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The New Gap Logo Is Fake

Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Author: | Tags: | 5 Comments »

Might I look stupid a month from now for posting this? Sure. But it’s not like my track record is so impeccable that being wrong about this will kill me… I’ll just change the title to “Why The New Gap Logo Should Be Fake”. (But I don’t think I’m wrong.)

Earlier this week, Gap quietly replaced their former logo (seen above on the left) with a new logo (seen above on the right) on their website. Reaction on design blogs and across the Internet was, well… less quiet. The new logo was lampooned almost everywhere it was mentioned, by artists who couldn’t understand the process behind its creation and consumers who missed the iconic logo they associated with the hip clothing brand (An article on The Huffington Post — which I don’t read but seems to represent a mainstream view of all this — starts like this: “Gap has debuted a new logo on its website, doing away with the blue square we’ve come to know and love.”) A poll on that same article shows an overwhelming distaste for the new logo… Votes for “Terrible.” were at 87% when I checked it a minute ago, with votes for “Awesome!” only holding the other 13%. (I know, I know… that’s not the most reliable polling method to use, but I’m not waiting for Gallup to present their findings…)

I don’t think this is a real rebranding from Gap. I think they’re craving attention and doing something like this is going to get it for them. Change such a well-renowned logo to something so horribly maligned? That’s good for a whole bunch of online coverage. Here’s why I don’t think it’s real:

  • It looks like that old PowerPoint theme from like 1995. See to the right? I made that in like ten minutes, and nine of those were spent trying to find the theme. The other minute was scrolling through fonts looking for Helvetica. Surely Gap has hired brilliant strategists and designers and has an entire firm of cutting edge leaders of the field analyzing every pixel of the logo, every serif mark and the exact gradient in the new logo. In fact, I know they did because it’s been announced that Laird and Partners designed it… I checked their website out, they’ve done some good stuff in the past! It’s hard to believe that they would stake their reputation on this being “real.”
  • A rollout would be a rollout. They’d integrate the new logo into their social media campaigns (in fact, that’s probably where they’d start it!) and they’d change everything over on the new website, completely replacing the old logo. You wouldn’t want a single sign of it left, because this is new and this is what you’ve moved on to. But they haven’t even changed the favicon (ya know, the little icon that shows up in your browser’s address bar). Why?
  • They asked for help too soon. Within a day or so of the backlash, they announced on Facebook that they are going to ask fans and designers and anybody who wants to design a new version of the logo for them. Look, a contest is coming up! Who saw that coming?!

    Here’s what I’m thinking: when you make a monumental decision like this, you don’t back off after two days. You stick to your guns and show people why you’ve made the best decision. You don’t just say, “well, ok, so maybe it’s not as awesome as we’d hoped. What does everybody else think?” Come on, BP had a well gushing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf and it took them longer to ask for the public’s input.
  • What’s there to lose? In this economy, companies are doing whatever they can to attract attention. So you put up a crappy logo for a little while, generate a groundswell of publicity (everyone’s talking about how the logo is bad, but not the company… in fact, we’re all surprised at how such a successful and savvy company could let this happen!) and then you change it back or announce that the whole thing was just an experiment. But we’re all talking about the Gap again, just in time for holiday shopping to begin.

Who knows, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they actually like the new logo!

I hope not.

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5 Comments on “The New Gap Logo Is Fake”

  1. 1 Nathan King said at 3:18 pm on October 8th, 2010:

    If Gap did lead everyone to believe their logo design was real, they did a good job. In any case, the fact that such a large company is looking for a lot of spec work now is causing another backlash. Great post!

  2. 2 Pete said at 3:29 pm on October 8th, 2010:

    Hey Nathan,

    Thanks.

    I’m not a designer, but yeah, I’ve seen the controversy that surrounds those “on spec” design sites — I watched the Chris Brogan episode as it unfolded. I’ve got mixed opinions on the whole concept… I get the argument against it, but I think it also helps people trying to get into the industry (whether it’s design or writing or making spec refrigerators) to make a name for themselves and get their work out there. So maybe they’re playing with fire here?

    Pete

  3. 3 Tweets that mention The New Gap Logo Is Fake « Post Script -- Topsy.com said at 3:30 pm on October 8th, 2010:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Austin and Williams and Nathan King, Pete Shelly. Pete Shelly said: The New Gap Logo Is Fake (At least, I think so…) http://bit.ly/dzMbGg [...]

  4. 4 Don said at 8:57 pm on October 8th, 2010:

    Right or wrong, your analysis is spot on. It could be right….and I would like to believe it is.

  5. 5 Ta da! « Post Script said at 6:26 pm on October 13th, 2010:

    [...] like I called it, and I’m gonna take a minute to pat myself on the [...]


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