Iconic clothing brand, The Gap, unveiled its new logo October 6th resulting in a frenzy of outraged designers.
Marka Hansen, President of Gap North America explains Gap’s need for a new brand logo: “It is one that we’ve had for more than 20 years and it should evolve. Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that. We chose this design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.”
Louise Callagy, another Gap spokesperson, told Ad Age: “For the last two years we’ve been working on evolving the brand identity for Gap.”
Ms. Callagy said the retailer has been surprised by the response to the new logo, which was received well internally.
Two years to develop? “Received well internally?”
Sounds like this now infamous mark was the result of a logo designed by committee. It was “received well internally?” If only all of their customers were internal!
Personally, while I applaud The Gap’s effort from a PR standpoint, I don’t endorse its crowd sourcing from a philosophical one. Asking unpaid consumers to design a logo that will evolve The Gap’s brand, just undermines the necessary hard work that goes into a good logo design, or at least SHOULD go into a good logo design. Over the course of the two years they say was spent coming up with the “evolved” Gap brand, not one person at Gap thought to do consumer testing for the logo that is to potentially lead them through the next 20 years? I really don’t know everything about the process they used for this, but while I’m glad the new logo was “received well internally,” this is the type of self-centered thinking that can compromise the branding process and ultimately give branding a bad name.
I could probably write a whole post about what is wrong with Gap’s new logo, but something tells me you don’t need me to do that to convince you. Everything has been said about the use of the Helvetica font, and I agree that it was a poor choice. Beyond that, all physical space in a logo design should have meaning. When two shapes intersect, such as where the square intersects with the lower case “p”, the result should form a positive-negative space relationship that is strong, intentional and meaningful. It just seems, as if internally, since they all agreed they liked the old square they decided it is easy to keep it. Although they know they needed a brand evolution, they only regurgitated the existing image in a less meaningful form.
They now have to do something after last week’s onslaught of negative commentary. If you had told me two years ago that one poorly designed logo would inspire parody twitter accounts (see http:/twitter.com/gaplogo and http://twitter.com/oldgaplogo), parody websites like “Get your own crap logo”, and fervent dialog, all hemorrhaging negativity, all in less than a week’s time, I’d have been shocked. And so its crowd sourcing solution was probably the best response. If consumers were unimpressed with Gap’s effort and wanted more, what better way to rebuild brand loyalty and equity than to give them the power to see something they created become the company’s new visual mark?
Hopefully, Gap and others have learned or at least have been reminded of something from this experience. If you don’t do good solid branding, your customer will do it for you – positive or negative!
Ad Age reports that Gap will not be moving forward with their new logo.
It seems designers en masse not only dislike the new logo but are outspoken in their disdain for being needed to help fix the logo blunder with the proposed crowdsourcing project on Facebook. Gap has posted a message to FB saying the impending project is not related to the logo. Backpedaling?
It goes on….
Is this merely a poorly designed logo or is this poor comprehension of the brand internally? Was this redesign a marketing stunt? New strategies for the new paradigm?
Does this help or hinder Gap’s brand awareness?
If the logo is the result of Gap’s design firm (Laird and Partners) submitting to Gap’s internal team “vision”, how can this not reflect badly on Laird and Partners? Where do we, as designers, draw the line between integrity in what we do and the money we accept to do it. The client (customer) is always right?