The Zara Logo And Brand: Modernity In A Timeless Logo Design

May 2, 2023
Authored by:
Gareth Mankoo

Zara is a Spanish fashion brand that has earned the loyalty of men and women since 1975.

As a pioneer of fast fashion, the brand has flourished across the globe, creating clothing lines that are synonymous with the brand and recognizable. The Zara logo has a history that is as captivating to its fans as the brand’s clothing, and this is its story.

When Forbes ranked Zara as one of the most valuable brands in 2020, it had already captivated a wide audience who believed in staying true to trends and mass-producing trends from the catwalk to cabinets in apartments, creating the model of fast fashion.

The evolution of the Zara logo through the years

The Zara logo has always been easily recognizable because it is a wordmark. Through the years, the logo design has been easily legible and memorable.

What changed through the years was the style in which it was represented as a wordmark, from fonts to kerning, the logo saw a drastic shift.

1975 to 1980s: Tagged for new beginnings


The first Zara logo appeared in 1975 when the store opened. The logo left no doubt about the category that the brand operated in. It was sprawled across ailed cardboard label with a string and a dominant shadow.

The brand name was written in a bold font with rounded corners with “TIENDAS DE MODA” (Spanish for fashion stores) inscribed. The descriptor font was slightly italicized to go with the design styles of the time.

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1980s to 2008: The transition to wordmarks


The original logo was followed by the most prevalent emblems of the brand. The second Zara logo served the brand for twenty-eight years, supporting its meteoric rise to fame globally.

All letters were written in upper case with a unique dynamic, resembling TT Tsars Bold Calm Calmius Semi Bold. The font employed in the logo had a mix of thin and thick lines that ended with bold, serif tips.

The edges of each letter are pointy, giving the logo a personality of its own. Even the thickness of the curve on the R tapered towards the end before sliding down graciously downwards.

2008 to 2019: A modern take


Something odd happened to the Zara logo in 2008. The classical, loved logo went into a spaced-out, boxy form, where each alphabet seemed deliberately separated by the other using a generous gap.

The brand wore a serious face and looked less human and more digital. This could be because of the rise of digital media at the time, which was jostling for space on social media platforms.

The Zara logo retained the thick-and-thin medley of strokes on the font, which had become a hallmark of the logo. Even the serifs were retained. The logo font type changed, and the letters seemed wider and shorter than customers used to see. The logo survived for eleven years.

2019 to today: The one we know and love


The brand was nearly two decades into the new millennium's second decade, and platforms needed to be more malleable towards brands. This allowed the designers to revisit the Zara logo and create its fourth avatar in 2019—a logo that is used to date.

The reveal of the new logo redesign received mixed responses from fans and designers, a bane that every popular brand is subject to when they alter their identity.

The alphabet went from being short and stocky to elongated and elegant. What put off some designers was how they overlapped one another. One theory suggests that this was done to reduce the horizontal space occupied by the solo so that it could fit into tinier online containers, such as profile pictures and favicons.

Another suggested that the brand simply wanted to create a logo that wasn’t far away from high-end luxury brands, gradually distancing itself from the fast-fashion label, which was not as popular as it used to be in the early 2000s.

The brand still retained a serif font with thin and thick strokes. The R plays a central role in the logo looking less geometric, thanks to its graceful curves and curls that nearly look cursive. This is also the first logo, which is more graphic than a simple wordmark. The A and R meld into one another organically, creating a dense nucleus in the middle of the logo.

The Zara logo today: Why does it work?

Source: Axis Charlotte

The Zara logo has found its place in modern advertising and branding collateral today without compromising its initial personality of being a wordmark with little to no graphical influences.

The horizontally compressed logo has been harshly criticized as “claustrophobic” because of the overlaps, but it serves the brand wonderfully as a profile picture.

The timelessness of the current logo makes it relevant in the context of digital applications and looks equally appealing on a cap or sprawled across a t-shirt design.

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The impact of wordmark logos

Source: Kaejon Misuraca // Modus

Businesses and designers put considerable collective effort into creating a unique brand identity. This leads to deliberations in creating graphical elements that are either too clever or too endearing to a memory that the brand holds dear.

Wordmark logos are the “anti-heroes” of the logo world because all they do is state the name of a brand. They’re no different than the labels of the brand.

So, where does the innovation and creativity of a brand come in when its key identifier is simply its name? The font, the brand colors, the logo background, and a minor touch of artistry can work wonders.

Today, wordmark logos are considered practical, less clunky, and, most importantly, modern. The Zara logo fits this code now only in its present avatar but since the 1980s, which makes it a timeless wonder.

A brief history of the Zara brand

Zara was founded in 1975 due to a joint venture between Amancio Ortega and Rosalia Mera. Ortega had set up a dress manufacturing unit in 1963, which inspired him to start a retail business. He set up a small store in Spain called Zorba. This was the first avatar of Zara.

Amancio ortega y rosalía mera. 600 millones.... | Loc | EL MUNDO
Zara co-founders Amancio Ortega and Rosalia Mera | Source: El Mundo

The company was first set up on a budget of just €30. Gradually, the business began spreading across other parts of Spain. It made its first international entry into Portugal and finally touched American shores in 1989.

Source: Fashion Network

Today, Zara has 6,500 stores across 88 countries. It continues to grow phenomenally, bringing the balance between luxury fashion and affordable, mass-produced styles that would normally only make it to the catwalk. Through the years, Zara has remained steadfast and true to its core values: beauty, precision, functionality, and sustainability.

Source: Racked

The pricing strategy of Zara has been a key driver in its global success, as has the brand’s image. Even though the prices are affordable (albeit on the higher side), the brand never shies away from coming across as a luxury outfit.

The stores are located abreast of some notable luxury houses. The product catalogue of Zara today extends to all genders with product categories that go beyond just clothing. Zara retails perfumes, shoes, bags, accessories, and more. They balance out formal and casual wear within their catalogues with seasonal precision.

Frequently asked questions about the Zara logo

What are some commonly asked questions about the Zara logo? Get your questions answered with these three FAQs.

1. What does the Zara logo mean?

The Zara logo, which is instantly recognizable around the world, is made up of just four Latin letters. The original creator of the brand was dead set against the idea of designing a profound emblem or logo for the business.

2. What did Zara used to be called?

Co-founder Ortega opened the first store in central A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, where the branch is still situated today. He named it Zorba after the 1964 film Zorba the Greek, but when he discovered there was a pub with the same name two blocks away, he changed the letters to read "Zara."

3. What is Zara's slogan?

The slogan for Zara is "Love Your Curves." Simply put: we all have curves. Zara is a never-ending well of inexpensive yet stylish wardrobe essentials, but the company took a beating for its controversial slogan and advertising push.

Bottom line

Shopping at Zara is a no-brainer choice for any fashion-conscious consumer today, and when they stroll through the unending walkways of malls and shopping centres, all they look for is its timeless, beautiful logo.

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