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The Crumpler Evolution

The Crumpler Evolution

Inside Crumpler | 7 February 2018

The Lessons of a Proud History

Born on the streets of mid-90’s Melbourne and driven by the needs of bicycle couriers, Crumpler messenger bags exploded on to the scene with bright colours, clever designs, and our famed bulletproof construction.

Over the years our range has expanded to include backpacks, suitcases, bum-bags, wallets and beyond. Parties have been had. Collaborations have been made. Boundaries have been pushed. And, most importantly, millions of people’s belongings have been carried safely in bags with our famed logo.

We’re proud of our history. We’re proud of the impression Crumpler has had on so many people. And we are excited to move into the next phase of our story.




The Crumpler Evolution

2018 is a statement of intent for us here at Crumpler. A chance to reflect on our history, applaud our successes and – more importantly – make improvements where improvements can be made.

The world of bags has changed vastly since Crumpler was established in 1995. What we demand of our bags has changed. How we travel has changed. How we get to work has changed. And, our tastes and style have certainly changed.


“Our approach and sensibility to function being fused and enabled through a stylized and at times quirky design remain.”

For our new collection, Pronounced Alive, we leave the analogue world behind and arrive squarely in the digital age.

“Although the new designs do seem to look drastically different to the classic Crumpler,” Head of Design Valeria Fioretti says, “our approach and sensibility to function being fused and enabled through a stylized and at times quirky design remain.”

The use of eco-friendly materials and construction processes has always been a major focus for our design team. Not only do we see this as an opportunity to become a more environmentally conscious business, we will also expand the aesthetic appeal of our bags by adopting a wider range of base materials.

Bags crafted with a focus on purpose, style, and functionality, made from a variety of different materials which allows for the addition of clever and innovative features.

This is our design mantra and it won’t ever change.



The Evolution of our new logo

Pronounced Alive symbolises a season of evolution. New styles in bold colours, classic shapes updated to suit new design directions, and exciting new fabrics and features that help to usher in a new era of products which tick the looks, function and innovation boxes.


“As times have changed, and the world has become more connected, our customers have evolved too, and it was time to honour the brand and to bring the Crumpler man into the 21st century.”


Alongside Pronounced Alive comes, perhaps, the biggest evolution for the brand in its two-decade history – the evolution of our logo.

“When Crumpler launched in 1995 we stood out from the pack - quite literally - through the vibrant colours of our bags and the irreverent spirit of our marketing.” CEO Adam Wilkinson says. “As times have changed, and the world has become more connected, our customers have evolved too, and it was time to honour the brand with a refresh and to bring the Crumpler man into the 21st century.”

He’s had a haircut and swapped out the slip-on boat shoes for something with laces, but he still stands for the same things he has always stood for; creativity, quality, design, innovation, and a playful spirit.



A Whole New World

These changes have not been taken lightly, but they have been taken confidently.

Design and print collaborations with some of the biggest designers and brands in the world. Stories and interviews with thought-leaders from different walks of life. Bag design and base materials that aim to inspire change and to look great doing it. Clean, functional products that still offer the clever touches that Crumpler is well-known for. And innovation, both in our products and in the way that we present them to our customers.

These are just some of the reasons we’re excited by this opportunity to evolve.



“Crumpler designers were previously inspired by the immediate world around them which, in the 90’s, was Melbourne’s emergent and vibrant street art and cycle courier cultures,” Fioretti explained. “As we have grown and now have a global footprint, it makes sense that our search for inspiration has broadened and we are stimulated by the pastiche approach of the internet as well as from our international community of customers, and their daily lives”.


sam wold 15 February 2018 at 8:17 pm
I just wanted to say that i really dislike the new logo & branding. I admit i wasnt sure about the old wirey cartoon dude on first look. But that is the charm- the brand had real soul and authenticity because it was different. Once i got to know the quality of the bags and the story behind the logo- the owners own drawing- is when the BRAND became interesting. THe old logo had sould and i became very fond of it. I just went and bought a bag with the old one becuase i know i wont buy something with the new, shiny, metallic looking thing. It looks heartless and cheap- like any other shitty and forgetable luggage brand you'd buy at an airport. I hate it. To be particular, i find the negative space in the dude really annoying, but the problem is much bigger than that- you didn't need to re-brand; doing so might lose you all your interested customers.
sam wold 15 February 2018 at 8:23 pm
Thinking it through more as i look & read the reasons for changing on the website, you could keep the new type/font if you want to be future focused. But i'd suggest not to change the squiggly man. Change his background, take him out of the circle, but dont throw him in the bin. Massive fail.
Crumpler 16 February 2018 at 9:20 am
Hey Sam,

Thanks for the feedback. It's been great to see the level of passion that people have for Crumpler and the Crumpler Man logo.

