Hudson’s Bay, a Canadian chain of department stores and widely regarded as North America’s most elder company, is releasing a new branding that reflects back on their roots. Hudson’s Bay is older than the United States. Founded in 1670, Hudson’s Bay Company began as a fur trading business, controlling the British sections of North America for a couple hundred years. Fast forward about 300 years to 1964 (this is a design blog after all, not a history blog); Hudson’s Bay buys Morgan’s department store chain and rebrands itself as The Bay. The new logo, created by Lippincott & Margulies, took after the Morgan’s logo that had preceded it.
This year, under the direction of Lipman, the branding has gone back to a simple but elegant wordmark “Hudson’s Bay”, along with it’s new french counter-part “La Baie d’Hudson”. Canadian illustrator Mark Summers was brought on board to redraw their classic coat of arms to be used in special circumstances. The coat of arms especially refers back to Hudson’s Bay’s fur trading origin. It dons two moose on either side of the shield with what I believe is a fox on top. The latin phrase pro pelle cutem, which translates to “skin for a skin”, reads across a banner on the bottom.
The wordmark, in my opinion, is nothing special. Although I do not dispute that it is sufficient for the goal in mind. A good way to stay elegant is to stay simple. They did not try to do too much. I am a little disappointed in the failure of Hudson’s Bay to put Mark Summers new interpretation of the coat of arms to much use. Mark Summers was the perfect candidate for this update and his work cannot even be found on the website. It’s a shame. If you hire someone that does such great work, expose it for people to see.