The Kardashian Brand: Boom or Bust?

Brand identity expert David Brier takes on one of today’s fashion icons: Kim Kardashian. She became a reality TV star, has taken over New York and has over 6.7 million followers on twitter. What about the sweet smell of success?


The Fantasy
While in my office enjoying my morning Illy cappuccino, I am alerted an important call has just come in: Ms. Kardashian is on the line. I answer the phone. What ensues is a conversation one could only dream about: she is an admirer of my work, has a fragrance line coming out and would like to commission me to design the new brand and its launch. By the time our call is done, the froth on my cappuccino has long since disappeared but that’s okay. Life is good. There’s more cappuccino where that came from.

I hear a siren outside the window to awaken and realize it was only a dream.

Getting philosophical, I realize some of our greatest achievements came about due to a dream, a fantasy, an insatiable curiosity of “What if?”


The Reality
Kim did not call me. Yet.

But it would be a dream project: creating a brand for a lifestyle icon. Having created brands for some of the world’s top luxury brands, I admit to occasionally letting my mind wander to freely imagine about possibilities.

In my book, Defying Gravity & Rising Above the Noise, I presented a logo for Sean John (or Sean Combs, or “P. Diddy”) based on the word bling. As you see here, it is a great word play since it reads right side up and upside down. Like I said in my book, Sean, we should talk.


I wondered if a new celebrity brand could be launched in today’s market that took full advantage of my expertise and skills to marry them up with the right celebrity to take it to a whole new level? After this, I thought about my newfound friend, Kim Kardashian and thought, “Who else could kick off a brand that would launch a thousand ships?” Kim would be perfect.

I mean…

  • J Lo has fragrances, colognes, and perfumes.
  • Queen Latifah has clothing and makeup.
  • Elizabeth Taylor has her Diamonds fragrance line.
  • Donald Trump has his clothing line, premium vodka and more.
  • Beyonce has a line of clothing and a new line of temporary tattoos.
  • Diddy has everything you can name.

Lindsey Lohan may be coming out with a prison breakout clothing line any day now, while Charlie Sheen may introduce a Tiger Blood beverage before the week is out.

I figure we could give Jay Z, Gwen Stefani, Jessica Simpson and The Olsen Twins a run for their money.

Sex Appeal
I started to to scribble design, ideas, personalities and created a concept so organic, so natural that it seemed to draw itself. The name, the design, the concept flowed.






I then developed the concept further to see: How do I add another dimension to this brand concept? How might this work on packaging?


Now we had a foundation to start a dialog, to establish personality and present an attitude that showed we weren’t full of ourselves but could embrace the risqué without taking ourselves too seriously. As shown in these two ads:


Design: © David Brier – Perfume bottle photo: © Evgeny Egorychev |
Kim Kardashian photo: © Daniel Raustadt |

Too much celebrity-driven brands take themselves too seriously. I figure it was time to explore and stick my big toe in this pond of our celebrity-fixated culture.

Hey, with a start like this, we could likely reinvent the purse category as well. How? Well, there are a gazillion purses. Then, men began carrying around murses.


Well, how about launching a new line of Kardashian purses called…. kurses. I can hear it now in Sex and The City 3, “Did you bring your kurse with you to go with those shoes?”

Kim, how’d we do? I am awake and my cappuccino is steaming.

Recipient of over 320 national and international design and branding recognitions and awards, David Brier is an award-winning brand identity designer, author, and branding expert. His firm’s work has won the admiration of peers and organizations but has, more importantly, helped clients jump-start their brands in new and innovative ways, even (and especially) when they’ve failed in previous brand makeovers. Most recently, David’s celebrated work for Botanical Bakery was selected for the 2010 Communication Arts Design Annual and will be featured in “The Big Book of Packaging.”


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About the author

Brand identity expert, veteran designer, author, speaker and Fast Company expert blogger. Shark Tank investor and CEO of fashion brand Fubu, Daymond John states, "David Brier is brilliant with branding." He’s been written about in, INC and Fortune Small Business. In addition to being a branding specialist and a Fast Company expert blogger, David's Slideshare presentations on branding have exceeded the 500,000 view milestone (a founding member of Slideshare's Half-a-Million Views Club) and is the 1st place winner in the 2013 Shorty Awards (known industry-wide as “The Oscars for Social Media”) for branding


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