JCPenney's Logo Is Changing, Bet You Won't Notice

After Other Controversial Redesigns, Maybe That's a Good Thing

By Published on .

The new logo

The new logo takes the retailer's name partially outside of its signature red box, leaving just the letters "JCP" inside the box. The letters are also all lowercase but they remain in the same font. In short, it just doesn't feel all that different. JCPenney, however, says the "fresh, bold design is the most meaningful update to the Company's logo in 40 years."

"We've made significant progress transforming our Company over the last several years by infusing great style into our assortments, delivering world-class customer service, and introducing new and innovative retail technologies that have made JCPenney a retail leader in the digital age," said Chairman-CEO Mike Ullman. "Our new logo reflects the modern retailer we've become while continuing to honor our rich legacy."

The old logo
The old logo

The retailer took pains to vet the new logo, unlike Gap, which rolled out its new design unceremoniously and seemingly without any external input. JCPenney says it accepted submissions from a variety of sources and ultimately received the approval of thousands of consumers. Company employees, design agencies and two art schools -- University of Cincinnati and Rhode Island School of Design -- were invited to redesign the logo. More than 200 designs were submitted. The winning design was created by Luke Langhus, a third-year graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati.

The logo will be introduced this Sunday in commercials set to air during the Academy Awards. All packaging and customer collateral will be updated over the next year, while external store signage will be replaced over the next three years.

JCPenney's updated logo doesn't assault consumers, which is certainly a good thing. But the move begs the question: If a logo changes and nobody notices, can that logo really signify the company's "great progress in creating a more exciting and relevant shopping experience"?

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