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Furniture Companies and their Logos: A Brief Illustrated History

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The much-talked-about recent logo changes at Starbucks and the whole Gap brouhaha leaves open questions about how logos have changed in the world of furnishings, too. While branding overhauls have, at times, gone unnoticed, in some instances logo evolution has been remarkable. We've rounded up brands from Knoll to West Elm to see how they, too, have changed their look over the years.

? Let's begin with the classics. Synonymous with midcentury design, Knoll's first identity was created by Swiss-born graphic designer Herbert Matter, who served as design consultant to the company from 1946 to 1966. Its latest logo, revamped in 1967 by Massimo Vignelli, forgoes the circular design—which takes the brand almost too literally—for a wordmark in the ever-present Helvetica font.

? Created in George Nelson's studio by designer Irving Harper, Herman Miller's symbol, the stylized "M", first appeared in 1946 when the furniture that was supposed to be photographed for an advertisement never showed up. The wordmark was added to symbol later and endured until 2009. Recently, Herman Miller took the Starbucks approach, letting go of the words and letting the graphic do the talking.

? Founded in 1980, Room and Board started out with the "Bubble Logo." In 1993, the company sought a logo to reflect their a general rebranding. The current logo uses a modified version of the Garamond font.

? Crate and Barrel was founded in 1962 as a humble shop in Chicago, importing contemporary and affordable housewares from Europe. With growth and expansion into home furnishings came a new logo, which, much like Knoll, also adopted the Helvetica font.

? The youngest of this group, West Elm was seen sporting a new look in 2010, the first since the store's creation in 2002. The company's reps describe the typical West Elm shopper as someone who juxtaposes organic, green design with modern furniture and other unique finds; the logo's fresh, clean personality is meant to reflect this.

—Jessica Caldwell, Design Wonderland

· Starbucks Unveils a New Logo With No Words [Eater National]
· Backpedalling: The Gap Was Just Kidding About That New Logo [Racked National]
· Knoll Timeline [Knoll]
· Discovering Design [Herman Miller]
· Undercover Icon: Irving Harper [NYT]
· About Us [Room and Board]
· Crate and Barrel [official site]
· West Elm [official site]