Martell went down in the history of the alcohol industry as one of the first cognac houses in the world. He began supplying its products to the United States immediately after recognizing the independence of this country (in 1783) received the exclusive right to import goods to Great Britain during the economic blockade (in 1806-1814). His cognac was served at such important events as the ceremony of assuming power by King George V (in 1911) and the signing of the cessation of hostilities in World War I (in 1918). In 1957, the French president gave a decanter of Martell to Elizabeth II, and in 1971, the ruler of Japan received a case of Martell as a tribute. Thus, the spirits producer sets the highest standards and has no intention of stopping.
Meaning and History
The cognac house was named after its founder, Jean Martell, who started the family business in 1715, immediately after moving to Cognac, France. At that time, he was barely 21 years old. In order to develop the profitable business, he married the daughter of a cognac merchant and then married her cousin. The eighth generation of Martell now runs the company. It has been part of Pernod Ricard since 2001.
The production technology uses the purest grape spirits obtained by double distillation. They are kept in special cellars and aged in barrels made by hand from oaks grown in the Tronçais forest. This gives the drinks a unique taste and aromatic qualities. To emphasize the uniqueness of the cognac, the company bottles it in luxurious embossed and printed bottles. The labels are decorated with a logo depicting a flying bird. The current design was created in 2016, and before that, the symbol looked completely different.
1715 – 2000
The logo in use today dates back to the 18th century when Jean Martell opened a lucrative business making and selling cognac. As was the custom then, the company’s founder decided to mark the casks of alcohol with his family coat of arms to distinguish them from other products for export. And in 1848, this sign appeared on bottles for the first time. It looked like a heraldic shield with an image of a sitting bird (swift) and three hammers. The label was designed in silver-blue color and supplemented with inscriptions designed by a Parisian typographer. The iconic Martell coat of arms has passed through the centuries, adorning alcohol containers, shipping crates, and documents.
2000s – 2016
In the early 2000s, the cognac house became part of Pernod Ricard. Becoming part of the multinational group was the occasion for updating the identity. So an improved version of the logo appeared, which still contained a swift and a shield with three hammers, but in a modern design. The silhouette of a flying bird was at the top – above the white word “MARTELL,” placed in a golden frame. Under it was the inscription “FONDÉE EN 1715”, divided into two parts by a coat of arms with hammers. A large blue rectangle served as a common background for all the elements.
2016 – today
Shortly before the 300th anniversary, celebrated in the Versailles palace and park ensemble, the cognac company changed its logo again. It entrusted the redesign to the multidisciplinary Parisian studio Yorgo&Co. The specialists kept the bird and the shield with the three hammers and even left them in their usual places, but completely transformed the style. Now the traditional emblem components look elegant and convey exquisite craftsmanship. The shear with clearly traced wings and flowing lines no longer resembles an airplane. The brand name became blue, and another word appeared under it – “COGNAC.” It is written in thin golden letters. The same font is used for “FONDÉE EN 1715”, which has been around since the turn of the century.
The Martell family coat of arms, the basis of the logo, has several symbolic elements. Both the bird and the hammers are associated with the name of the cognac house because, in French, the swift is denoted by the word “martinet,” which is also a diminutive form of “marteau.” And “marteau,” in turn, is the name of a special hammer-shaped weapon. So all parts of the emblem were not chosen by chance.
Later, on the wave of success of Martell, connoisseurs of alcohol gave additional meaning to the brand logo. So the legend was born about the bird that flew over the city of Cognac 300 years ago, saw how beautiful that place was, and began to return there every year until its feathers were colored gold. Of course, this tale has nothing to do with reality, but the swift’s ability to fly great distances across the Atlantic Ocean symbolizes perseverance, endurance, perseverance, and hard work. Hammers have a similar meaning. All of the above qualities can be attributed to Martell.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Both fonts shown on the logo are custom designs. All the lettering was created by the designers of the Yorgo&Co studio when they were commissioned to change the company’s visual identity completely. For the main name, they chose a non-contracting, long serif typeface and a subtle grotesque for the rest of the text.
The combination of gold, blue and white emphasizes the brand’s sophistication. Blue was used on the very first Martell label in 1848. Gold is a connotation of aged cognac and luxury. White is a symbol of purity.