Can you imagine a renowned brand adopting a logo that was created for a completely different name? Well, that’s precisely what happened with Lululemon Athletica, the popular women’s workout clothing retailer. According to their website, the iconic Lululemon logo is actually a stylized ‘A’ that was initially designed for the name ‘athletically hip,’ a name that sadly didn’t make the cut.
But what does this logo mean to consumers? Curiosity got the better of me when I noticed a friend carrying a Lululemon bag. I asked her about the logo’s significance, knowing that a brand’s impression on its customers is paramount. She explained that the logo represents the ‘A’ in Lululemon Athletica and also a woman’s hair and face outline, symbolizing the brand’s core demographic of young women. In their own words, Lululemon describes their target customer as a “sophisticated and educated woman who understands the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle – someone who balances the demands of career, family, and personal wellness through exercise.”
Yet, does the current logo truly reflect this consumer profile? When I asked my girlfriend her thoughts, she amusingly replied, “I think it’s something to do with math.” This association came from the logo’s resemblance to the Greek letter Omega (pictured). Personally, I find Lululemon’s logo enigmatic and perplexing. It leaves the audience pondering, “Am I missing something here?”
After delving into the symbols of Scientology, which cunningly incorporate the Greek alphabet, I believe that an ambiguous association like the Omega symbol does not benefit an athletic brand accused of cult-like behavior. Of course, the Omega has absolutely no connection to Lululemon, and that’s precisely the issue—Lululemon’s logo appears muddled and perplexing. It’s a big bowl of WTF.
Ultimately, the current logo has little relevance to Lululemon. The ‘A’ does not represent their primary name, the ‘woman’s hair’ interpretation is a stretch, and the logo fails to convey anything about athletics. In short, it feels as if it was designed for a completely different name—because it was.
Lululemon has endured public fiascos, such as the sheer pants recall, and faced internal struggles with embattled CEOs. However, with a new CEO at the helm, Laurent Potdevin, and a thriving stock in 2015, the brand deserves a revitalized visual identity that truly represents its customers for the first time.
Laurent Potdevin, if you happen to stumble upon this article, get in touch! I would love to have the opportunity to redesign your brand. Just imagine the headline potential – CEO hires brand designer discovered through a blog post. By the way, I would ditch the lowercase spelling of ‘lululemon’; it’s an endearing brand quirk that undermines the word’s strength, making it appear too timid even to attempt a downward dog pose.