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The Yeezy Logo Rebrand 2022 – How a new logo caused controversy

When you think of the word Yeezy, there are likely two things that come to mind: Kanye West and the iconic shoe brand. After regularly being expressive through his own fashion choices, Kanye took to developing a brand that allowed his loyal fans to also do what he had been doing for so long. With the Yeezy brand, Kanye allowed his fans to have an avenue where they could also express themselves through clothing.

Kanye is a regular proponent of pushing boundaries and he has been vocal about not caring about what critics say about his personal choices and design choices. Kanye’s latest stint in the media shows exactly that. Recently, Kanye’s Yeezy brand has been navigating a lawsuit with Walmart and this lawsuit has been all over the media. And the basis of this lawsuit is the Yeezy logo that Kanye fans know and love.

If you haven’t heard of this lawsuit yet or want to learn more about what is going on with Yeezy’s logo, then you came to the right place. While we will take a deeper dive into the conflict the new Yeezy logo is currently having with Walmart in this article, first, we’ll cover some background information to help get you more familiar with this brand.

What is Yeezy? 

Kanye West founded Yeezy in 2009. The brand was originally founded as a sneaker brand that upgraded the sneaker styles everyone was used to. The brand has since grown to include clothing, accessories, and shoes beyond sneakers. Yeezy has been no stranger to partnerships, so Walmart is not the first brand Yeezy has appeared in news articles with. While Walmart’s publicity with Yeezy has not been positive publicity, previously Yeezy has partnered with Louis Vuitton, Nike, Adidas, and APC to help develop its styles and push its brand to its fullest potential.

What is Yeezy’s logo?

For a while, Yeezy’s logo consisted of one thing – the Yeezy brand name. The letter “Z” had a strike through it, but beyond the horizontal line, the only other distinguishing characteristic of the logo was that it is written in solely upper-case letters.

What does “Yeezy” mean?

The only time you’ve likely heard the word “Yeezy,” is when it is referenced in this brand name. It’s a strong brand name like many competitors (such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma). Many believe that the brand name, Yeezy, is about Kanye’s mentor and idol, Jay-Z. Jay-Z’s name is shortened from the word “Jehovah,” and since Jehovah means God in Hebrew, Yeezus is Kanye’s nod to this, meaning that he is the “Lord of Rap.” This name was also the name of his studio album but since many fellow artists have opted to add “eezy” to their nicknames, Kanye made another nod to one of his studio albums (Ye) and shortened Yeezus to Yeezy.

What is going on with Yeezy and Walmart? 

As we mentioned, the Yeezy logo previously consisted of the Yeezy name since the brand was founded in 2009. That all changed though when Yeezy filed for a new proposed logo in January 2020 as noted by CNN Business. When this logo was proposed, Walmart immediately took notice. That’s because what Yeezy was proposing was a new logo that looked like Walmart’s sunburst logo which has been used since 2007. Walmart stated in a letter that they reached out to Yeezy twice in July and August of 2020 and then in the first three months of 2021. Following Walmart’s attempts for resolution, Yeezy failed to respond or cooperate which Walmart also stated in their letter.

Why did the Yeezy brand want to update its logo? 

According to Fast Company, Yeezy likely wanted to update its logo because having a symbol be the face of the brand meant that it could be more easily repurposed in different colors and textures and across various multimedia (in various sizes). The new symbol resembles a badge and can easily be placed on a wide range of Yeezy products and marketing materials.

As highlighted earlier, Yeezy has been no stranger to partnerships. Having partnered with brands like Gap and Adidas previously, the Yeezy brand has failed to be as recognizable as its partners (and competitors). Take Nike and Adidas for instance. Nike is recognized by their swoosh, and Adidas is recognized by its three lines.

Where does the Walmart and Yeezy conflict stand today? 

While the dotted star logo has the potential to bring Yeezy fans over to the big-box store, Walmart doesn’t want the association with Kanye’s brand. Yahoo! notes that Walmart believes their consumers will be confused by the similarity between the logos and that this similarity also incorrectly suggests a connection between the two brands. These feelings were made clear in an updated filing to the US Patent and Trademark Office where the store replaced the “Deception/False Designation of Origin” claim with a “Suggestion of a Connection” claim. 

Walmart also isn’t in favor of this logo because as Yeezy expands its product offerings, their new products may be available for retail at Walmart, which would further add to the confusion. If more Yeezy products are being distributed through Walmart, and if the two have a similar logo, Walmart could also fall victim to any feelings their consumers have about any celebrity partnerships Yeezy explores.

After Walmart attempted to stop the new Yeezy logo from being released, Yeezy publicly stated, as noted by Creative Bloq, that the last thing they want to do is associate itself with the retailer. Yeezy stands firm on the notion that the two logos are not similar. They note that the Yeezy logo consists of eight dotted lines whereas Walmart’s logo only includes six lines that are thicker than Yeezy’s.

As of today, a decision has not been made on this lawsuit. This lawsuit is a difficult case to unravel, and the decision will likely not be as straightforward as other similar cases that have been brought to court. Kanye West’s net worth is estimated to be $6.6 billion, which is due in large part to his Yeezy brand. The Yeezy brand is critical to Kanye’s success so it’s safe to say that Kanye will do what it takes to keep his company growing. And if this lawsuit has shown us one thing, it’s that a business’s logo is a powerful thing.

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