We can assure you that the decision to change our branding (the man logo in particular) was not taken lightly. As you can imagine, a lot of us in the company loved the classic man just as much as our fans.

But it was time for a change. Hopefully, just as you did when you first saw the old man logo, he'll grow on you and you'll come to love the new man too.

Thank you again.

The Crumpler Team.
Amy Leung 23 February 2018 at 12:55 pm
Can't agree more. I very much dislike the new logo and branding. It lost the soul of Crumpler.
Bring back the old dude, dudes. He is Crumpler, all wavy lines and organic. Your new "man" isn't even human. It's a robotic disconnect. Ford is wise enough to keep its blue lozenge, and BMW its blue and white propellor. Vegemite still keeps its familiar l 19 February 2018 at 2:29 am
Kim Randell
Crumpler 21 February 2018 at 1:10 pm
Hi Kim, thanks for the feedback. We are loving the passion that our fans had for the old logo, even if you don't necessarily like the new one.

We felt it was time for a refresh and a bit of an update. Hopefully, just like when Ford put their classic written logo in the blue lozenge in 1927, people will grow to love it.

The Crumpler Team.
Kevin 19 February 2018 at 7:40 am
You don't really seem proud of your history
Crumpler 21 February 2018 at 1:11 pm
Hi Kevin, thanks for the feedback.

We are incredibly proud of our history. This brand has accomplished so much and made so many people happy in it's 20+ year history.

What we are trying to do is make sure we don't rest on our laurels and to try and take our amazing brand to the next level. That way, in another 20-years, we can stand back and be incredibly proud of Crumpler's 40-year history.

Thanks Kevin.
The Crumpler Team.
Bill Rolga 19 February 2018 at 8:59 pm
It is sad to see the new logo. Gone is the soul, the heart - that something special which made Crumpler, Crumpler. It’s been replaced with a distressed looking, sterile, corporatised “me too” logo that wouldn’t look out of place on the rear of the latest imported 4x4 truck. Similar with the new bag designs, again, sterile and no different to hundreds of others you can buy at your local luggage shop or online. What made Crumpler successful, what stood you out from the crowd was the uniqueness, great designs, colour and quality. Don’t stray from what made you successful or you will become another abandoned and forgotten Australian brand.
Crumpler 23 February 2018 at 8:34 am
Hey Bill, thank you for the feedback.

Sorry you're not a fan of the new logos but we can promise you that the soul of Crumpler has not gone with the old logo.

In fact, the soul of Crumpler was never the logo. The soul of Crumpler has always been the bags, the talented people who design them, the amazing people who sell them and the incredible people who use them. And that has not and wont ever change.

Hopefully, with a bit of time, you'll come to love the new man and written logo. And, if not, hopefully you'll come to realise that the bags are the real soul of this company, not the badge sewn onto them.

Thank you again for your feedback, Bill.

The Crumpler Team.
Angie 9 March 2018 at 1:51 am
Same thoughts with you, Bill..i still like the old logo and bags design..
Gordo 20 February 2018 at 7:00 pm
And now it’s time for something completely different.

Contrary to Sam’s comments, I think it’s a welcome change. The new look is a marked improvement on the previous immature, clownish aesthetic—of both the logo, and the bag designs.

Loyal customers swear by the quality and craftsmanship of your bags. Assuming the quality of the bags is maintained in the new designs, I am confident that the rebrand will retain its old customers, and attract new ones in droves.

In fact, for the first time in my life, I’m actually considering Crumpler for my next messenger/laptop bag—and that’s solely because of the rebrand.
Crumpler 23 February 2018 at 8:34 am
Hey Gordo,

Thank you for your response.

