Yves Saint Laurent was an extremely influential French designer who founded an iconic haute couture French fashion house called Yves Saint Laurent YSL in 1961. The popularity of YSL briefly dipped in the late 1990s, but clever rebranding and a new Creative Director have helped to revitalize the brand.
The YSL logo has gone through a few alterations as the company stopped focusing on couture and started creating ready to wear clothes and accessories under the name “Saint Laurent.” Read this article to learn more about how the Yves Saint Laurent logo has evolved alongside the brand’s changes.
Yves Saint Laurent Logo Design Elements
Technically there are two different YSL logo designs in modern times. The “YSL” Logo is used for all Yves Saint Laurent accessories and cosmetics. It consists of a monogram made from Yves Saint Laurent initials. The Y is slightly to the upper left of the L, and the S sits in the middle, linking the two other letters together.
The other YSL logo design is used for the brand’s clothing line. It is a bold, sans-serif font that says “Saint Laurent” with a smaller version of the same font used to write “Paris” below. Both of the YSL logos are united by the fact that they are a simple, black text on a white background.
Changes and Evolution
The original logo featured the YSL monogram above the words “Yves Saint Laurent.” Over time, the company started dropping the designer’s full name because the brand was so iconic that people instantly recognized the interlinked YSL monogram.
Almost all iterations of YSL logo history are just a simple black text on a white background. However, the logo is occasionally printed in a gold or white text on a black background. Occasionally, the logo may also be printed in pink or orange because those were the colors used to decorate Yves Saint Laurent’s very first ready-wear boutique line.
The original font used at the beginning of YSL logo history was a custom font that contained a unique blend of a serif and san serif font connected by curving letters. It is still used in many aspects of the YSL branding, even though the logo has changed. The rebranded version of the YSL logo that was created in 2012 is a basic Helvetica design.
The YSL logo history goes back to Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, the typeface designer who created the logo back in 1962. The font used for the original logo is somewhat unique because it contains a mix of both serif, san serif, italic, and roman fonts.
This combination of contradictory typefaces was an intentional choice that was intended to capture the ambiguity and surrealism of the Yves Saint Laurent brand. Cassandre was particularly inspired by the French and German abstract art movements, so he wanted to create something that emphasized two-dimensional, geometric, unusually arranged forms to set them apart from more traditional, minimalist symbols, like the Gucci logo.
The original logo is somewhat notable because the creator, who suffered from depression, made it right before he committed suicide. Though the suicide was not directly caused by his work, it still resulted in some extra press when Yves Saint Laurent revealed their logo. Dropping Yves’ name from the logo resulted in a surprising amount of backlash. For example, one Parisian boutique started selling shirts that said, “Ain’t Laurent without Yves,” in protest. After realizing that many people still preferred the YSL logo, the brand chose to retain it for many of their products.
The Yves Saint Laurent brand has worked hard to stay relevant as fashion interests shifted from pricey, handmade couture garments to more versatile ready-to-wear items. Though there was some controversy when they originally rebranded their stores in 2012, YSL is still viewed as a status symbol, and items with the YSL logo are highly coveted.