6 Art Execs Weigh In On Fashion Week's New Controversial Logo

Today, New York Fashion Week got a shiny new logo and campaign, thanks to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The blue-and-orange design — those are the colors of NYC's flag — was developed with brand strategy agency Redscout, and the dashed lines represent garment stitches and city streets. The need for a logo came out of a conversation between the CFDA's CEO and president, Steven Kolb, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to WWD.

Expect to see the logo at all off-site shows and presentations that are not part of the "official" William Morris Endeavor/IMG calendar, which were held at Lincoln Center and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz up until February. Retailers, fashion schools, and cultural institutions can apply for usage rights of the logo.

We asked a half dozen art directors and creative types to sound off about the...questionable aesthetic merits of NYFW's branding refresh. The consensus: Sports analogies abounded. Go, team NYFW, go?!
Photo: Courtesy of the CFDA.
Alison Matheny, creative director, BEST: “I dig the color-combo nod to the Florida Gators [college football team], and the subtle reference to FedEx's widely known branding. But, damn, this looks like it was made in Microsoft Office in five minutes with both eyes closed. Why the italics? Why the dashed lines? What fonts are those, even? What about this mark says fashion, New York City, design, or basic aesthetic intelligence? I give it a D- at best."

Zhang Qingyun, art director:
"It's hard to judge a logo without seeing its execution, but it looks like 'New York' is too heavy and it literally broke the skinny 'Fashion Week.'"

Tida Tep, art director:
"The blue and orange is unusual — it feels more like a sports team. The relationship between the two typefaces is too jarring, I like the juxtaposition, but the thin "Fashion Week" letterforms will be completely lost at a small scale. Overall, its a bit overdesigned — something simpler could be a lot more iconic."

Ly Ngo, editorial art director, Refinery29:
“It looks like a cross between the New York Knicks, [sports TV network] SNY, and Syracuse IronMan logos. It’s made NYFW into a sport team!"

Naomi Abel, designer, Mother: "One of the more important aspects of a logo used for a large-scale event (such as NYFW) is its ability to be scalable. It's anticipated to be used large[-scale] on posters and banners, and small[-scale] on Web and other collateral. The breaks in letterforms on the 'Fashion Week' will largely fail when it comes to scaling. These will be lost when shrunk down to a smaller size, and the high contrast in the font selected will probably not hold up well, either. Also, why is there an underline on 'NY' in the abbreviated version? The colors are one of the most confusing aspects of this logo. They almost come off as sports colors, which is not at all what I associate NYFW with. The extra-bold sans serif of 'New York' isn't helping, either. Actually, I just figured it out, and I'm not sure if this was intentional, but it reminds me of the New York Knicks."

Kate Titus, freelance art director:
"I'm thrown off by the chosen color palette for this logo. These particular shades of blue and orange feel very collegiate to me. At first glance, it's reminiscent of a logo for a sports team. NYFW represents a world of colors, ideas, and self expression. I feel like keeping the logo black is almost like a blank canvas — letting the colors of this vast array of artists speak for themselves.

"While the typeface on the top is very modern, the one on the bottom almost has a 1920s vibe to it. I'm not sure that they complement each other. I do like the contrast of the thick and thin weights, though. But because 'New York' is not only extra-bold and italic, but also set in a larger type size than 'Fashion Week,' the overall balance of the mark feels off. The 'New York' element is much more dominant than 'Fashion Week.' The tracking feels a bit too tight on the word 'Fashion Week' as well.

"I would also love to know the logic behind adding the dashed line to 'Fashion Week.' In my mind, a dashed line often symbolizes forward motion. So I could see that as a subtle nod to not only the literal act of walking on the runway, but moving forward in creative expression...? At least that's my interpretation! It's not my favorite, but it's not terrible. With some subtle tweaks to the color, fonts, and tracking, it could work."

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