Zeiss rethinks its branding, removes Carl from the picture


posted Friday, June 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM EDT

At the sprightly age of 196 years, the founder of famed optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss AG has today hung up his hat and stepped into retirement. Not literally, of course -- Mr. Zeiss left this mortal coil almost 125 years ago -- but metaphorically speaking, because the company he brought into being has today announced a change in the way it communicates its brand.

Going forwards, the company's products will no longer bear Carl Zeiss branding, instead using a single word: Zeiss. Of course, many of the company's customers have long used that word as shorthand for the company, and indeed Zeiss' own logo hasn't included the word "Carl" for several decades now. The full brand still appeared on the front of each Zeiss optic, though, and that will no longer be happening on new lenses going forwards. Existing products will retain their current branding, thereby avoiding some potential for confusion.

Carl Zeiss AG will be rebranding future lenses, replacing Carl Zeiss with the Zeiss brand alone.

It's important to note that while the lens branding is changing, Carl Zeiss doesn't suggest that the same will be happening to its official corporate name. We presume that will, for the time being at least, remain as Carl Zeiss AG. And it's not clear if the new branding will also apply on products from third parties who license the Carl Zeiss name for their fixed-lens cameras or interchangeable-lens optics.

Regardless of the answers to those questions, Zeiss is hardly the first company to truncate its name in the interests either of brevity, or of adopting common usage. It follows in the footsteps of brands like Asahi Pentax and Eastman Kodak, both of which now bear only the commonly-used portions of their respective names. Who'll be next to follow suit -- Schneider Kreuznach, perhaps? Share your thoughts on the new branding in the comments below...