Established in 1981, Schuh (which is German for shoe) is a footwear retailer based in Livingston, Scotland, with more than 130 stores across the UK, Ireland, and Germany. Schuh primarily sells other popular brands like Converse, Adidas, Vans, Nike, and UGG but also offers its own label of footwear, designed in-house. Recently, Schuh introduced a new identity designed by Stockholm, Sweden-based Snask.
Based on research, interviews, and workshops we rewrote the brand strategy for schuh. We found out that their unique selling proposition had shifted from stocking cool products into the excellent service their people gave customers. We changed the brand communication from talking about products to talking about the company’s values and the people behind the brand as well as the people in the shoes, the customers. We refreshed the old logotype, intensified their green to become more modern and added a much more versatile colour palette as well as an entirely new typeface that had a much more flexible range and attractive design. We added a green stripe to serve as a brand symbol across all channels. The new store fits already started to roll out at the new brand launch and “people first” has always been in schuh’s veins it’s just that now it finally showed and included both staffs as well as customers and you!
The biggest improvement in the new logo is getting rid of the thick-stroked oval around the wordmark, which felt heavy and burdensome. Typographically, all of the tweaks are beneficial with the “s” getting the biggest improvement with the angled joint at its center that makes it much more fluid. In general it’s not the greatest logo ever but at least now it displays a little more finesse and purpose than before.
The identity introduces A LOT of elements: a single green stripe, multiple colorful stripes, stickers, patterns, and about five or six different type styles. In principle and when seen altogether in the handy cheat sheet, this is a promising foundation, especially in the hands of Snask, but in application, things never quite gel or I’m simply not the target audience.
The primary element in the application is the green stripe and it almost works… it’s hard to miss and it makes enough recurring appearances that it can be understood as the key brand element but it never does anything significant or interesting… it’s just… there. Sometimes horizontal, sometimes vertical; sometimes centered, sometimes off the side or top or bottom and has no spatial or visual relationship or interaction with the rest of the elements. The typography is off in three or four different directions, from 1980s Esprit-like treatments to thin-stroke, repeating-for-the-sake-of-repeating Brutalist treatments. In general all the typographic treatments feel heavy, dated, and unfinished. Then sometimes there are stickers thrown in, just in case. I’m usually very supportive of Snask’s loose and vibrant approach to branding but I feel like this never quite came together for them.
The exterior store sign is probably the most positive implementation, mostly because it’s the one application with the least amount of elements and the green stripe has a bright and bold presence that literally highlights the entrance to the store. Overall, this feels very geared towards a young, urban audience and, I guess, in a way, it succeeds in having a chaotic, devil-may-care, anything-goes attitude that’s appropriate but even within that realm, this could be a little less haphazard.