Bridging The Gap

October 6th, 2010 by Mat Dolphin

‘Google the new Gap logo’. As I walked into the studio this morning I’d barely taken my coat off before I was told about the latest wave of controversy to hit the online design world. As instructed, I searched for the new logo and… oh.

There it was.

Perhaps a little underwhelming, and I’m not 100% sure what the reasoning is behind the little blue gradient box but, fair enough. Maybe the thinking behind the re-brand will become more apparent when seeing the logo in context. However, searching for examples of the branding is made slightly more difficult by the fact that the internet has been flooded by designers venting their general hatred towards the logo. The witch hunt has officially begun.

It seems to me that the creative community are, by their nature, interested, thoughtful and opinionated – any designer who doesn’t fit this criteria should maybe consider a career change. That said, it still surprises me to see the reactionary ‘go for the jugular’ nature on the comment sections of design blogs and Twitter when certain logos are wheeled out for judgement.

Reputable design agency (who asked us to remove their name) – ‘Note to Gap – you have made a mistake beyond the realms of what was thought humanly possible if ‘that’ remains’

ICanHasQBN – is anybody else literally angry at this? I feel like logo design just keep deteriorating day after day. how can one justify this new logo?

SupaRabbit – The new GAP logo makes me want to cry. OMG. WTF. I’m puking blood.

Clearly they’re not happy.

To make it clear, I’m not a huge fan of the new Gap logo, part of the reason for this is because I haven’t really seen it yet. I’ve seen the image at the top of this post on other design and fashion blogs, I’ve seen it on the Gap website (where, to be fair, it does sit a little awkwardly), I’ve even seen a few ‘hilarious’ photoshop parodies poking fun at the design. But surely a logo is a part of a bigger picture? A re-brand must involve more than re-designing the logo? Without wanting to be thrown to the lions along with the logo formerly known as Gap, is it wrong to suggest that maybe we should all just live with it for a while and give it a chance before judging the entire branding process based on a 250 x 250 pixel JPG?

For any designers reading this, there must be moments (possibly more than one) when, on seeing your initial design, the client has perhaps been a touch reactionary? An instant ‘I don’t like that colour’ or ‘Can we change the font’ before hearing the reason why that particular design choice was made? Are the online masses not guilty of the same knee-jerk response on seeing the logo for a few seconds?

Gap are a huge company. I’m sure Laird & Partners – the designers behind the re-brand –  will have had a huge, complex brief and an extensive rationale behind why they went the route they did. I don’t know what the brief asked for and I don’t know their reasons for the final design. But I’m sure they’ve put in a great deal of research and thinking as to how this brand will develop long-term. They may have got it completely wrong and the whole thing might be a failure, but surely it’s too early to say?

It would be interesting to know the number of people who eventually ‘came round’ to accepting, and maybe even liking the Wolf Olins 2012 Olympics logo. After seeing that design, which was originally vilified in the press, rolled out as a full campaign I still don’t love it, but I can’t deny it does what it was intended to do; Inject a dose of inclusiveness, youth and modernity into what could have easily been a re-hashed version of what had come before.

In summary, I’m not sure Gap have got it right. But at this early stage I can’t be completely sure they’ve got it wrong.

If you’re still not convinced, feel free to leave a comment letting me know how clueless I am, or alternatively get involved with the excellent iso50 blog and design your own.

Until next time Mat Fans…

*UPDATE*

Today Gap have announced on their Facebook Page that they’re considering the idea of ‘crowd sourcing’ logo ideas as a result of the backlash their new logo design has received this week.

In a response to their move which could be pure genius or naive, we decided to write an open letter to Gap which we posted on the page as a response. Feel free to read it here.

_


67 Responses to “Bridging The Gap”

  1. I, too, would be interested in hearing the justification behind the new design and seeing how the new logo will be applied in a complete branding system. But, judging just on the logo itself with first impressions, I’m a little underwhelmed.

    Comment by Ian Cylkowski — October 6th, 2010 @ 10:51 am |
  2. Thanks for your comment Ian – we’ll keep an eye out to see if Laird & Partner announce their thinking.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 10:52 am |
  3. Whhhyyyyyyyyyy! Wouldn’t have been an issue if upgrade was an… upgrade. Talking about backwards movement. Will wait to see logo in contect but, I have very little hope for it. What a waste! Ouch!

