The Nicole Miller logo on L’Amy’s Broad style sits discretely inside the temple.
Some of Kenmark’s Vera Wang frames, like Style No. V320, have a complex design and a metal logo plaque.
Retro designs distinguish Tura’s Ted Baker frames, not big logos (Style No. B712 shown here).
Argyleculture’s Morrissey frame from McGee has an insignia etched into the temple, and no logo.

Designer logos are slimming down and sometimes are hiding completely. The new trend: ID via design elements.

Big, bold, brash designer logos may always have a place on certain frames, especially sunglasses. But upscale designers known more for subtlety than shout-outs are moving away from prominent name placement. Instead, they’re going discreet: making logos smaller and often placing them out of plain sight.

Customers in certain international markets tend to like large designer logos, but American luxury consumers are moving toward markings that are “less ostentatious,” says Jennifer Coppel, vice president of brand management at Tura. For eyewear designers, this presents a challenge, she asserts. “We try to show the DNA of the brand through the design. That’s a much harder design process than throwing on a logo.”

The British apparel designer Ted Baker is growing in recognition in the United States, and Tura’s task is to carry his look into frames. The logo itself is handled discreetly one of three ways: on the left temple or even the left temple tip; generally as a small gold or silver metal inlay; and as a more modern sideways T logo, typically at the hinge break.

To create a consistent look, the Ted Baker designers place a signature inlay on the inside tip. It’s a gold or silver metal bow on women’s frame, a lobster for men.

Still, the design itself needs to express that DNA. Many frames incorporate the same designs as fabrics used inside for women’s dresses and men’s blazer interiors and ties.

“The non-logo is the new status symbol,” says Laura Khligh, senior designer for The McGee Group. “Eyewear, like fashion, is trending toward strong shapes and subtle materials with fewer embellishments and logos. Brand names are still important, but the way the brand is translated is more subtle and high quality than simply a large logo treatment.”

For McGee’s Argyleculture brand, logos are nearly absent. “The essence of the Argyleculture Eyewear collections is non-branding,” Khligh states. No Argyleculture frame, in fact, has an exterior logo. “Instead, we place an argyle décor in the temple tip and incorporate the argyle design in décor, patterns, and colors.”

The Simon frame, for instance, is a modern take on the clubmaster look. There’s an embossed argyle embellishment on the metal temples, the only blatant visible tie to the brand. Other than that, the design tells the story. A similar insignia is etched into the Morrissey’s temples, which are bold with an angular cut. The eyeshape is softer and rectangular and the acetate has a gradient coloring.

It’s “the law of fashion” that trends change, observes Tasha Woodard, the global brand manager for Viva’s GUESS by Marciano eyewear line, owned by Marcolin. “Things get overexaggerated, then go to the opposite extreme,” she adds. Moving away from “flashy” statement logos, consumers “want sophisticated and chic looks today, so frames are tending toward things being a little bit cleaner,” says Woodard. Designers today boast about small, quality details in frames, such as integrated metal parts wrapped 360° around the frame, which can be found in Marciano’s cat-eye Style No. GM 219. “Even the inside of the temple looks like a fully designed piece,” she explains.

At Marciano, “beautiful shapes and colorations” are part of the design. In fact, “wearable color” is key. “We’re selling a lot more than black. Our designs are basic, very clean with a plastic front, a tapered metal temple, and just a logo laser-engraved on the temple. Style No. GM 201, for example, has teal over gold on the temple. The front is teal and brown textured colorant.”

Based on the designer’s style, subtle branding has always been the goal in L’Amy America’s Nicole Miller line. “We learned from Nicole Miller at the get-go that the logo was not the main focus. That’s too in-your-face,” says Cheryl Canning, worldwide brand manager. “Instead, placement on the temple tips or in a small way on the side is the way to go.”

“Nicole Miller wants a product that makes the customer feel feminine,” Canning asserts. “That’s about the look and the feel, not the logo.”

So where’s that signature? “It’s very discreet. For example, a script logo might be written in very small detail going up the side of a metal detail on the temple, or on the temple tip. The frames tend to incorporate themes that are important to Nicole,” such as bicycles and Celtic designs. So, a small metal bike chain might be where the temple meets the front.

David Duralde comments that “blazing” logos “front and center” are fading to the background. As chief creative officer at Kenmark Group, working on the Vera Wang Collection, Duralde prefers the “new and fresh and exciting” movement toward putting “a little more complexity in the design details, the color combinations, the hardware, and the things that are more integral and architectural to the frame.” Big logos, he surmises, do not necessarily add perceived value to the design. The consumer is now responding to more luxurious and thoughtful artisanship.

Vera Wang’s directive was clear: Play up “authentic jewel settings, custom embroidery, and prints translated directly from the fabrics” instead of having “the label arbitrarily placed on the temple and calling this the design element.”

This evolution in design can be seen in Vera Wang sunglasses. “Today, when we do use a logo, we place it discretely as part of the total composition of the design elements,” Duralde says. “The logo is often on a metal plaque that lies flat on the top of the temple. This is more logical in our mind since the logo is something more private and personal that the consumer relates to inside the frame.

For Safilo, demographics help determine logo size and placement. “Logo use in Safilo’s portfolio has changed in recent years due to emerging trends related to specific regional markets,” says International Creative Director Massimo Zuccarelli, Safilo Group. “European consumers, for example, are considerably less logo-oriented than their counterparts in Asia or the Americas.

“To meet these changing consumer needs in Europe and in general, the licensed brands in our portfolio have shifted towards more trendsetting and fashion-forward models which depends more on interesting shapes, innovative materials, and unusual use of color rather than a focus on the logo itself. To distinguish themselves even more, we see key aesthetic details sometimes taking the place of more traditional logos-an icon such as studs, a unique hinge, or dots,” states Zuccarelli.

This is true in the new Fendi collection. Style No. FF 0029/S, described as the so-called “frame in a frame,” focuses on the handmade acetate that blends the two frames together as one, creating the contrasting dimensions and color blocking. This frame has slim metal temples where the Fendi logo is subtly engraved.

Consumers who want to broadcast that their frames are designer brands can still find large logos in the market. Fewer want those, however, and many high-end lines are accommodating that trend…with discretion.

Rona Gindin is an Orlando-based freelance writer specializing in business, restaurants, and travel.


Kenmark Group
800-627-2898 • kenmarkoptical.com

L’Amy America
800-USA-LAMY • lamyamerica.com

888-MARCOLIN • marcolinusa.com

The McGee Group
800-966-2020 • mcgeegroup.com

Safilo USA
800-631-1188 • safilo.com

800-242-8872 • tura.com


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