Zara, one of the leading and most popular global brands, caters to both men and women across the globe. Both the brand and its logo have a long history that attracts even those who have little to do with fashion. Owned by the INDITEX Group, Zara has over 1,400 stores in more than 70 countries worldwide. Jointly founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera, the brand gained worldwide recognition and success over the years with its brand value at $14.7B.
It has also ranked in the World’s Most Valuable Brands 2020 on Forbes list. The fashion brand’s logo perfectly matches the understated yet matured style of its products. This blog is all about Zara’s history, success story, and of course the evolution story of its iconic logo.
History and Founders
The story began when Ortega launched a dress making factory under the name of Inditex in 1963. Its success led him to the retail business, for which he had a big vision. Ten years after launching a small store named as Zorba in La Coruna, Spain (with Rosalía Mera), he then renamed the brand as Zara with no specific intention. It had a meager budget of 30 Euros. Gradually, Zara expanded its business from the small town in Spain to the remaining parts of the country and then to Portugal. By 1989, ZARA made it to the United States of America.
Since then, every year Zara has been expanding in various countries across the globe. During the 1990s, Zara expanded to France (1990), Mexico (1992), Greece, Belgium and Sweden (1993). Zara inaugurated its first stores in Japan and Singapore (2002), Russia and Malaysia (2003),China, Morocco, Estonia, Hungary and Romania (2004), the Philippines, Costa Rica and Indonesia (2005), South Korea (2008), India (2010),and South Africa and Australia (2011). Today, the fashion brand has approximately 6500 stores across 88 nations around the world.
In line with the online shopping trend, they also extended their stock online in the year 2010 in Spain, France, the UK, Portugal, Italy, and Germany. In the later part of that same year, Zara Online walked into five more countries: Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The brand’s digital stores were officially launched in the United States in 2011, Russia and Canada in 2013, and Romania, South Korea, and Mexico in 2014. India in October 2017.
Secrets behind Zara’s Outstanding Success
Here’s the unique selling point (USP) of Zara.
- Zara has remained true to its brand core values, expressed simply by four key characteristics that define their products: beauty, precision, functionality and sustainability.
- Not many clothing brands can match steps with the latest fashion while maintaining their quality of products and selling them at a competitive price. No wonder, Zara is one of the largest international fashion brands and its founder, Amancio Ortega, is one of the richest people in the world.
- Since its very beginning, the key objective of Zara is to make luxury fashion items accessible to a large group of people. Thus, they somehow managed to democratize luxury producers of products. Today, Zara is capable of offering trendy and quality products at affordable rates. They also want to be close to the young generation, which is evident in their recruitment policy. They also conduct frequent surveys to understand the customers’ needs and respond to them quickly. This is what gives them a competitive advantage over others.
- For an iconic brand like Zara, quality always comes first. For effective quality control, every item goes to one of their 10 logistics centers in Spain to be thoroughly checked and double checked before reaching the store shelves.
- Zara’s value chain is perpendicularly integrated, which has many advantages. They can have full control over the entire manufacturing process, from product design to final product. Due to their smooth operation of distribution centers and warehouses, they have an efficient supply chain. They can also deliver their products within a wide geographic range within a short timeframe.
- They have a wide range of products from casual fashionable wear to formal wear, bags, jeans, dresses, trousers, tops, skirts, and fashion accessories that can be found under the same roof. However, not every Zara store sells the same type of clothing. The objective is to diversify and control what each store will receive, from clothing lines to their colors, style and fabric.
- Another factor that sets Zara apart from its competition is that they don’t just launch one product range every season. Thanks to their huge design and marketing team, Zara has the capacity to identify the latest trends and act accordingly. This way they can launch multiple trendy and relevant collections post the initial seasonal launch. They always stay relevant to their consumer needs.
- Their customers are at the heart of their unique business model, which covers design, production, sales and distribution through their extensive retail network. IT integration is another important aspect of Zara’s business strategy, as it facilitates information sharing between various joints within the company.
As already mentioned, Zara’s key business strategy is to make fashionable clothes accessible to all. And the secret behind this lies in their pricing strategy. The prices are typically set according to the country, locality, and demand for their products in that particular area. Their products are available at surprisingly affordable rates as they don’t spend money on any paid advertising or raw materials. They manufacture products according to the target audience’s demand; they set a budget that helps them choose their materials wisely and continue with their production. Zara also tags its products locally, depending on the state or country.
These factors, together, help them earn profit depending on the market. Since their pricing is quite reasonable, Zara gives discounts only once or twice a year. They believe that their customer loyalty doesn’t just depend on their brand value, but also their quality of products and the unique fashion statement they look for.
