Behind the brushstroke: The story of the NARS logo

NARS Logo

How much do you know about the NARS logo? Most cosmetic and beauty fans are familiar with this iconic emblem, which is present across signage, product packaging, and other assets around the world. However, few people know the NARS logo history or the brand’s evolution.

While other beauty and cosmetics companies have consistently updated and refined their visual identity based on a changing audience, NARS has maintained a consistent image. 

Even in its early years, NARS carefully positioned itself as an innovator, choosing a modern emblem designed to evolve with the company in the years ahead. 

Though relatively simplistic, the NARS logo symbolizes the organization’s commitment to unity, innovation, and evolution. With its compelling overlapping letters, the inscription highlights the creativity of the organization and its commitment to serving customers. 

Today, we will look closer at the NARS logo and its history, explaining why NARS has retained the same emblem for several years. 

NARS Logo

What does NARS stand for? Introducing NARS

Before we begin our exploration of the NARS logo history, let’s start with an introduction to the brand itself. 

Otherwise known as “NARS Cosmetics,” NARS is a French brand committed to creating skincare and makeup items for a modern audience. The organization was first founded by a photographer and makeup artist named François NARS in 1994. 

Like many young companies, NARS started with a relatively simple product line, consisting of a selection of twelve lipsticks, primarily sold within the Barneys store in New York. Since then, however, NARS has created a host of different multi-use products for its audience. 

It’s currently owned by the Shiseido brand and sells its wares mostly through department stores. 

Today, NARS has a presence across more than 30 countries, including the Americas, Japan, Europe, and Southeast Asia. 

Though the organization originally identified itself as a cruelty-free brand, it inspired some controversy after choosing to sell its products in the Chinese market, where animal testing is a requirement. 

Why is NARS makeup called NARS?

Due to the fact that “NARS” is spelled with all capital letters in the company’s name, most consumers assume it’s an acronym. However, the reality is the title is simply based on the second name of the founder of the company, François NARS. 

NARS was born in the south of France and grew up with a deep love of designer clothing inspired by his mother. He acquired his first job as an assistant to some of the top makeup artists in Paris and went to a makeup school to develop his knowledge. 

After moving to New York in 1984, NARS worked alongside numerous photographers and makeup professionals, which eventually inspired him to create his own cosmetics brand in 1994. 

Though NARS was officially sold to Shiseido in 2000, NARS remains a core part of the corporate team, helping with artistic direction, photography, and copywriting processes. 

As mentioned above, the NARS logo history doesn’t feature any real changes to the organization’s visual identity over the years. The emblem in use by the brand today is the same as the original inscription created for the company’s first official products. 

The NARS logo was designed to be timeless from day one, with a focus on simple lines and colors. The design features the name of the company, written in all uppercase letters in a distinctive sans-serif font.

Each letter is created with sleek, thin lines intended to demonstrate artistry and accuracy.  

NARS Logo

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the NARS logo is the way the letters in the emblem overlap. Each character connects with another in the wordmark, transforming the emblem into an almost abstract design. 

The carefully positioned letters highlight the company’s commitment to community, unity, and overall inclusion with its product collection. 

NARS Logo

In many instances, the NARS logo is presented in black font on a simple transparent or white background. However, in some cases, this inscription also appears on a black square in white font, demonstrating sophistication and elegance. 

The NARS emblem also appears in different ways on the product packaging used for the company’s items. 

The design helps consumers to identify authentic NARS products from a distance. In most cases, NARS products are produced with black packaging, with the NARS logo depicted in white. 

The NARS Cosmetics logo: Fonts and colors

Like many beauty and cosmetics companies, NARS chose a simplistic but sophisticated emblem for its logo. The modern inscription demonstrates a commitment to elegance and artistry while also showcasing the creative nature of the brand. 

The unique positioning of each letter, overlapping with other characters in the wordmark, sets NARS apart. It tells customers that the company thinks outside of the box with its products and services. 

The fact that the visual identity of the company has remained the same throughout NARS logo history is a testament to the longevity of the original design. NARS carefully selected its logo to appeal to all generations and consumers for years to come. 

You can find some useful examples of the NARS logo in the following resources:

NARS has retained the same consistent color palette throughout its lifespan in the cosmetics industry. The NARS logo colors of black and white are a common choice in the beauty landscape, as they’re often associated with elegance and sophistication. 

The NARS logo color palette is also highly versatile, allowing the company to create modern and attractive packaging for its products. As mentioned above, while the official NARS logo showcases the typeface in black font on a white background, this design is often inverted. 

It’s common to see the NARS emblem depicted in white on a black background too. 

What font does the NARS logo use?

The NARS logo font is a simple, sans-serif typeface with very thin letters intended to convey grace and beauty. The design is similar in some ways to the Helvetica Neue Ultra-Light typeface.

However, NARS has added a unique element to its emblem by causing the letters to overlap. 

The careful positioning of the font, with connected letters, makes the business look more artistic, creative, and innovative. Though the wordmark is made slightly more complex with the overlapping elements, the sleek and streamlined font choice ensures the letters are still legible. 

Looking back at the NARS logo history, we can see an excellent example of how companies can preserve an effective identity for their company with a timeless, contemporary emblem. The NARS logo has remained the same since the brand’s inception, with no major changes to its color or font. 

By selecting a compelling yet simplistic logo from day one, NARS has ensured its visual identity can evolve with its company, connecting to a wide range of consumers. Today, the NARS logo is a symbol of authority, strength, and innovation in the cosmetics space.

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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