Working closely with artistic director Robyn Rihanna Fenty and her creative team at LVMH, Commission designed the visual identity for her eponymous fashion house FENTY. The graphic branding needed to reflect the artistic director's complex style, creative vision, and progressive attitude across many digital and physical applications.
Commission designed a core logo and logotype and a series of supporting iterations for the brand to work across the vast array of touch points from digital applications to garments, products, and packaging. Above, the core logo, as featured on fenty.com
The logo ticker – referenced from constantly moving news tickers – features throughout fenty.com and is adapted into call-to-action buttons, release announcements, and category headers across the site as well as the packaging and labelling.
The logotype is often used in isolation across product details, from zippers to cap branding.
Adaptations of every logo were made to accommodate many applications and manufacturing techniques, such as the outline logomark, above, etched in to glass.
The Maze – the core logo – is inspired by traditional monograms that interlace every character of a name. The strong geometric forms of F E N T Y create an icon that resembles many things from circuitry to a greek key. New, but familiar, The Maze aims to reflect the complexity of Rihanna's character.
No detail was overlooked throughout the branding – the security tag on the garment tickets features the box monogram.
The monogram – the F isolated from the logotype – features overlapping strokes inspired by Rihanna's own handwriting.
A special edit of Grilli Type's GT America, above, was published by the foundry for the project, featuring a reversed N as part of the standard character sets.
Below, the core colour palette of blue and double cream, was inspired by the pursuit to find a colour that would stand out, be gender neutral, and have a meaningful connection to Rihanna – the blue of Barbados. Double Cream offers a calmer, more classical colour to sit against garments on labelling and tags.
Commission design the identity for Rihanna's fashion label FENTY
words by Leanne Cloudsdale
Contextualising Rihanna isn’t easy – which meant the role of creating the branding for her first fashion house had to be handled by the experts. LVMH approached London-based design agency Commission Studio to generate the identity for Fenty, a decidedly different, digital venture. Founded by creative directors David McFarline and Christopher Moorby, Commission Studio have a heavyweight portfolio of luxury clients and were the masterminds behind the recent rebranding of the German luggage powerhouse RIMOWA.
Following on from the overwhelming international success of Fenty Beauty, part of Rihanna’s manifesto for her new clothing line was to inspire, empower, clash and include. At every virtual touchpoint, the branding had to work hard to ensure these non-negotiables were accurately conveyed and offered consumers a sense of Rihanna’s reputation as a modern-day game-changing boundary pusher.
Commission Studio worked closely with the artist herself throughout every stage of the development process, alongside her trusted Fenty insiders and the strategy team from LVMH. Speaking about presenting ideas and mood boards to one of the most famous women in the world, Moorby explained how, “She was exceptionally positive, super attentive and very hands-on during every meeting. We found her to be decisive and direct – she doesn’t say ‘no’ to anything because she believes it disrupts creative momentum.”
The consumer landscape is almost unrecognisable since LVMH launched their last fashion house Christian Lacroix in 1987, which meant adopting an entirely new approach. Fenty is predicted to be retailing 80% online with no physical stores (aside from the occasional pop-up) and because of this, it was imperative for Commission to create a sense of drama on-screen and ceremony with the packaging. Describing the inspiration behind the design of an entirely new wordmark for the brand, McFarline said, “The new wordmark was drawn from scratch. The distinctive letter ‘F’ with the strokes overlapping references Rihanna’s own handwriting and the reverse ‘N’ is a legacy nod to the Fenty Beauty logo. We used a special adaptation of the Grilli typeface GT America Compressed Light for the brand typeface with the ‘N’s reversed as part of the standard character set. Everything is clean and modern – specifically designed to work well on small scale devices such as phone and tablets. Across the packaging the logos were applied with gold foil and a 3D sculpted diamond emboss to give that luxe feel”
Building a brand with unisex appeal was something Rihanna felt very strongly about and is reflected in her bold choice of colourway. Moorby remembered, “she explained to us that even though it was a high-end womenswear brand, she wanted to use a positive colour that anyone would be happy to wear – not just women. The cyan blue with an embossed ripple effect we’ve used across all the packaging is reminiscent of the colour and surface of the ocean around the island of Barbados, her home country.”
Typically, monograms have always been an integral communication tool for luxury brands and Commission Studio wanted to develop a contemporary version that could be used throughout the Fenty collection. ‘The Maze’ logo was a fresh interpretation of this and includes every letter of the brand name. At first glance it could be a QR code, electronic circuitry, a Chinese character, or a Greek key – what makes ‘The Maze’ unique is how it manages to be modern and familiar at the same time.
The uncentred, randomised logo positioning conveys a sense of movement and urgency. It successfully reels us in, like a news ticker of headlines reporting on Rihanna’s constantly evolving universe. A static, formulaic approach to the branding design would never have worked for the chameleonic queen of self-innovation – the first woman ever to launch a fashion maison with the world’s leading luxury conglomerate.
Special thanks to Angelo Baque for support throughout and much love and gratitude to Luke Evans (as always) for bringing the work to life.