By  on October 21, 2008

A|X Armani Exchange is in search of an icon.

The 17-year-old franchise has redesigned its slim A|X Armani Exchange logo to embody the brand’s provocative imagery and youthful appeal, launching a stronger symbol it hopes will stand out in various settings, such as storefronts, ads, shopping bags and labels — instead of getting swallowed up as it sometimes has in the quieter original version.

“We’re expanding aggressively globally and we wanted a strong logo that could be iconic — almost like a Nike swoosh,” said Tom Jarrold, A|X Armani Exchange’s senior vice president of global marketing and communications. By yearend, the brand expects to have four more stores, upping its count to 170 in 16 countries.

The new mark is being applied to the exteriors and interiors of A|X Armani Exchange’s stores worldwide, including 67 locations in the U.S., during the next year or so, noted Sagi Haviv, the project’s lead designer and one of two principal partners in graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismar. The new logo made its debut in September on about 15 storefronts in the U.S. (the first was in Cherry Hill, N.J.) and roughly the same number abroad. It also can be seen on the homepage and in print ads, where it bowed in the September editions of magazines such as Vogue, Nylon, Cosmopolitan, Out, GQ and Marie Claire.

A|X Armani Exchange’s first new symbol since its founding in 1991 features a bolder A and X, inspired by the French typeface Didot, which is based in high-contrast thick and thin strokes. It also places boxes around the letters A and X. These two square shapes allow for backgrounds in different colors and textures. Enclosed in these forms, the letters can also appear as positive or negative images, looking as though they’re either printed on the boxes or dropped out of them, like a stencil.

In November, a wild posting campaign for the brand will surface in New York’s SoHo, East Village and Chelsea, and on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Four linear and curvilinear icons, inspired by military insignia, eagles and the letters A and X — signaling Armani Exchange’s roots in Italian military exchanges — have been developed by Chermayeff & Geismar for a new range of signature A|X Armani Exchange apparel and accessories. The icons will be used in nearly all A|X Armani Exchange product categories, starting next spring and summer.

Spending for the logo and icon development, Jarrold said, ran into the “multihundreds of thousands of dollars.” Chermayeff & Geismar have designed numerous marks for the fashion world, including that of Barneys New York, as well as for the Museum of Modern Art, NBC, Showtime Networks, Chase Manhattan Bank, Mobil and the former Pan Am World Airways.

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