    Comment by ImortalDavid — October 6th, 2010 @ 10:59 am |
  4. Cheers David. There must be more consideration to the logo that we’ve yet to see – perhaps there’s a new site coming from gap too which encompasses the new execution.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 11:00 am |
  5. Found this after a CR tweet. This is my first exposure to the new logo, as such I’m yet to read any of the flaming or hate for it… But as a designer myself I dont see whats so bad. The rationale behind the blue square is quite obvious though – evolving from “GAP” being within their blue box to now emerging out from it and standing free of that constraint? Gap is stepping out of the box? A subtle ode to the old logo that they carried for 20[sic?] years?
    And let’s be honest – most graphic designer’s hate is spawned from either “I wish I had that client” or “I wish I thought of that!”…

    Comment by macwestuk — October 6th, 2010 @ 11:12 am |
  6. Thanks for the comment Mac West. You could be right about the execution, but without having seen what Laird & Partner were tasked with we’re all guessing.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 11:13 am |
  7. A brand is, indeed, much more than a logo, but the logo is the cornerstone, the foundation upon which the brand is built. The personality of the logo colours everything that follows.

    As for the new Gap brand, it has a somewhat confused personality. The logotype is bold and strong (I’m a big fan of Helvetica) but it’s diluted with the weak and seemingly pointless blue box which sits uncomfortably, an unsuccessful nod to the previous identity, desperately trying to keep some continuity in a rebrand that is revolutionary far more than evolutionary. It needs to make its mind up what it wants to be.

    Will time make a difference? For me, I doubt it. I don’t hate the 2012 logo quite as much as I did but I do still hate it, especially the after-thought that is the type and Olympic rings.

    Comment by Andi Rusyn — October 6th, 2010 @ 11:14 am |
  8. Thanks Ryan, some fair points and observations. Initial reactions can always be a little harsh, but time will tell whether the agency made the right decisions for the brand.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 12:57 pm |
  9. While I agree that there was probably thought behind this, why would you launch a logo before the entire identity is ready? It looks like crap on it’s own. While you can justify the blue square, I find it awkward and ugly. Putting this on the current website really doesn’t work. If this is the extent of their rebrand it’s an obvious fail.

    With it would have been nice to see it integrated into a new website, which may be on it’s way… or may not be. As you said, until we can see it in context (advertisements) we shouldn’t rush to judgement… but I’m not sure this can be salvaged.

    As far as Laird & Partner having a good and thorough design brief, I’m sure they do. But a well thought out design brief doesn’t mean much if the final product isn’t well received, and if people can’t grasp their intentions without being told what the intentions are.

    Comment by Kevin — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:05 pm |
  10. Thanks Kevin. To be honest I’m sure there’s more to come, and if there is, great. But in my view they should have launched everything at once if there is, otherwise people, customers and the world alike get confused as to why the change, and awkward implementation.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:09 pm |
  11. I had a look at the Laird and Partners portfolio, it seems to me they have used Helvetica Bold extensively in their ad campaigns, in the context of those materials the old iconic dark blue logo (with the condensed font) does sit a little uneasy in the direction they’re heading to. Based on the simplicity and almost ‘naiveness’ of the new logo I can only assume it was thrown together to play catch up with the brand!

    Like everyone else, I’m still confused about the blue gradient square, I suppose someone wanted to retain the old look in some way?

    I’m staggered because it’s an unrecognisable leap from old to something completely different!

    Comment by Sam Luk — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:21 pm |
  12. Thanks for your comment Sam. Laird and Partners have also used the new Helvetica Bold style branding in their current ad campaign for Gap, yet still with the old logo?! A strange way to roll out a new identity maybe..?

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:22 pm |
  13. Heh. The 2012 Olympics logo says “shit.”

    To clarify, is this new GAP identity for GAP the brand, or GAP, Inc? One could argue that it works for the latter instance as it pertains to the thinking-outside-the-box idea that implies. If the former, then in the words of Project Runway’s Nina Garcia, this new identity just doesn’t scream “fashion” to me.

    But then again, GAP’s design hasn’t moved me since high school. So there’s that.

    Comment by mags25 — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:28 pm |
  14. Creatives are a passionate bunch and, as you rightly say, should be. Most of us genuinely love what we do and so we will react against anything we deem an injustice, but, as always, there will be those who go too far and cry over the blood they’re puking!

