New branding for Steiff – Design Diary

The toy brand Steiff, known worldwide for its sumptuous toys, has acquired a new brand image. From now on, “Bamsen”, which celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, will be the crucial element in the brand’s logo.

The Steiff company was founded in 1880. The company originated from the felt clothing store opened by Margarete Steiff in Giengen an der Brenz. In 1902, the plush bear with movable arms and legs, designed by Margarete’s nephew Richard Steiff, was “born” under the not very catchy production name “Bear 55 PB”. A few years later, the name “Teddy Bear” spread, based on US President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy”. Roosevelt refused to shoot a helpless bear tied to a leash during a hunting trip.

The teddy bear, as it is said during the presentation of the new brand identity, represents the Steiff brand like no other cuddly animal. This year, the teddy bear is celebrating its 120th birthday. Margarete Steiff GmbH honors its most important representative in the anniversary year with a new brand image that focuses on the iconic teddy bear head. Brand and design agency Peter Schmidt Group developed the new look.

Excerpt from the press release

The teddy bear, which made the Steiff brand known worldwide, will be the defining element of the Steiff logo from 2022 – more precisely the iconic teddy bear head with “Button in Ear” as a hallmark of quality. Strategy consultants Batten & Company, which advises Steiff on repositioning, stated as part of a large-scale market study that almost all respondents automatically associate the name Steiff with the teddy bear. This strong bond between the brand and its absolute bestseller for over a century is now also visible in the logo. Like a clear galleon figure in black and white, the unmistakable bear’s head, reduced to its essential features, stands above the familiar letters and evokes empathy and childhood memories at first glance. The white circle in the right ear stands for Steiff’s second groundbreaking achievement, “The Button in the Ear,” which all Steiff products have had since 1904 as a unique proof of authenticity.

“The teddy bear represents Steiff like no other soft toy. It combines everything that defines our brand, ”says Dirk Petermann, CEO of Margarete Steiff GmbH. “He is the loving companion of childhood, associated with true feelings and valuable memories. Made with the utmost care and attention from the beginning to the present day, it will remain with its owner for a lifetime. In our new logo we collect what is clearly belong together, ”says Petermann.

Steiff logo – before and after, image source: Steiff, image montage: dt

The logo architecture has changed as part of the rebranding. Instead of the statement “button in the ear”, the word mark was accompanied by a newly designed bear head as a figure mark. In order to provide the modern understanding of premium and the requirements of digital justice, the familiar letters were optimized according to those responsible without reducing its recognizable value. The alignment of the letters has been slightly corrected. Larger interior spaces should give the brand more sharpness in small images and in connection with digital applications.

The new logo is combined with a color palette consisting of muted pastel shades as well as the typography in consistent texts with the classic. Bodoni and Work Sans. “The new look is an expression of empathy for the brand’s values ​​and stands for heritage, childhood dreams and excellent premium quality,” explains Ruediger Goetz, CEO of Peter Schmidt Group.

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An in my opinion understandable and sensible further development. The high degree of independence and recognizability of the word mark is maintained, while the quality of the presentation is improved during the subtle adjustments. The change in the bear’s main representation is far more obvious. To be honest, I did not realize that the so-called “Button in Ear” had a rectangular shape based on the mark / label. The transition to a circular shape seems to me as sensible as the basic transformation into a flat representation of the head. The serif font used in headings also looks really smart Bodoni (see catalog), which now replaces plate serif NN Colroy is used. The color choice also seems appropriate to me and is more than just fine.

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