We're so glad to hear you like the new logo and that you're considering getting a Crumpler bag now. That's incredibly reassuring and exciting. We're confident you're going to love it!

And you're right; because we're using the same designers, manufacturers and materials, the only thing that has changed on our bags is the logo.

Thanks again for the feedback, Gordo.

The Crumpler team.
Matt Kurowski 22 February 2018 at 9:01 am
Well, I think it rocks. It takes courage and discipline to reconsider your identity as an individual, let alone a business! Be it the old or the new Crumpler logo, it's the commitment to the decision and how that translates through to your current and future customers that makes your business as successful as it is. Well done with the determination and humility in these forums gals and guys. Keep on making amazing products and following your hearts, heads and guts.

Well done,
Matt K
Leroy Soeterboek 22 February 2018 at 8:45 pm
Progress is a good thing. As long as your quality stays the same, I’ll always love Crumpler.

Thanks
Deb 6 March 2018 at 1:47 pm
What a shame. I bought a new bag yesterday and I'm just disappointed. The squiggle head man was so iconic. The new logo just looks like any other stick figure, the old one had some character. Not sure the marketing wizards realise the impact. I will cherish my rather large collection of squiggle logo bags, not all that sure I will continue to follow the brand
Rob 7 March 2018 at 3:56 pm
Own goal. The new logo is visually grinding but the font is horrific.
Xavante 8 March 2018 at 7:30 pm
I’m excited about the new direction which Crumpler is taking, it puts more emphasis on the bag than the logo. Yes, the Crumpler Man (why was it a man anyways?) was iconic and had a great story behind it but things have to move forward. I’m no fan of the new logo but it’s the bags I’m more interested in.
Crumpler bags are so damn indestructeable there’s a huge second hand market for them so I’m sure you can get your old Crumpler logo fix or buy from Crumpler Europe who are still using the old logo.
Well done to the Crumpler team for stepping outside the comfort zone.
Xavante 26 March 2018 at 9:10 pm
PS just noticed how similar the new CRUMPLER type is to racked.com logo
Simon C Bailey 23 April 2018 at 9:42 am
I never thought of it as a man, human yes but theres nothing to differentiate whether its male or female, young or old, black or white or whatever. Its perfect.
Adrian 11 March 2018 at 11:02 pm
Question: Did you Crumpler peeps do some market research with current customers about their perception of the old logo and the ideals behind the old logo?
I really don't see any evidence of that (even if you did) based on both the 95% negative comments I just read (I read every single one) and the somewhat unconvincing reasons for the change. Comparing yourselves with a Ford rebrand from the 1920s - why not instead note that in the 1960s Ford abandoned a plan to change the logo...because it was so well-established? Noting repeatedly that you are appreciating the passion of the complaints ?
Anyway, back to my original question. Clearly, it's your company and you run logo redesigns how you want - but if you had done the research and there was enthusiasm for a rebrand from the consumers...you would surely have mentioned it already in your non-stop defences.

While the current/new logo is fine and clever even...it still lacks (as 95% of everyone else here is saying) the authenticity and charm of the original logo. Simply - it's not a better logo, and it disestablishes your established brand.

PS - to demonstrate some vague credibility in having an opinion about your bags: I bought my first in New York in 2003; I personally have 16 of your bags and we have over 22 in the house; I'm a designer. My opinion is that you could still go back to the better, original logo.
David 21 March 2018 at 7:34 pm
Hi Crumpler,

I have to agree with many of the previous posts - I feel some sadness with the retirement of the old logo, especially the 'Crumpler Dude', and I'm not particularly keen on the font. I really liked the organic feel of the old logo, and feel that it would still fit the new 'digital' direction of the Crumpler brand.

If anything keeping the old logo would have highlighted Crumpler's iconic Australian history, allowing you to reference the unique story of Crumpler, as you launch some cool new products. I have owned many Crumpler bags since the early 2000s, and I have to say I'm a bit of a Crumpler fanboy. I own at least 10 still - some that date back to 2003.

This said, some of your new designs look great - the return to work range looks particularly awesome. I will still buy Crumpler gear as your quality beats pretty much everything else on the market in this price range - I can't imagine many other brands lasting 15 years and still looking awesome.