    Comment by Andi Rusyn — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:44 pm |
  15. Hi Andi – You’re right. This post was written more about the reactionary nature of designers than trying to further fuel ‘is the logo good or bad’ argument.

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 1:55 pm |
  16. This has nothing to do with what you or other designers “think”. This is a business and thus everything has meaning and objectives. So, i’d like to start by giving a picture of GAP Inc. at the end of 2009. 2.3 billion in cash and zero debt. (cit: pag:16, ph.1 – Gap Inc. 2009 Annual Report) Keep firmly in mind that this change is not out of desperation.

    Gap Inc. has five major brands that it operates. Old Navy – a heavy hitter for the 10 to 24 age bracket, affordable and seen as trendy. Banana Republic – their still strong accessible luxury brand. Piper Line – Shoes and handbags portal and Athleta, a sports line aimed exclusivity for women.

    Banana Republic and Old Navy are two excellent clothing brands that do hold their market value. They keep each brand current and competitive, It would seem GAP is the weaker of the 3 and would require tweaking.

    a couple weeks ago Gap issued out a groupon that literally shut down the groupon site. the deal was $25 off of a purchase of $50 or more. A few weeks later they released this logo which was a big deal on its own. since GAP Inc. hasn’t changed its logo in something like 30 years.

    The generic look could attribute to a brand repositioning to a more price conscious consumer. Competitors include; J. Crew Group, American Eagle Outfitters, The TJX Companies. All of which are advertising their brand label and in recent years moving in the direction of affordability.

    In this budget crunch economy Gap Inc. may have to move to a wider demographic to stay competitive with the Targets, Walmarts and H&Ms. Out of the three clothing brands, GAP is the cheaper and has the most to lose. so it may be wise to start with an appearance change and see the new logo as the start of a market move.

    just a thought…

    Comment by Andres — October 6th, 2010 @ 2:18 pm |
  17. I’m really glad you posted this. It’s always annoying how designers can jump so quickly to hate something new, I thought we were supposed to be intelligent, forward-thinking people, people who are able to spend time thinking, consider every aspect of a piece of design, not just run around waving our hands in the air like Macaulay Culkin.

    Any big company/event can so easily get knocked for having new branding, however it looks. Maybe 99% of designers do hate the logo, but 99% of designers might not shop at Gap, in which case, you’re not the target. Maybe to your average human on the high street the logo says ‘solid, classic, simple clothing’ and you know what? That’s what Gap produce. Maybe they’ve got a new line of hoodies, that use the small blue square in a really neat way that their customers are going to love, maybe not, but we’ll find out in time. Or are you just annoyed that a high-street brand used Helvetica without your permission?

    Nice post Mat Dolphin, great discussion.

    Comment by Ben O'Brien — October 6th, 2010 @ 2:26 pm |
  18. The Gap logo is rubbish. The 2012 logo failed dismally and add to that recent things like itunes and we are rolling back into the 90s. A quick reaction to a logo and a brand is the only important thing. If the first time you see something you like it then you will want to look again. If you don’t like it you wont bother. The people these brands/logos are aimed at are the very people online talking about their disgust at terrible rebrands.

    Comment by Nick — October 6th, 2010 @ 2:39 pm |
  19. sorry dude, but there is really is no excuse for this logo. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the designer is ever 100% responsible for the work they produce. They probably just wanted the huge pay check and let themselves get led down the path that the client led them down. They can take their money but that doesn’t mean we can’t rip their work to shreds. The upside of selling out is that you get rich doing it. The downside is that you’ll get riped by people who have higher standards than you.

    Comment by Ian — October 6th, 2010 @ 2:40 pm |
  20. Surely just a rip off of American Apparel’s identity?

    http://www.premisemarketing.com/images/uploads/SponsorAmericanApparelLogo.jpg

    Shocking that they’ve done this in all honesty.

    Comment by Matt Berridge — October 6th, 2010 @ 2:58 pm |
  21. Most of you so called Graphic Designers are hacks, never learning the terminology or technicals of the craft. you use works like “feel” and “should” as verbs and reasoning. next time you look in the mirror remind yourself that you contribute to the mediocre puss that we see in advertising. this gap logo isnt bad, it is what results when graphic designers follow their hipster attitude. enjoy your unemployment.. the ride is over..now get a job that requires a name tag.

