June 14, 2020

SANS CAP® is my answer to the recent branding/blanding controversy in the High-Fashion industry. It's a different take on what branding in the form of logo and mark can mean and how it can end up limiting creativity. SANS CAP® includes a manifesto, a CAP SANS type specimen, as well as what a future based on the manifesto could look like.

Blanding is a recent phenomenon in which multiple companies within a specific industry start to look and feel the same. They often fall back on the same colours, same style of typography, same kind of illustrations – the list goes on. The same thing is happening in the fashion industry. Brands like Burberry, Diane Von Furstenberg, Berluti and Balmain went through a reblanding where they went from expressive and unique typographic logotypes to less unique, sans-serif all-caps wordmarks. For Thierry Brunfaut, founder of Base Design and author of the article that started this conversation, this is a bad thing. He proposes brands to re-introduce personality in their logos.

Branding is to differentiate, not to blend in. Even though that’s true, I tried to look at what effect branding had on the fashion industry. My conclusion was that branding is responsible for a limitation or dejecting of creativity. People tend to buy garments because of the feeling of luxury a well-considered mark conveys. Sheeple buy the Balmain name displayed on the chest area rather than the shirt itself. Summed up, brand-named clothing is often merely a medium to carry a logo.

So maybe the converging of branding is not a bad thing at all (at least for this industry? Sans Cap is an hypothetical research in which the industry is to use one universal typeface. This typeface (CAP SANS) is generated out of the glyph sets of these new and bland fashion logotypes. By constraining the industry to one typeface and prohibiting usage of it as a landmark on garments, we oblige fashion designers to be creative with silhouette, graphic and stitch. Through eliminating branding, the clothing becomes the primary goal again.

SANS CAP includes a manifesto, a CAP SANS type specimen, as well as what a future based on the manifesto could look like. 
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