If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
From Classic to Bland
For years, Gap has been one of those iconic brands that we’re all too familiar with. The old Gap logo was exactly like what they sold best – jeans. Like their closet staples, it was classic, simple, and understated. Their brand reflects that in all their advertising and marketing – simple and clean. And because of that, the one thing that held it all together was the logo. Take away the logo, and it could be anything else. It’s not my favorite logo, but it’s one that I admit, just works.
A Step Backward
When I first saw the new Gap logo on their site, I was shocked. And angry. And as a consumer, I felt cheated. The logo cheapens the brand.
The new logo is underwhelming. It looks like it was done in powerpoint. People are saying it looks done in a few seconds, but a lot of logos were done that way. The problem is that it doesn’t look finished. Also wondering how it looks in B&W.
Yeah, they were thinking outside the box, alright. But the wordmark isn’t interacting with the box. It’s just sitting there, in fact, it looks like a mistake. And why a gradient? Why something so indecisive in contrast to the word, which lokos so decisive? It’s saying one thing with the word, and another with the box.
Playing it Safe
Helvetica Bold has no plaice in a logo nowadays. They felt the need to conform. It’s a total cop out. Unless they’re going into a partnership with AA, there’s no reason to use Helvetica. Helvetica is already used for so many companies, but more than that, it was used by a competitive clothing company. Not that I have any problem with Helvetica bold other than it’s associated with too many things. It’s a generic font to be used internationally. It doesn’t have much character. Where are the gaps?
This may have been successful for the parent company. but t
At a time where the economy is down and people are turning to ets and small stores, and starbucks in trying to undo their corporate culture, there is no need to go this corporate. This doesn’t appeal to the target audience.
What it tells me is that it’s not confident. That there are insecurities. That it wants to play it safe.
Lack of Clear Vision
It doesn’t go forth confidently. The real problem when it comes down to the logo is the lack of clear vision. What on earth is this trying to accomplish? Is this a logo for the sake of a new logo? They threw themselves into a serious branding crisis by approving of a logo that said too many things. It looks like a desperate move. Brand panic.
Evolve vs. Reinvent
Gap took a risk with redesigning a new logo in this tough economy. What they didn’t realize was that they took a bigger risk by not going all the way. When it comes to logo redesigns, it’s an all-or-nothing move. Either it’s a design refresh (Coke) or a complete redesign (Pepsi). Either way, why would you take away something so iconic, and not put something else equally iconic in it’s place? Even if they decide to reinvent, they need to respect the heritage.
The parent company
This non-brand woudl have worked for the parent company. It looks like the issue is that Gap is the parent company AND a store. Look at Williams Sonoma and Urban Outfitters. They tried to do something new by combining both, but it just didn’t work. This could have been a successful logo for their parent company, but it felt short for their retail brand.
Who’s to Blame?
When the new logo went up on Monday, designers everywhere went up in a flaming logo rage. Fingers were pointed at the ad agency who designed it, and designers hated it so much that they’re throwing up their own 5- minute interpretations for free.
And while we can all point fingers at the designer/comapny/team who worked on it, the real problem is Gap. I truly don’t think that any respectable design firm would design this. This was clearly designed by Gap executives. “Creating good design is easy. Getting good design approved is hard.”
Where has Gap been in all of this? They sneakily launched the
logo on their new site, and that’s all we’ve seen. Maybe it works better other materials. We didnt’ see the rest of the branding effort. They did this without a press release, without any say? Unless this is a PR stunt, it leaves a lot of questions open. People were wondering if this was for real.
And because they have been getting so much response over their logo, the
announced on Facebook that they’re going to crowdsource their logo. Perhaps they’ll pull a Tropicana. But this is just unprofessional.
The fact that there are logos on top of the other logos feels cheapened. People don’t care about the parent company, they care about their stores. You’re dilutin gthe brand of the store that you’re in. And for god’s sake, if you’re going to introduce your new logo to the world, at least give it some breathing room.
James Elliott (@jhames)
10/5/10 3:52 PM
If you’ve ever wondered when Helvetica doesn’t work as a brand identity, then you, my friend, need look no further: http://gap.com/