    Comment by Eddie — October 6th, 2010 @ 3:05 pm |
  22. The retail market is over-saturated with Helvetica, from clothes to phone network to restaurants. It’s almost… ‘boring’ dare I say. The logo is just a part of their huge global brand, still, I feel it’s very sad to lose a logo that has been in use for 30 years. They could have done this in many other ways which would have resulted in the same fresh regeneration (for example look at the UPS delivery logo), I still feel they’ve rushed it out to slot in with their website and ads.

    Perhaps it should be less about knocking the new logo, but more about the loss of brand value for GAP, I feel this new look is a demotion of what they had.

    Comment by Sam Luk — October 6th, 2010 @ 3:47 pm |
  23. There has been an intense outcry over this. Part of me gets it. My creative side can’t stand to look at this and believe it’s the final product. I always enjoyed their old logo, though a tad outdated, it was classic and comfortable. I don’t think people would be so upset if they upgraded to a modern version of that, which they might have been trying to do here, but didn’t seem to accomplish. I’m curious to see how it all plays out. Who knows, a few months from now, we may all love it!

    Comment by Crystal Malek — October 6th, 2010 @ 4:20 pm |
  24. Ha ha, Eddie is a tool!

    N.B. This is not a constructive comment, just an offensive one :0)

    Comment by Andy — October 6th, 2010 @ 4:27 pm |
  25. Whut?! Have we gone back to 1990′s?! I just done my parody logo in no more than 5 minutes!! :O

    Was this done on MS Word on Windows 95 system??

    Shocking, stupidity and totally absurd re-branding I EVER SEEN!!

    Comment by Ali Designs — October 6th, 2010 @ 4:30 pm |
  26. The 2012 Olympic logo still is TERRIBLE! The Gap logo is also terrible, and will continue to be. Rebrands I haven’t minded are Pepsi, and Tropicana. So those would of been better examples to point to.

    Comment by Shane — October 6th, 2010 @ 4:44 pm |
  27. http://www.flickr.com/photos/girlwhodraws/5057664504

    At least it’s not Sans right?!

    Comment by gemma — October 6th, 2010 @ 4:47 pm |
  28. I hope if this rebrand was in my portfolio – all of you who are saying there’s nothing wrong with it would be giving it the same praise! lol.

    Why should a designer not have a knee-jerk reaction, when clients do, and average people do? How long should a designer look at something, or wait before making criticisms of it, compared to the average non-designer? Should we wait a couple weeks and not tweet or blog anything? Should we stay silent and let all the ‘regular people’ do all the deciding as to what falls under the categories of good/bad design?

    The word knee-jerk has no business in this conversation IMHO. Designers are supposed to be visual communicators with trained eyes. Besides, imagine if every airline, financial institution, clothing company, and other prominent global corporation decided to do the exact same thing — take their classic and iconic logos and switch them to a black heavy weight of Helvetica with a gradient square fading towards the last character in the brand mark… wouldn’t that be considered a bad thing? If anyone can be objective in criticizing a rebrand, shouldn’t graphic designers be on that list?

    It’s not like we all woke up this morning and went to buy some orange juice and suddenly the box was different. Our criticisms are wholesome and not misguided, because they are based on the things we learned in our design training. It’s not a case of “oh, I don’t like that shade of blue” or something trivial – in defense of graphic designers everywhere, at least most of us know what we’re talking about (sort of?) lol.

    Comment by Colin Stephen — October 6th, 2010 @ 5:01 pm |
  29. Hi Colin

    We’re certainly not saying that designers are less entitled to their swiftly formed opinions than anyone else and we completely understand the importance of the initial reaction to seeing a new logo for the first time. The fact that the logo is generating discussions such as this one is a good thing and we weren’t suggesting that people keep their opinions to themselves. If you hate the logo, you hate the logo. The point we were trying to make was that maybe the re-brand involved more the logo and the bigger picture may tell a different story?

    Regarding who should decide what’s good and bad design, does there really need to be a distinction drawn between ‘regular people’ and designers? I imagine the logo wasn’t created with designers in mind and the ‘regular people’ who shop at Gap are surely the target audience this logo is aimed at? As the post says, there’s a good chance it won’t work and the departure from the familiar old brand may alienate the existing customer base. Time will tell I suppose.

