If the branding of Chanel abused the typically masculine features of the sans serif, then the Yves Saint Laurent logo of Cassandre might fairly be called a 'queer' typeface.

By Balthazar Malevolent

Infographic Chart of Brand Typefaces.


Set against a white field in black sans serif capitals and added to the cubic apothecary bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume, Chanel's brand identity coincided with Le Corbusier's avant-gardism and the industrial vernacular. The Chanel logo features a custom typeface, designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1925. Chanel's sans serif was opposed to the developed and super-refined goods. The same mentality is reflected in the serif-free logos for the label of Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons and bold wordmarks of Jil Sander, Louis Vuitton, Helmut Lang, Fendi and Tom Ford. But in Givenchy and Marc Jacobs' contemporary-retro spirit, the Chanel lettering also carries a vaguely modern quality, that has a related but distinct offspring. Coco Chanel's counter-intuitive use of a sans-serif type logo in 1921 on her No. 5 perfume bottle offered up a radical alternative to the romantic and feminized fonts associated with the marketing of luxury goods at the time. The black capital letters stamped on a stark white background provided a 'clean line' simplicity and a masculine strength of purpose. It introduced the ambiguity of the avant-garde to the presentation of fashion.

The table shows the most ubiquitous typefaces used in world’s most famous logotypes.

Yves Saint Laurent

The Yves Saint Laurent signature was one of the fashion world's most recognizable graphic signatures, and was one of the last pieces designer A. M. Cassandre prior to his death, was making. Cassandre and Yves Saint Laurent claimed letters which were neither serif nor sans serif, not purely romanic or italic or even a proper script, but a complex combination of all these types. If the branding of Chanel abused the typically masculine (industrial, abstract, mechanical) features of the sans serif for a undoubtedly 'butch' logo, and if the types of Didot and Bodoni were so intricately associated with the conceptions of fashion and femininity (the ultimate 'femme' typefaces), then the YSL logo of Cassandre might fairly be called a 'queer' typeface.

Yohji Yamamoto and Rick Owens brands also have their own typefaces used in production.

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