Fall into the Gap Logo Debate

October 11, 2010

Gap logo comparison via Brand New.

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?

Jennifer's picture

About Jennifer Moline

Jennifer Moline writes for the PsPrint Blog as well as maintains its Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest presences. She also guest-blogs for such notable graphic design blogs as Fuel Your Creativity and Inspiredology. She’s previously written about technology and small business for news websites, magazines and newspapers. In her off-hours, Jennifer can be found roughing it in the mountains or tucked away in a movie theater.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

I know I could come up with a worse redesign of the gap logo. I think a lot of the hostility towards it was just that it changed and consumers don't like that change. It was too much and without warning.

Logo/Design changes like that are usually internal wishful thinking. They've seen it everyday and at some point have started to hate it. From there, they assume their customers and the people who are no longer customers hate it too and that's why no one is buying their product.

Maybe if they make it easier to walk in, find the jeans you want, not force you to pay Nordstrom prices for them, they'd get their profits back up.

Jennifer's picture
Jennifer January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

Too true -- as @40goingon28 tweeted: "Why is everyone bitching about the Gap logo when it's the clothes inside the damn store that suck?"

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

As a collecter of vintage garments, I own GAP clothing that predates the blue-box logo, as well as the pre-blue-box logo. In fact, I have never liked the blue box logo! My suggestion would be to bring back the logo of the 70's. It has a "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" kind of cool, but honestly is not cheezy enough to be a miss, and also, the teens and early 20's generation will have never seen it before: http://www.gapinc.com/public/images/1_About_Gap_Inc./1_firststore.jpg

The new "logo" that they scrapped really does suck and should be forgotten immediately. It screams "This company has no personality, and if you shop here, neither do you. We are too wuss-bag and conformist to make a statement."

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

...Probably a newbie designer who bullcrapped their way into the position. The graphic design industry has been overrun by young, stupid six-month-course-taking Gibbs school graduates who can't even draw stick figures. They decide to suddenly embark on a career as a "graphic artist" after making a myspace/facebook flyer that gets "aweseome!" comments from moronic cretins.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

I think this is Gap's way of trying to "Think outside the Blue Box" Think harder GAP.

Valerie's picture
Valerie January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

Maybe it's an awful logo, BUT... it does have everyone talking about it. Makes me wonder if this is simply a publicity stunt with a redesign to follow.

Or perhaps they figured it would be so awful that it might be cool (2012 London Olympics anyone)? In my opinion, something as integral as a logo deserves better thought. Brand identity is not a playground.

BrianB's picture
BrianB January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

I'm happy they switched to the old logo, but I do think they are in need of a rebrand. Maybe they are planning something? GAP puts a weak logo out there. People talk about it. Designers hate it. Gap responsds and they crowdsource it through feedback on FB. Maybe they are looking for a free logo design that will be rebuilt from designers who comment on how to make it better? Free logo made? Maybe? Cheap? Definitely...

Britt's picture
Britt January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

A friend of mine brought this up, and now I can't get it out of my mind. The new Gap Logo is the same font as the American Apparel Logo. I think it's Helvetica? At the moment, American Apparel is having financial troubles, and lots of people think the company might go out of business completely. Perhaps Gap is trying to steal some of the A.A. brand's marketshare before the company goes down in flames for good?

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

[...] all seen what can happen with brands such as The Gap and Tropicana, when they change a well-know logo unexpectedly. New York Life Insurance has a [...]

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

[...] tried to change its old logo and ended up with Helvetica Bold and an incongruous blue square. The backlash was so harsh and instantaneous that the company announced that it was going to solicit an alternate logo through [...]

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