Uniqlo: creating flexible identity systems

Brand Review 

Uniqlo, short for “unique clothing”, was founded in 1984 in Yamaguchi, Japan. Its brand is comparable to  fast fashion brands such as Benetton and Gap in the American retail market. Yanai, founder of the company, employed a vertical integrated strategy that included everything from cotton picking in China for their clothes, to branding their striking white on red logo.

Uniqlo’s branding has found success because it conveys the company’s sentiment perfectly: “a modern Japanese company that inspires the world to dress casual”. Devoid of pretension, Uniqlo’s logo typeface is a simple bold sans serif that lies in a perfectly fit square, with ‘uni’ and ‘qlo’ separated exactly at the horizontal center. ‘Uniqlo’, first spelled out in katakana, then followed by its English translation, markets itself as a Japanese brand with a global presence. The red and white used in the logo pays homage to the company’s roots by reproducing the colors of the Japanese flag. Further, the flexible modular system works for both scripts. The two squares can work together, as pictured above, or independent of one another. The Uniqlo brand system is successful in this way; its logo allows to fit snugly in corners of printed paper bags and rectangular labels, and, as pictured above, on corners of buildings. Further, the red and white in the logo is easily reproduced in black and white printing. Uniqlo is a great example of the phrase “simple is the solution”. It manages to convey the sentiment of the company, its origin, and presence without losing the visual integrity of its brand.