Fnac is a direct competitor to Virgin Megastores. Both brands represent retail networks that sell entertainment products: media players, DVDs, books, games, CDs, TVs. But Fnac puts itself above the regular discounted retailers because its stores contain high-end consumer goods, and retail outlets combine core business with value-added services. The company is owned by the French corporation Kering, which specializes in luxury goods and owns brands such as Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, and Gucci.
Meaning and History
The first Fnac store was opened in 1954. At first, it was a club for a limited number of customers: its members purchased membership discounts through Contact magazine. This sales scheme was organized by Max Théret, the bodyguard of the Russian Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Based on his socialist principles, he wanted to improve the working class’s life by lowering prices.
In 1966, the store opened its doors to everyone, after which the network began to expand actively. Fnac now has retail outlets in Spain, Portugal, France, and more exotic countries, including Congo and Qatar. They share a common visual style that underpins successful branding. It was revised several times during the leadership change, but it has always remained simple and minimalistic.
1969 – 1985
When the company opened its second store, it began using a wordmark with black “Fnac” on a white background. The spacing between the letters was minimal – especially between the “f” and “n,” which connected at the top. A round font with smooth curves was used for the design.
1985 – 1997
In 1985, the insurance company Garantie Mutuelle des Fonctionnaires acquired a portion of Fnac’s shares. Simultaneously, the chain of stores carried out a small redesign, making the inscription white and placing it inside a bright orange square. In this version, the word was placed diagonally, but the typography style remained the same.
1997 – today
After François-Henri Pinault became chairman of the board, the logo changed again. The designers raised the square a little, placing it on edge. This was enough to prevent it from turning into a diamond. Conversely, the lettering has been horizontally aligned. The orange color has taken on a mustard hue.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The abbreviation, derived from the words Fédération Nationale d’Achats des Cadres, is the main distinguishing mark of the stores’ chain. The colored rectangle only complements it and creates a suitable background against which the white letters are visible. The square lettering is a popular motif for many companies. For example, a similar symbol is used by the international retailer Virgin Megastores and the French telecommunications operator Orange.
The typeface featured in the logo resembles the Molde Expanded Semi Bold, but the match isn’t 100% accurate. Judging by the letters’ appearance, Fnac designers have slightly changed the design, making the curves smoother. The original font belongs to the neo-grotesque Molde family. It was created in 2017 for the Letritas foundry. The inspiration comes from the post-Bauhaus style that originated in Switzerland.
The orange square acts as a counterweight to the white lettering. The shade chosen by the designers is close to mustard yellow (# EBB300). The vibrant color draws attention and emphasizes the entertainment focus of the stores.