Few logo redesigns have created such a furor as Gap’s, which was unveiled last week. To catch up, Gap rolled out a redesigned logo that looks like it took two minutes to create in a Graphic Design 101 course. Or, if you prefer your opinions more crass, there’s Your Logo Makes Me Barf’s take on it. A satirical Twitter account was even set up for the mournful logo.
Then Gap did a complete about-face, scrapped the new design and brought back the old one. But more on that in a moment.
It turns out this isn’t just a bad logo to laugh at and forget about quickly – last week Gap posted on its Facebook page that, following the high amount of response and emotion the redesign prompted, now the company would “like to see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.” Hmmm … crowdsourcing? As in, controversial practice that has the potential for contract- and wage-free work?
Needless to say, the graphic design community swarmed the Internet with its thoughts. AIGA tweeted that it sent a message about spec work to Gap management “on behalf of all designers.” Your Logo Makes Me Barf posted an easy, five-step process to tell Gap where to take its spec. And Brand New compiled the best memes and blogs, my favorite being an open letter from branding firm Siegel + Gale asking Gap, its “neighbors across the street,” to meet for coffee to discuss Siegel + Gale’s ideas about how to correct Gap’s “misstep.” Click on the link to see how Siegel + Gale ensured it would get Gap’s attention.
Personally, I think a lot of this fuss about the actual logo redesign is a bit much – it’s not the worst logo fail ever. The more I look at the old – now new again – logo, the more I think it’s quite old-fashioned, and the serif font gets a bit lost in the deep blue box. While it was a familiar logo, I wouldn’t call it iconic. I think if Gap had left well enough alone, the attention would have died down, and the public would have moved on to the latest subject of outcry. But with its teasing posts about crowdsourcing, Gap only succeeded in raising the ire even more of graphic designers, who now wonder why the company hadn’t sought out their opinions to begin with.
When Tropicana rebranded last year, sales plunged 20 percent, and the company scrapped the new packaging after it’d been on shelves for less than two months. Perhaps Gap’s crowdsourcing campaign would have been an effort to engage customers rather than watch sales slide.
What do you think – could you come up with a worse redesign than Gap’s? Was the redesign and return to the old design a publicity stunt?