Macy’s, an iconic American retail giant renowned for its diverse product offerings, encompassing apparel, accessories, household goods, and cosmetics, was established in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy. Since its inception, Macy’s has become one of the most substantial and recognizable retail enterprises in the United States, firmly establishing itself in numerous major cities.
Meaning and History
The journey of Macy’s has been one of continual growth and transformation. During the late 1800s, the brand unveiled its flagman location on New York City’s 6th Avenue, proudly christened as the “World’s Largest Store” at the time. Macy’s demonstrated its pioneering spirit by introducing groundbreaking concepts such as captivating window displays and the Thanksgiving Day Parade, known globally. The company’s path involved strategic acquisitions of numerous department shops, demonstrating a remarkable ability to adapt to ever-shifting consumer preferences.
The evolution of the Macy’s brand is symbolized by its red star logo, a symbol of quality and sophistication that has endured for over a century. While the logo has undergone various transformations, this symbol remains a steadfast element, signifying Macy’s commitment to delivering unparalleled products and service. The legacy and brand identity of Macy’s set it as a cornerstone in the rich tapestry of American retail history.
What is Macy’s?
Macy’s is a celebrated American retail company known for its extensive array of products, including clothing, accessories, home goods, and cosmetics, which traces its roots back to 1858 when Rowland Hussey Macy founded it. Since its establishment, Macy’s has undergone remarkable expansion, evolving into one of the United States’ largest and most prominent retail establishments, with a steadfast presence in numerous major cities.
1920 – 1932
One of the earliest surviving logotypes, dating back to 1920, featured elegantly handwritten text reading “R. H. Macy & Co. Inc.” in the style of classical calligraphy. Below this was the store’s location: “34TH ST. & BROADWAY” on the left and “NEW YORK CITY” on the right. This site earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places and attained landmark status after the Straus brothers purchased the company, prompting its relocation in 1902.
1932 – 1938
As the years rolled on, the logo changed its design, featuring the word “MACY’S” with an illusion of 3D due to varying gray outlines. Designers employed a custom vintage typeface, with the initial “M” larger than other characters and extending beyond the baseline.
1938 – 1948
In this rendition, the inscription became black and shifted to titlecase symbols. The script featured slender letters with extended serifs, while the address of the flagship store, 34th Street and B’way, New York City, returned below.
1948 – 1986
In the mid-20th century, the address was removed, placing a stronger emphasis on the name caption, “Macy’s,” whose coloring remained black. The four characters following the “M” were made lowercase, and the apostrophe transformed into a small star above the “y.”
1961 – 1970
Over time, the thickness slightly fluctuated, culminating in a bold, flattened lettering employed until 1970. All characters adopted capital forms with serifs.
1970 – 1977
The 1970 iteration shared a few similarities with the previous versions, retaining just the name. It had a rounded and thick style with lowercase characters and lacked a star.
1978 – 1982
To enhance legibility, designers minimized thickness and got back to black characters. Additionally, small gaps appeared between letters.
1982 – 2019
The early 1980s saw even thinner lines, although the script’s style remained unchanged. An understated five-pointed star found its place in the upper right corner of the “y.”
2004 – 2019
In the 21st century, the Macy’s retail chain decided to use the star as the prominent element of the logo. This new addition appeared to the left of the company’s name.
2019 – today
The 2019 reimagining sought to create a symmetrical lettering style. Designers modified the font and adjusted the placement of lines, aligning the large star with the stylized apostrophe in height. This feature aimed to create the illusion that all characters were of equal size, despite significant variations, particularly noticeable in the letter “s.”
Red is the main color used in the Macy’s logo. This symbol of passion and progress is used to draw the five-ended star, placed to the left of the black inscription.
The typeface in the name caption reminds Avant Garde Gothic Extra Light, a circular serif-free script by Tom Carnase and Herb Lubalin. The designers changed certain lines, aiming to imbue the letters with symmetry and align them with the star’s diagonals.