    All criticisms – from a designer or otherwise – are valid and worth hearing (for the record, I not a huge fan of the logo), but it seems to me that judging a project of this size on the first viewing of a single logo can be a dangerous thing. I’m sure if their previous logo had been unveiled for the first time today people would have a few things to say about it?

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 6th, 2010 @ 5:02 pm |
  30. I agree, they’ve got it wrong. I just can’t see the intention in this logo.

    Comment by Paola Lozano — October 6th, 2010 @ 5:04 pm |
  31. Hey Mat!

    I don’t disagree with you one bit, but your blog post does refer to designer reaction to the rebrand as ‘knee-jerk’. That puts designer criticism (or first impression, rather) of the logo in the same category as celebrity blogger reactions to what Rihanna or Katy Perry wore to the Grammys, in my opinion. The term ‘knee-jerk’ (or as you also put it ‘extreme reactionary’) are inaccurate, as a lot of designer reaction I have seen has at least specified what doesn’t work about the new Gap mark, in their eyes. Perhaps my post above is a knee-jerk reaction to the use of the term ‘knee-jerk’ to describe criticism that could only be based upon well-formed knowledge and opinions, rather than any sort of speculation.

    To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t see how this logo could seem any more clever as part of a branding system, but of course that is speculative of premature. And you’re right, there doesn’t need to be a distinction between regular folks and designers – except that you’ve specifically made a post on designer reaction, as if it were so much worse than if the critiques came from said ‘regular’ people. Bigger story or not, designers know instinctively what they like and don’t like about designs. It’s part of who we are, we like to critique stuff, for better or worse.

    Last quick point I want to make is that GAP could have avoided this by not sneakily immersing the new logo into their existing website. They could have sent out a press release, held a conference, shown some samples of the design process and where they were going with all this, they could even have launched a video explaining the rationale, either themselves or via the firm they hired to do the branding. Wouldn’t any or all of these things have solved the ‘knee-jerk’ reaction you’re speaking of? Just sayin’. Thanks for your reply though, I really appreciate it. Hope you understand my view better now.

    Comment by Colin Stephen — October 6th, 2010 @ 5:52 pm |
  32. I’ll spare your readers with additional commentary on my own behalf, but this blog post is a pretty good example of why a designer’s reaction isn’t as knee-jerky as it might seem at first.

    http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/dont_mind_the_gap_or_the_square.php

    Comment by Colin Stephen — October 6th, 2010 @ 6:05 pm |
  33. I can kind of see why Laird+Partners designed the new logo the way they did. That doesn’t mean I like it or that I think they came up with the right solution. I’ve just looked at Laird+Partners’ portfolio on their website and I checked out the work they did for Gap. It seems that Gap are rebranding themselves to reflect modern times. So that’s been reflected in the new logo (typographically speaking!). But I do think that the blue square is unnecessary. I personally feel that they would have been better off going with a modified version of Helvetica, and just leaving it at that, perhaps adding a dash of blue in there somewhere. But the square is too much and does nothing for the logo as a whole. Interestingly, Laird+Partners haven’t included the new logo in their portfolio so far. Perhaps they will soon but that speaks volumes to me right now.

    Comment by Gemma — October 6th, 2010 @ 7:49 pm |
  34. I totally get your point Mat. But I think at some point someone had to say in a meeting “Wait a minute, I don’t think this works”

    Comment by Mr Longsworth — October 6th, 2010 @ 8:10 pm |
  35. I think seeing a logo as a cornerstone to a brand shows a lack of understanding of what makes a brand.

    Comment by Seasideandy — October 6th, 2010 @ 9:06 pm |
  36. Think about it this way….not only did someone present this as a solution, but somebody else approved it!

    Fail – for all involved.

    Comment by Jack — October 6th, 2010 @ 11:24 pm |
  37. I can forgive the Helvetica (what the heck, I love helvetica). I can’t forgive or even bear to look at the blue gradient square. It screams desktop publishing. I do think yesterday’s GAP logo was getting a little tired. I would have preferred a graceful evolution or a bold departure. I call this a fumble. Usage on signage, labels, etc. may reveal the potential of this change.