Design Elements of Zara Logo
The Zara logotype is a perfect example of a simple yet booming brand identity. The current wordmark features a custom typeface with tall narrowed letters entwined on their bottom parts, and the leg of the letter “R” curled and a little elongated. The black color of the logo stands for the style, elegance, and excellence of Zara’s high-end products. The wordmark is so famous that despite being one of the leading fashion houses in the world, Zara doesn’t publicize, mostly depending on sale promotions and its highly unique corporate identity. Simultaneously, the Zara logo has also been criticized for being overly simple, generic and mundane.
Controversy Regarding the New Zara Logo
The new logo font looks similar to the signature typography of Fabien Baron (Baron & Baron founder), who is also Zara’s artistic director. Baron is also the creative director of various luxury brands such as Dior, Burberry and Maison Margiela – possibly indicating Zara’s objective to reestablish itself amongst other high-end fashion houses with rebranding. As a brand founded back in the mid-1970s, Zara seems to secure its place among the older, more successful brands of the world, rather than among the new generation of regular retail brands.
The revised Zara logo design has been criticized by fellow designers, especially typographers, who have tagged it as “claustrophobic”. The German typographer Erik Spiekermann, who lately worked with Adobe to transform unfinished Bauhaus designs into fonts, took to Twitter to name it as “the worst piece of type [he’s] seen in years”. He questioned if it was created by “one of those new robots that will replace humans”.
Fabio Basile of British design studio Fortnight also mocked the design using a meme that foresees the logo in the next eight years, if the brand was to follow the same rebranding pattern. The revised font type has no space between the letters, with each one directly intertwined with the other, making the logo illegible and confusing. There could be many reasons behind the ideology of the new squashed logo design, but the fact is, the audience loves it (and that’s what matters the most).
Evolution Story of Zara Logo
There are not many fashion brands that have such a huge global recognition as Zara does. Although the logo has undergone a few changes in its tenure, it has always remained simple and strict to uphold the brand’s iconic presence in the fashion world.
1975 — 2008
Created in 1975, Zara’s first logo featured a classy and clean serif typeface, executed in a monochrome palette. All capital letters of the wordmark were bold and rightly balanced, and its font was very similar to that of the TT Tsars Bold and Calmius SemiBold, with the curve of the letter “R” slightly modified.
2008 — 2019
Having existed for around 30 years now, the company now decided to give its logo a new visualization. This was done to make the logo perfectly suitable for printed materials, digital media, product labels and internal tags. The redesign of 2008 slightly changed the logotype, retaining its previous style and flavor. This time, the letters were placed far from each other, featuring wide and shortened letter shapes. The new square design gives the logo a more confident and serious look, pointing toward the brand’s proficiency, supremacy, and timelessness.
2019 — Today
Zara once again changed its logo in 2019, retaining the monochrome palette and drawing out the sheriff of the bold alphabets. The existing wordmark goes in a custom font with tall tapered letters entwined on their bottom parts, and the leg of the letter “R” curled and elongated. The font is stretched out and the characters are superimposed on each other.
Font and Color of Zara Logo
The Zara logo resembles the accessibility of luxury fashion products. Hence, it features only the brand’s name – basic, compact, and comprehensible to all lovers of trending wardrobe items. The current Zara logo design deviates from the contemporary design trends to put up a classic and timeless look – much like many other high-end fashion brands.
Its bold, all-caps logo perhaps indicates something about the company’s ambitions to secure its place amongst the top luxury fashion houses in the world. The iconic black and white combination resembles a much-needed change in the times of ornate and colorful logo designs. It also signifies the availability of fashionable things for everyone.
There are two more logos based on the primary one – one for the men’s collection, the second one for the Home. The first logo variant is featured in monochrome and has the same spelling as the primary one. Only the word “man” is positioned in the lower right corner and has a different font – bold, sans serif, and a capital “M”.
The latter Home logo is used for home accessories and is made of two parts arranged in tiers – one at the top of Zara and the other one below the word “Home”. Since both the words have the same number of characters, they are placed exactly one on top of the other. All the letters share the same width, height, and font. There are no serifs as the emphasis is on practicality rather than style.
Zara’s unique logo design, considerate pricing and ground level efficiency has helped them reach new heights of success in every nation and every market around the globe. Unlike other fashion brands that need to promote its products to its customers, Zara doesn’t engage in any aggressive promotion of their brand or products.
Instead of the traditional marketing techniques, the fashion brand uses social media as an increasingly popular mode of communication with their existing and prospective consumers. Zara has millions of followers on their social media accounts. Their aim is to reduce advertising costs and build new stores instead. Branding has an all new meaning for Zara.
Very interesting, isn’t it?
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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.