But please don't expect me to love the new 'Dude' (or branding) - every time I see him I'll just miss our old friend that he replaced (think replacing Sean Connery with George Lazenby as 007). I'll still love the bags though.
Prokop Matej 25 March 2018 at 7:34 am
rip crumpler
Edoardo 30 March 2018 at 2:03 am
I share the sentiments of many here. There aren't many brands I feel a special connection to, but Crumpler is one of them.

Over the years our family has become a loyal customer with many Christmas' including Crumpler gifts.
The bags were built to last, vibrant, different, and didn't take themselves too seriously. The bag I bought for uni years ago is brand new after a good scrub down.

Most iconic though was the logo. It stood out and was a perfect reflection of the brand I admire.

I never expected I'd get so worked up over a logo change, but here I am. I hope it doesn't symbolise a deeper shift in values within the company towards bland, mass market appeal. You'll lose that game.

If this was just an ill-informed experiment by the design team, please change the logo back.

You created an iconic brand, now you're lost in the crowd.
firdaus buhari 6 April 2018 at 9:00 pm
Bring back the old styling and the logo, the current one just seems off, it has no relevance to the brand culture and the essence is just all wrong. This brand used to be quirky, the names, the descriptions and the model with the bag and even how you guys used to measure the bags - using beer bottles. I miss the old crumpler, the old website which was hard to navigate but that was what crumpler was about I guess, the quirkiness and the eccentricity. Well, I guess it is all gone...
Eug 6 April 2018 at 9:57 pm
Hi Crumpler!

New logo or not - please keep the great quality of the bags and the designs going!

Please bring back the Outpost project style bags. They were amazing and I wish I had one - 5 years later!
Simon C Bailey 23 April 2018 at 9:33 am
Sorry but your new logo sucks. Big branding mistake changing that and completely pointless.

You just alienated long term fans of the company like myself.

Also you have too many bags, less is more. Your just blending into the rest now.
Francis Hout 27 April 2018 at 7:21 pm
I saw this new logo on Youtube by a presenter in Hong Kong, honestly, it's horrible. Your company just needs the courage to admit that you've made a bad decision and to make amends by going back to the former logo.
John Doe 4 May 2018 at 2:21 pm
everyone hates the new logo. The decision was obviously not taken lightly to remove the old aesthetic and squiggly dude and replace it with the more modern looking one but a regretful one nonetheless. The company has lost its charm and unique identity in pursuit of modernity. Rip Crumpler
Herbert W. Smythe 5 May 2018 at 4:45 pm
2002 called, wants its aesthetic back
David Tiley 13 May 2018 at 11:12 pm
I've loved that mad little exploding critter for a long time. Brands represent us, and which of those figures do you want to be? That zooming, excited traveller or Mr Robot in the second iteration? Also, the key to me about Crumpler has always been a combo of feel/texture/solidity and the way you use colour. Monochrome is not seductive, doesn't catch the eye, doesn't say 'yes, you didn't expect this and it works!' Let alone the ability to mix and contrast shapes in the design as well as colours. You can always get respectable as your core audience ages, but an awful lot of us from all ages cultures creeds and dreams want to honour our inner child. And Crumpler is a brand for people going on an adventure even if it is just whizzing around the streets on a bike, adrenalin pumping, plunging through ephemeral gaps like survival bubbles in a world of steel and bitumen..
Janette 28 May 2018 at 4:22 pm
As a designer I understand and embrace the logo change but as a consumer I’m a bit sad to see him go. I meet Adam in the mid 90’s and did his first business card through WCPenfold on exhibition street Melb. He told me all about the character and his ideas for the business, he was so excited and it was contagious. Ever since I’ve always purchased his products and felt a connection after hearing the story. In saying that, im excited to see where this evolution takes us all. All the very best. Janette x
ZOE 31 May 2018 at 4:34 pm
Just bought three bags from the shop at little Bourke Street this month for the first time. I saw other bag had old logo on their bags. Thought mine weren’t from crumpler before reading your story. I honestly don’t mind a lot of the logo but a lot more of the quality. The new logo looks cooler, the old one is cute tho. Good on y’all.