We will explore all the logos that the fashion house used but first, let us take a closer look at the meaning of the various emblems.
Meaning of Versace logo
The first two logos used before the iconic Medusa emblem were black and white wordmarks. Like most iconic fashion brands in the world, Versace chose black and white color schemes to portray elegance, purity, and substance; however, Gianni changed the wordmarks for the dynamic Medusa logo.
What does Medusa stand for in Versace logo
In Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess associated with war and wisdom, created Medusa. According to legends, Medusa was one of three Gorgons named Gorgo. Gorgons were female monsters with wings and snakes in place of hair. Anyone who looked into Medusa’s eyes would turn into stone.
Gianni was a man known for collecting objects relating to mythology. He chose Medusa’s head as the centerpiece of his logo design to emulate the disturbance and the beauty that one felt on seeing Medusa for the first time.
While Gianni never revealed the intention behind choosing medusa’s head as his main design element for the logo, he always suggested that his brand represented fatal beauty, just like the Greek monster.
Evolution of Versace logo
1980 – 1990
The first logo that the fashion house used came two years after the brand was launched. The first logo was a monochrome inscription made of a typeface that resembled Sophi Sophi Regular from the sans-serif family. The two parts of the designer’s name appear very close to each other. The wordmark exuded class, sophistication, and luxury.
1990 – 1997
The brand overhauled its existing logo with a new wordmark which was smoother than its previous counterpart. The capitalized lettering was executed in a bold sans-serif typeface which appeared close to Radiant RR Bold. The parts of the name were also separated, making it appear cleaner.
1993 – 1997
The iconic Medusa logo replaced the wordmark in 1993 and has remained with the fashion house ever since. The head of Medusa was enclosed in a thick circular frame. Apart from the monochromatic color palette, the logo also appeared in gold, depending on the product. The first version of the logo was designed by Gianni, which portrayed class, style, and fatal beauty.
1997 – 2008
After Gianni’s tragic death in 1997, the new company owners changed the brand’s name to Versace, removing the founder’s first name. Following the change of hands, the company partially changed the logo. New adjustments were made to the Medusa logo—the emblem was redrawn, along with a new arched wordmark finding its place beneath the insignia.
2008 – Present
The present version of the iconic Medusa emblem was created with a lot of accents and details. The Jade version of the logo appears rich and classy. The 2008 redesign has two versions: the first one is the Jade version with a lot of lines while the second one is minimal. Both logos are used depending on the category of the products. The current version of the logo also has a horizontal wordmark placed beneath the emblem.
While the fashion brand has changed its logo five times in its 40-year-old history, they have stuck to their timeless element—the fatal beauty of Medusa.
Color palette of Versace logo
Versace logo uses a combination of black, white, and gold depending on the product lines. The fashion brand uses black to portray power, elegance, style, and professionalism, whereas white is used to symbolize purity, virtue, and freshness. The fashion house also uses gold to portray wealth, glamor, luxury, and success.
Typeface of Versace logo
As mentioned above, Versace used Sophi Sophi Regular and Radiant RR Bold, both from the sans-serif family. However, the brand now uses Radiant as its official font. Created by Steve Jackman and Robert Middleton, the Radiant typeface was published by Red Rooster Collection
Fun facts about Versace
- Donatella presented her collection at the Ritz Hotel, Paris in honor of her bother: the same hotel where Gianni presented his last collection before being murdered.
- Donatella runs a world-renowned fashion empire; however, she cannot sew.
- Gianni created supermodels by paying them large sums of money. He also befriended many royalties and celebrities of his time, including Madonna, Princess Diana, Cher, and Elton John.
- In 2000, Jennifer Lopez made her Grammy Awards appearance wearing a green dress designed by Versace. The green chiffon dress got a huge media coverage.
What makes the Versace logo iconic?
The longevity and the effectiveness of a logo lie in the way it is designed. Several design elements must come together in harmony if you wish to create a logo that would have the potential to become iconic over time. Whether you are a start-up or a small business, the visual identity you create goes a long way in establishing your brand identity.
The Versace logo is a true masterpiece. Well balanced, attractive, and effective, the Versace logo is one of the most powerful visual identities in the world. Let us explore what makes the logo so popular even after decades have gone past.
The Versace logo is relevant
You have designed a great-looking logo, great! But is the logo relevant to the market your brand wishes to target? The first question that should pop into your mind before designing a logo is its relevance. Unless you design a logo that clearly communicates the key personalities of your brand, your design efforts will go in vain.
The Versace logo uses Medusa’s head to convey the fatal beauty that the brand stands for. The fashion house intelligently used the dangerously beautiful Medusa in a circular frame to convey style, glamor, beauty, and elegance.
If you wish to use a symbol as your logo, taking a look at the Versace emblem could be a good start.
The Versace logo is simple
Simplicity is a key ingredient that makes a logo iconic. A simple logo is clean and does not have any excessive design elements. It is to the point and highlights only the main personality of the brand. FedEx, for example, uses a simple wordmark with an arrow hidden in it, which conveys speed.
The Versace logo is simple and to the point. While you might think that the symbolic use of Medusa’s head is far from simple, it is to the point and highlights the key personality of the brand—fashion that flirts with danger.
As a designer, you can limit the use of excessive creative elements and let the design breathe.
The Versace logo is memorable
A memorable logo grabs your attention the first time you see it. It never fails to hook your attention and remains etched in the memory forever. A company creates a compelling logo to generate the interest of the people towards the brand. It is really important to create a unique design that will attract the audience and connect them with your brand.
The Versace logo never fails to attract its audience. The mythical monster, medusa, attracted men towards her beauty, and when they looked into her eyes, they turned into stones. Similarly, the Versace Medusa always attracts its audience but without turning them into stones! However, it reminds everyone of femme fatale.
The Versace logo is timeless
One of the most important traits of a great logo is that it remains effective and relevant even after years have passed. Time never has an adverse effect on logos that do not follow current fads to appear modern. They don’t try too hard to appear contemporary. They are uncomplicated, relevant, and trendy, regardless of time.
Take a look at the best logos in the world; they have remained unchanged since they were created. Be it the golden arches of McDonald’s or the iconic globe of Pepsi, they have struck a chord with the audience and have remained relevant through the passage of time.
The Versace logo was designed almost two decades ago, and it appears more contemporary than the logos created today.
Versace: the controversy
In 2019, the iconic fashion brand became the recipient of criticism after the “image on of their T-shirts appeared to imply Hong Kong and Macau were independent territories,” according to an article published on BBC.
After facing harsh criticism from the Chinese government, the fashion house stopped selling tops and apologized for their error.
Few logos are as creative and as attractive as the Versace logo. While the Versace Medusa emblem reminds people of the dangerous monster, she is still the epitome of beauty and seduction. No wonder so many people ventured out to the ocean in search of the desolate island of Sarpedon just to gaze at her beauty – secretly of course!
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Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.