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J.C. Penney Scuttles Logo Introduced by Former CEO

Return to Classic Look Latest Step In Unraveling Johnson's Changes

By Published on . 27

Logo reintroduced in 2013
Logo reintroduced in 2013

J.C. Penney is reverting to its classic logo, in a move to appeal to loyal -- and likely lapsed -- customers.

Under former CEO Ron Johnson the logo and company name was updated to simply jcp. That logo, introduced to much fanfare in early 2012, featured a square red frame, with "jcp" in a blue box in the top, left-hand corner -- reminiscent of an American flag. The frame was used throughout J.C. Penney's stores and marketing.

Scrapping the logo is just the latest attempt to roll back the former CEO's initiatives. Since Mr. Johnson's departure in April, the retailer has reintroduced popular brands like St. John's Bay, layered in plenty of promotions and is now in the midst of dismantling Mr. Johnson's vision for J.C. Penney's home stores.

Logo introduced in 2012
Logo introduced in 2012

The moniker had been falling out of favor for months, however. An apology ad which ran in May ended with the retailer's full name, something that had been missing from much of the company's recent communications, including the prior campaign, "Yours Truly," which launched during the Oscars. Under Mr. Johnson's direction, the brand had even abandoned its Facebook page look in favor of the square version.

Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman for J.C. Penney, confirmed the retailer is phasing out "jcp" in communications, noting that the classic logo has reappeared in TV spots the last few weeks. That logo, a simple red font, which features the first three letters of the retailer's name in uppercase, is now rolling out to various print and digital pieces, as well as the retailer's credit card, she said.

Logo introduced in 2011
Logo introduced in 2011

"As we transition to a more iconic and recognizable design, the change will give our loyal customers a sure sign that we're still the store they know and love," Ms. Coultas said.

But even prior to Mr. Johnson's arrival, current CEO Mike Ullman had introduced an update to the logo in early 2011. That version featured all lowercase letters, with "jcp" in a red box. At the time, the retailer called the logo the "most meaningful update to the company's logo in 40 years." It solicited ideas from the company's employees, design agencies and two art schools -- University of Cincinnati and Rhode Island School of Design. Ultimately the design it selected was created by a third-year graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati.

"Through recent consumer research, our customers overwhelmingly confirmed their preference for our classic J.C. Penney logo," Ms. Coultas said. "The classic J.C. Penney logo is familiar, as it is the same logo displayed on most of our stores today, and reignites pride in J.C. Penney and symbolizes the company who has faithfully served communities across America for over 100 years."

Comment below on whether you think JC Penney is doing it right when it comes to this revamped logo.

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