Thursday, March 7, 2013

HBC, Rebranded

It was announced  a few days ago that the Hudson's Bay Company aka. "The Bay" is rebranding itself.  The shortened moniker and its emphatic, monster of a "B", adopted in 1965, is being abandoned on store signs in favour of a plainer, all-caps typeface and a fuller title, that of "Hudson’s Bay".  The company’s coat of arms, redrawn by Canadian artist Mark Summers, will be featured on some packaging alongside the new title and an evocation of the company's incorporation in 1670.  The latin motto –“pro pelle cutem” or “skin for skin” -- is also back in, after having been dropped during the arms' last redesign in 2002.  See the Globe's coverage here, and the Star's here.  The story has yet to make the rounds of the French-language press, but Radio-Canada is reporting that "La Baie d'Hudson" has been retained as the French name.

Bay logo returns to its roots
The new logo.  Bye, bye big flowery "B".
The retailer, apparently, is hoping to acquire a more modern, streamlined look while at the same time reconnecting with its incomparable heritage.  I wonder, though, why they chose to leave out the "Company" part.  I liked it.  In any case, I should not tarry in pointing out a New France connection, at least the most obvious one: let's not forget that the HBC's foundation in 1670 was a direct consequence of the defection of two famous Canadians, Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers.  The Dictionary of Canadian Biography refers to the pair as the company's "originators".  Eager for more?  Have a look at their DCB entries here and here.  Or better yet?  Check out Germaine Warkentin's superb reedition of Pierre-Esprit Radisson: The Collected Writings (2012), or Jean-Sébastien Bérubé's award-winning four-volume bande-dessinée, Radisson (2010).  (Des Groseilliers was the quiet one.)


1 comment:

  1. During my days as a ne'er do well and impressionable youth, I thought it was pretty neat shopping in a store with such a rich history. I am glad they are embracing it, even if it is a facade for sales.

    In an era of ubiquitous simulation, and mass/trans market approaches (I just threw up in my mouth a little, I'm sorry about that), defining your business or product from the others is pretty important. People long for the "simplicity" and romance of the past, so this move is a good idea.

    Whichever mind came up with "The Bay" should be left adrift in a lifeboat.

    “pro pelle cutem” is fantastically and awesomely grim. Love it.