Established in 2010, Moda Operandi is an e-commerce platform that allows people to discover and shop for designer fashion. Co-founded by former Vogue editor Lauren Santo Domingo, the website allows fashion designers to sell their most creative work, including less commercial and one-of-a-kind pieces to a global audience, bridging what people see on the runway and what’s commercially available. With more than 400 employees, Moda Operandi carries over 1,000 brands and designers across fashion, fine jewelry, and home and is expanding beyond its website to include a showroom in Hong Kong and a photo studio in New York. Last week, Moda Operandi introduced a new identity designed by New York, NY-based Lotta Nieminen with custom typography by Helsinki, Finland-based Shick Toikka.
Unveiling a new brand identity on September 5, 2019, Moda Operandi affirms its status as a disruptor with a new look and feel, illustrated through bold, unapologetic color, bespoke typefaces and patterns, and discovery-inspired graphics. Combined with Moda’s unique curation of established, emerging and undiscovered designers, Moda is renewing its promise of being the world’s leading platform for fashion discovery.
Since its founding in 2010, Moda Operandi has grown globally and expanded its category offerings to include Men’s, Fine Jewelry, and Home. Moda sought to build a new identity system that built on the core DNA of the brand while adapting to be more tech-forward.
Moda’s new logo - an unexpected mix of established and new typography, was designed by Finnish artist Lotta Neiminen in collaboration with type foundry Schick Toikka. The two fonts are contrasting, diverse, layered, conflicting and at the same time harmonious. They’re speaking the same language, but with a different tone.
The old logo wasn’t much… just type out of the box. Elegant and fashion-y but ultimately indistinguishable. The new logo attempts to get the best of both serif and sans serif worlds by somewhat awkwardly assigning one of each to each of the two words in its name. In principle this should be interesting but the result is not entirely convincing as the logo now looks like two separate logos. While the serif and sans serif share the same proportions, in the logo they don’t look quite like they belong together and the sans looks much bolder, taking attention away from what’s a really nice serif, which looks like it picks up the pieces from all the recently rebranded fashion logos that have gone sans serif to create a kind of ultimate fashion serif. In theory, though, the idea of mixing type styles to be “contrasting, diverse, layered, conflicting” could work if the two styles mixed in a more contrasting, diverse, layered, and conflicting way, instead of being one and one. Nonetheless, both typefaces are super nice.
Commissioned from both established and up-and-coming artists and illustrators, a custom pattern is commissioned each season to reflect the trends of that season in an abstracted way. For our first commission, we collaborated with Superficial, a creative studio based in NYC, to create several future-forward pieces of digital art inspired by FW19 trends.
The initial set of patterns are okay to look at, each on their own, but as a unified collection of materials and textures they are all over the place. Perhaps this is the current state of fashion and I’m just too out of the loop but shiny sequin-like things and thick-yarn things don’t seem to go together. The logo holds up nicely with all the things behind it.
Moda visualized the concept of discovery into abstracted portals through which people can explore the world of Moda Operandi — a portal into an unexpected world of unique and special fashion waiting to be discovered.
Moda sought to own the use and mix of color in a way that is confident, bold and adaptive. The Moda Operandi color palette is playful and fashion-forward, without ever losing its sophistication. Women’s, Men’s and Home all have their signature palettes, which serve to create variety and a wayfinding system.
The portals are a cool idea and an unexpected approach. I like the contrast of what look like vintage paper photo frames with imagery of contemporary fashion. I think this achieves better the “contrasting, diverse, layered, and conflicting” approach than the logo while providing a unique and fun visual language through which to present the clothes. The color palette also has a bit of a unique flair with some muted hues that are well paired (as opposed to letting weird colors clash just for the sake of variety).
Overall, there a few too many ideas at play — I would scrap the odd patterns and animations — but what’s strong about this is that it goes against the current of fashion brands going minimal and slick or minimal and edgy with a relatively unexpected use of shapes, color, and typography that give the platform its own voice without overpowering all the brands that live within it.