Fossilization

 

Above is the official logo for Fossil, a company which makes (in my opinion) totally cool and unique watches, handbags, and apparel.  However, the above logo is not the only one which Fossil uses.  Even though it's the most common in the sense that it is featured in their stores and on their website, this logo is rarely used on their actual products and packaging.

Since 1984 when the company was founded, Fossil has produced products based on the retro designs of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.  When founder Tom Kartsotis invited to the team his friend Lynne Stafford, the duo created the "retro" design style that predicated the company's existence and fueled its growth throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s.  For inspiration, Kartsotis and Stafford (who were later married) pored over old issues of Look, Life, and Time magazines looking at styles that were prevalent during these time periods and figuring out how to translate them into products applicable to the trends of the time, targeting the teens through early 30's age group.  Their designs were, and have remained, based on fashion history yet creatively applied, resulting in a unique style.  The company's sales blossomed during the '80's and '90's, and continues to be strong to this day.

What Fossil is perhaps most known for is its watches, at least in the U.S.  I myself just recently bought a Fossil watch, which was crafted with superb attention to detail and quality materials (and no, I'm not a sales rep. for Fossil). However, one thing that caught my attention even more than Fossil's watches are the tins they're packaged in.  These tins are, for the most part, unique to the line of watches that they contain and each feature a different logo.  Look at the logos below: they make up only a small number of the many logos which have been featured on Fossil watch tins over the years:

Each of them features a type treatment that perfectly relates to the forms expressed in the designs of the packages and the general feel that each is portraying.  For example, one logo in the middle of the above column is crafted of letters reminiscent of typewriter keys, each placed in its own "key." 

One might think that with all this diversity the company's brand would be weakened due to lack of coherence.  However, this is far from the truth, as each design depends on the company's name and retro look to effectively communicate its brand, not necessarily on a consistent logo.  One can easily spot Fossil products based on their packaging which allows for much creative exploration on the part of the designers who make them.

Below, just for fun, are some more logos that were featured on a poster from an AIGA convention several years ago made out of Fossil watch tins.  Notice how the vintage signage printed on top of the tins in the center running horizontally spell out the company name and off to the right side, running vertically, more vintage letters spell out "AIGA."  The logos below can be viewed as a wonderful synopsis of the many type styles present during the '30's, '40's, '50's, and '60's.  This combination of past design with modern branding is an excellent example of the Creative Use of Type.