Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A GAP Between Designer and Public

As some of us may be aware of, an interesting branding brouhaha broke out this past couple of weeks surrounded the rebranding of Gap. The company hired a NYC agency to lead the effort, and voila! The new Gap logo with little square was born, and Gap signed off on it. But, much the same way the new Seattle's Best logo has begun to slowly emerge rather than through a wholesale rebrand rollout, Gap's new logo had been leaked to an online public for early feedback and digestion ahead of a larger roll out. But, designer blogs were all abuzz about the effort. And, consumers expressed strong opinions closely matching the critical opinion of graphic designers. Nobody liked it. One blog made a game out of it and crowd-sourced the logo. Flop. That's another story: crowd-sourcing is amateur-sourcing. This was an encouraging side story to note—that our profession might be safer from the creeping crowd-sourcing phenomena than I previously thought. So, the president of Gap listened and announced today that we will not being seeing this. No change! A good move for Gap? I think probably so. But, they did generate a lot of buzz which can end in successful PR when the president announces that he listened and rescued his consumers from a bad move.

My opinion? They must have moved toward a rebrand as an effort to refresh the look. I don't think they have a positioning problem suspending Gap between the upper scale Banana Republic and the lower end Old Navy. I think they are firmly positioned nicely in between. Good. But, likely there is corporate buzz within the company desiring a refresh. Just a guess. But, I really do believe I have their refresh solution that will carry them the next 10-15 years before they need to revert back to the "classic" Gap logo: they need their logo to retain the same proportions, colors, and overall equity. But, simply go sans in a uniform weight. No thick and thin, no serif. These are the attributes of their current logo that have wrinkle lines. They just need a little facial. A rough draft of what I believe their solution should be is posted here although I would give them a pointy A instead of this round version. This would need a barely-discernable reduction in line weight, too. This might be ever so slightly too heavy. Just a thought for the day!


  1. Funny, I was just talking about this with some friends after church. Honestly the more I look at their planned new logo, the more I feel comfortable with it. I happen to think that their original one is better (and I really like that mockup you did), but after spending some time with the new one, the gut "oh that looks wrong" reaction subsides. It doesn't feel like the old company, but it's not a bad feel overall.

    The catch with that new logo is that it doesn't speak medium or high end to me, but rather value brand. It's well done, but it feels more like Walmart-brand products rather than something more upscale.

    I guess when you think about it a well executed design that gives the wrong message technically isn't a well executed design actually.

  2. I was so shocked when the new design for GAP first hit the web. I always thought GAP's logo was very classy and would never really go out of date. It was simple, clean, classy, and everyone knew that GAP's logo represented a respected and quality store.
    There "new" design was a bad choice. In general I dont think it was absolutely atrocious, but it did not express the nature and emotion of GAP. I agree with you on changing their typeface to a sanserif for a more up-to-date look. It still has a classy feel to it, but with a modern twist. However, I wouldn't suggest they change their logo at all. If they did though I think your idea is a good solution for it.

  3. I have to agree wholeheartedly, that the new GAP logo was to much a departure from the old. To me the new gap logo didn't feel like that of a clothing company. It felt more like the kinda logo that is appropriate for some sort of slick web service. You mock-up for a change in the font is in the right direction for a re brand, but then again the font is really what makes GAP gap.