New Wings For Salewa — WildSnow Logo Analysis

Post by blogger | September 4, 2014      
Old and new.

Old and new.

Salewa is a (if not the) major player in the outdoor gear industry in Europe. As parent company to Dynafit, Pomoca and Wild Country, they have significant presence in the world of mountaineering and backcountry skiing all over the world. Salewa continues to expand global distribution of their products (from 2007-2011 they reported 500% growth in U.S.). It’s a brand you’ll be seeing more of all over the world, so we figured some exposition about their new logo would be fun.

Too B-to-B you say? Perhaps, but after an interesting conversation with a certain young designer, we thought some of you would be intrigued with a brief analysis of the new logo.

The Salewa eagle logo was created in 1979. The new logo is basically a simplified version of the old one, keeping the bird, colors, etc. The Salewa eagle went from clearly being a bird, to being super abstracted. This simplification of the logo has a few practical advantages:

It becomes more of a “symbol” for their company that is easily recognizable, without the text of their logo, and allows for it to be used in a bigger variety of ways on the graphic design of their gear and marketing materials.

Black Diamond’s logo is an excellent example of this. It’s simple, but most people in the outdoor industry know it well enough that they can recognize it even if it is used in a unique way (e.g. putting a large logo on a ski: only half the logo is showing but it is still recognizable as their logo). Also, the BD logo can be used sideways or at an angle without it looking too weird. Since Salewa’s new logo is not attached to text and doesn’t have a clear “bottom,” it probably can be used in a similar way.

The new logo is less detailed, so it’s easier to print and represent with other manufacturing processes. For example, they could forge the new logo on the side of a carabiner much easier than the old one, or it could be cut out of flat metal or made out of a piece of fabric much easier.

The flying eagle is a common image whereas the new wings are more uniquely identifiable. Salewa went from using a combination mark to having a design that can be used as an icon.

Also, a quick note on terminology: Logo is used for the symbol, and logotype is the name of the company spelled out (usually with a custom font or some other unique feature).

“Flat” design is currently the major trend in the graphic design world. This is in contrast to about 10 years ago, when 3D design was the popular trend (just look at the evolution of the Google Chrome logo). If Salewa would have redesigned their logo 10 years ago, it would have turned out much differently. Their old design was pretty “flat” as well, although there is a slight amount of 3D in the birds wing, but not much.

Their new font for the logotype is similar to the old one in that it uses a lot of straight lines and hard angles. However, the new one uses diagonal lines, whereas the old one uses entirely vertical or horizontal lines. Diagonals are normally seen as more exciting and dynamic (just like in photography).

Disadvantages to redesign — the old logo was historic; a new one doesn’t have much history behind it. A simplified logo can be viewed as boring. To someone who is not familiar with Salewa, it could seem less exciting or recognizable. To them, it’s just a shape, whereas the old logo was clearly a bird (and all the things a bird symbolizes: freedom, flight, etc.).

One comment we heard, “The logo type is pure ’70s heavy metal band.” Perhaps that was influenced by legendary air guitar contests at various Dynafit press events.

WildSnow’s opinion? We like it. The message we see is Salewa is spreading its wings. And given their dedication to excellence in all things backcountry, that is a good thing.


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14 Responses to “New Wings For Salewa — WildSnow Logo Analysis”

  1. Darin September 4th, 2014 1:03 pm

    Am I the only one who only sees an angry masked bandit instead of wings?

  2. Ted September 4th, 2014 3:20 pm

    I asked my kids and they said it looked like a bird, maybe because we have gulls round our house. Amuses me that a company will spend $$$ on rebranding. Does it really matter?

  3. Scott Nelson September 4th, 2014 4:46 pm

    Is this one of those ink blot psych tests?

  4. Tuck September 4th, 2014 5:25 pm

    Yes, but does it go to DIN 16? 😉

  5. Lou Dawson 2 September 4th, 2014 6:55 pm

    Tuck, 11!

  6. Erik Erikson September 4th, 2014 10:20 pm

    I will kind of miss that old bird, but just for nostalgic reasons. Salewa is quite big here in in Austria and I own a lot of their stuff. E.g. all my tents since more than 25 years were Salewa-tents, and that bird, printed on the inner-tent, has “protected my sleep” in various places.. From hikiing with some girlfiriend in the gentle hills round my hometown up to severe storms in the very north of Sweden… Nopstalgic, as I said.. 😉

  7. ptor September 4th, 2014 11:42 pm

    It totally compliments their spaceship parked in Bolzano!

  8. Simen September 5th, 2014 2:41 am

    First thought on the logotype was that it looks very much like their HQ.

    The logo is nice, I think, the only negative is that the logotype is a bit harder to read as the font is unusual. With time and exposure it´ll probably be more recognizable than the old one and take on the function as a symbol much like the new wings.

  9. Steve September 6th, 2014 7:43 am

    Thanks for the education on graphic design. I learned something new today!

  10. Wookie September 8th, 2014 3:56 am

    Ptor –

    Do you think the “spaceship” in Bozen is designed to look like an ice-axe too?

    Does anybody know for sure?

  11. Lou Dawson 2 September 8th, 2014 4:37 am

    I thought it was a gigantic rock crystal rendition… It is definitely distinctive architecture.

    Photos here:

  12. Mark Worley September 10th, 2014 6:30 am

    Salewa headquarters definitely looks like crystals. New logo is interesting, if not somewhat geometric.

  13. ptor September 10th, 2014 1:11 pm

    Hey Wookie, I bivvied outside it this July and met some very nice Salewians who work there. Was mesmerized by the climbing wall of epic proportions. But iceaxe never came to mind regarding it’s architecture. Quite a contrast to Messner’s Firmin castle just beyond!!!

  14. Bjorn December 8th, 2014 5:24 pm

    paper airplane!!!!!

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