Within the last 10 years, certainly in my neck of the woods, John Lewis and Waitrose branches have been popping up everywhere. John Lewis has become an essential part of the British high street, while Waitrose has captured the high end grocery market. The two companies are known for good quality products and great customer service. It is also common knowledge that the companies treat and pay their staff well. John Lewis and Waitrose have been part of the same company for a long time, sharing the same business principles for over 100 years.
After many years with the same branding, the John Lewis Partnership, the owner of both chains, decided to hire the talents of Pentagram to create a fresh look they could use in the future. The aim was to create complimentary branding to bring the two companies closer together. They also wanted a consistent style they can use across all the stores. First of all, lets start with the John Lewis rebrand.
Old John Lewis Branding
The previous logo is the name of the company in a simple sans-serif font. The points on the “J” and “L” differentiate this typeface from others that are similar. The kerning makes the logo easy to read as it had to be used in many situations including packaging and large shop signs. The stroke weight of the name is potentially too thick. As we will see in the new logo, the name is thinner and makes the overall design classier and more upmarket. The logo is a single colour making it easy to use in a variety of ways. It did not however, have any marks or symbols incorporated that could be used in other branding scenarios. All in all, its a very good logo and one that millions of people already know and love.
John Lewis Rebrand
Pentagram, the creators of the rebrand, said they had been working on the new designs for over 3 years. The new logo was a result of many months of consultations and refining. We end up with a graphically similar logo that already resonates the age old feeling associated with the John Lewis brand. Over the two logos, the font choice was Gill Sans, a sans-serif font, that almost anyone can use. The previous logo, also based on the Gill Sans font, used some customisation to make it unique. We can see the new design’s text is all in capitals, with the previous logo using both capitals and lowercase. This follows a recent design trend where the whole brand name is either in uppercase or lowercase, never both. Another obvious addition is the “& partners.” This was used to highlight the workers of the store. As mentioned, both John Lewis and Waitrose have a long history of incorporating their workers into the day to day running of the business. This new entry includes them and shows their customers that everyone is working together in whatever they do in the business.
The typeface is slightly thinner than the previous logo, giving it a classier and more elegant feel. Black was chosen as the designer felt any other colour would clash with the products that John Lewis offer. Lastly, the overall design incorporates rectangles and squares. All the previous logo could draw on was the text design, while this design can incorporate the extra shapes into marketing and branding. The graduating rectangles give off a vintage vibe, but also make people think of a barcode. John Lewis is a shop after all. The final result is a sleek, sophisticated design that represents the brand really well, and will make it stand out on the high street.
Old Waitrose Branding
Looking at the old Waitrose logo, you would definitely notice the similarity with the old John Lewis design. They both use the came custom Gill Sans font with the added points on the vertical strokes. So why they felt they needed new similar logos is beyond me. I believe they just wanted a fresh look to take them into the next few years. We can see a capital letter used for the “W” but the rest are in lowercase. The spacing of the letters makes it easily readable at any size. As the brand is a food company known for its high end organic products, a green colour for the brandname makes sense. The whole logo looks classy and upmarket which are the two words you would use to describe the shop itself.
The new Waitrose branding is almost a carbon copy of the new John Lewis design. Harry Pearce of Pentragram, said this about the logo’s similarity:
“The next thing was to create a wonderful bloodline between all three brands (including the John Lewis Partnership logo) so they felt really linked up and in-step with each other. Then finally, to create a flexible system that can deal with many narratives, whether that’s fashion, home or electrical goods in John Lewis, to a deli counter or a can of beans in Waitrose.”
We can see all the same design choices in this Waitrose logo. The text is all in capitals again, and the graduating rectangles give the idea of a barcode. The base of the design is a rectangle, and not a square like the John Lewis design. The colour choices stick with the original green of the Waitrose brand, but add 3 more green tones available to use throughout their products and shop features. The new logo looks fresh, organic, and vintage at the same time.
Overall I like the new branding for two of the most recognisable companies in the UK. I don’t think there was too much at risk to change to the new designs, as on paper, they are very similar. They use the same font and the same colours. I believe adding the partners to the brand will encourage more people to work with them. It might even cause a spike in sales. The two new designs look sophisticated and posh, and also feel like they could have been designed many years ago. The vintage feel promotes their illustrious heritage to any aspiring client. Choosing such a clean and simple typeface makes it easy to use the logo on all sort of items and products. Both brands now use the new designs throughout their stores and are rolling them out to all their platforms and marketing.
To celebrate their new branding John Lewis launched a new advert.