Can you think of any major brands that use a logo that was actually designed for a brand name other than their own? This is the case for popular women’s workout clothing retailer Lululemon Athletica. According to their website, “The lululemon name was chosen in a survey of 100 people from a list of 20 brand names and 20 logos. The logo is actually a stylized ‘A’ that was made for the first letter in the name ‘athletically hip’, a name which failed to make the grade.”
So the Lululemon logo is a stylized ‘A.’ When I noticed a friend carrying a Lululemon bag, I asked her what she thought the logo meant (after all, the consumer’s impression is a brand’s most important quality). She said it’s an ‘A’ for the Athletica in Lululemon Athletica, and it also represents a woman’s hair and face outline – the brand’s core demographic is young women. The brand describes their demographic thusly:
Our primary target customer is a sophisticated and educated woman who understands the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle. She is increasingly tasked with the dual responsibilities of career and family and is constantly challenged to balance her work, life and health. We believe she pursues exercise to achieve physical fitness and inner peace.”
The brand deserves a visual identity that reflects that consumer.
When I asked my girlfriend what the Lululemon logo was, she said, “I think it’s something to do with math.” That association comes from the Lululemon logo’s resemblance to the Greek letter Omega (pictured). The company’s bizarre logo just feels cryptic and quizzical: it makes the audience wonder, am I missing something here?
After having recently written about the symbols of Scientology – which incorporate the Greek alphabet for dubious purposes – I don’t think an odd association like the Omega symbol does any favors for an athletics brand that has been accused of cult-like behavior. The Omega has nothing to do with Lululemon, of course – that’s the point. It just goes to show how muddled and confused the Lululemon logo is. It’s a big bowl of WTF.
The bottom line: this logo doesn’t bear much relation to Lululemon. The ‘A’ doesn’t represent their primary name, the ‘woman’s hair’ interpretation is a bit of a stretch, and the logo doesn’t communicate anything about athletics. In short, it feels like it was designed for a different name, because it was.
Lululemon has recently survived public fiascos (the sheer pants recall) and the feuds of embattled CEOs. It’s 2015, they have a new CEO (Laurent Potdevin), and their stock is thriving. They deserve a refreshing new brand identity to reflect their new beginnings – one that truly represents their customer for the first time.
Laurent Potdevin, if you’re reading this, get in touch! I would love to redesign your brand. Just think of the headline potential – CEO hires brand designer from a blog post. Side note: I will do away with the lowercase ‘lululemon’ spelling – it’s a cutesy brand affectation that makes the word seem too meek to perform even a downward dog pose.