Illum – a logo design classic


This photo is copyright of Illum

Illum stands as a pinnacle of sophistication within the heart of Copenhagen, asserting its position as arguably Denmark’s most esteemed department store. Since its establishment in the 1890s, Illum has weathered the transformative storms in the retail landscape, emerging unscathed amidst the demise of many counterparts in recent years.

The store’s branding is a testament to exquisite design and meticulous execution. Functioning as an umbrella brand within its expansive confines, Illum seamlessly integrates some of the world’s most renowned and exclusive fashion and beauty labels—a feat that demands exceptional finesse in branding strategy. Throughout the vast expanse of the store, various brand elements subtly reinforce the unique Illum experience.

Notably, in the cosmetic and perfume department, each world-famous brand occupies its designated section, employing a consistent white-on-black branding scheme, mirroring the overarching Illum umbrella brand. This careful orchestration creates a harmonious ambiance that aligns with the brand identity while avoiding visual clutter, as logos peacefully coexist without competing for attention. The absence of colour in these sections ensures that individual brands stand out in their distinctive ways, allowing customers to navigate the space effortlessly.

The design and branding extend beyond the products themselves to the very carrier of the shopping experience—the bag. A remarkable fusion of minimalist aesthetics, environmental consciousness, and a touch of class, the white-on-black design serves as a mobile advertisement, contributing to the brand’s visibility on the streets. This thoughtful approach reflects Illum’s commitment to not only elegance but also environmental sustainability.

The brilliance of the design team is evident in every aspect, from the seamless blend of modernity and heritage to the strategic use of black and the clever incorporation of the double ‘l’ in the logo. The success of this element of the design is paramount, as any misstep in the execution could have compromised its integrity. The fact that the name and location of Illum are iconic to the Danish audience mitigates any minor concerns about legibility, emphasizing the design’s effectiveness within its cultural context.

In conclusion, Illum is not just a department store; it is a masterpiece of design and branding. The current iteration of its logo stands as a design classic, embodying a perfect balance between contemporary aesthetics, historical reverence, and practical functionality.

About Illum from the Visit Copenhagen website.

Just to be absolutely sure, this is NOT sponsored content. I am not connected to Illum in any way, or the design of their branding, this is purely a designer’s appreciation of some great design. Yes, I have spent way too long just staring at the shop’s signage, analysing and appreciating it. I’m a designer, it is what we do!