    Comment by Al — October 7th, 2010 @ 12:42 am |
  38. I find it quite odd that everyone thinks this is so new. Gap has been using the Helvetica style over the GAP inside a blue box for quite some time. I don’t think the small blue box behind the logo is a great choice, but in general, I don’t care because I’ve been seeing this typefont in their branding for a long time now – and not only with the 1969 line, but with any of their print advertisements. When I see the new logo I think “Oh, they finally got rid of that logo that didn’t match anything else in the store – makes sense.” From a design perspective, get as mad as you like. From a branding perspective, don’t be shocked. This has been approaching for awhile.

    Comment by Trendy — October 7th, 2010 @ 1:44 am |
  39. @seasideandy. A brand without a logo is just marketing.

    Comment by Alex — October 7th, 2010 @ 2:12 am |
  40. There is nothing easier than to destroy other designers work. Will a bad logo be capable of destroying a solid brand? I think we will find out soon.

    Comment by Marrha — October 7th, 2010 @ 4:21 am |
  41. Bad logo. Great Marketing.
    The buzz around it is phenomenal, and weirdly, in the long term I think it will not damage the brand at all. Perhaps because most of the people talking don’t currently shop there (guessing they shop at AApparel or Uniqlo).
    I think you are right the logo will grow on people and take it’s place. Or change due to peer pressure. But hey what an impactful launch and debate about a brand that half these people hadn’t mentioned in ages let alone visited their site. Would love to know if sales spike.
    The convergence between branding and advertising gets a little closer. The marque is bigger than just a logo.

    Comment by Sandoz — October 7th, 2010 @ 8:49 am |
  42. Once you spot the hidden Pacman in the logo, you can never look at it the same way again.

    (This is a phenomenon known as “Lisa Simpson Syndrome”).

    Comment by Daniel — October 7th, 2010 @ 12:35 pm |
  43. Hi Mat,

    excellent post. thank you!
    half way through reading i was secretly hoping you were going to mention the olympics logo: which, having spoken to one of the designers that worked on it i have absolutely come to love: it is a fantastic case of designers want more: seeing something that is arresting, to me, demands i find out the “why” behind it – the aesthetic is important, and shouldn’t be forgotten, but it is by no means reason enough to damn something!
    having said that, drop shadows and gradients have a habit of making me irrationally enraged…

    thanks again, and now to read more of your blog!

    luke

    Comment by luke — October 7th, 2010 @ 12:43 pm |
  44. A logo doesn’t make a brand, in fact its a very, very small part of the brand; but what a logo does do is start to help us understand the values and positioning of the brand. Although the old logo may look a little dated, it has a style that positioned GAP in the market quite clearly. Now over time GAP are evolving and feel the logo needs updating. I totally get that, but unfortunately I feel this logo leaves me with the impression they are trying to blend into the bland “middle of the road” market space. Now maybe they feel in terms of sales, 20% of this market is more profitable than 80% of a more niche market. I love Helvetica for all its weights and works in advertising but I feel it adds nothing when used as a logo. This logo leaves me feeling uncomfortable and seems a poor fit, with the square looking awkwardly positioned. As the logo represents the brand does this mean the clothes are a poor fit and uncomfortable? I feel any clothing company should have a certain “style” that echos its products, sadly I feel this is new logo lacks that.

    If the logo was done purely to generate comments and we now hear of the crowd sourcing then a poor logo will generate more interest and possible ideas than a well designed and thought out one, and since no big launch, maybe this was the case all along.

    Comment by BrandDirector — October 7th, 2010 @ 1:08 pm |
  45. The one thing I love about the whole new launch of the Gap logo, is their inability to cover all bases in one fell swoop.

    As you pointed out in your open letter Mat, there was no tie-in, no PR, no – well – anything.

    And top top it off, they have launched it on their website but not replaced all instances of the logo. I give you their Favicon: http://www.gap.com/favicon.ico

    Poor execution of a brand redesign or a genius attention grabbing “balls on the chopping block” brand awareness campaign? I’m gonna side with “poor execution” for the time being.

    Comment by Kev Strong — October 7th, 2010 @ 6:04 pm |
  46. its all a PR/Marketing scheme to generate buzz about the company.

    either that, or the marketing/branding directors at gap said, “do this, do that, do this again, we like that, can you try this, yes!” and the design firm just did what the client asked.

    Comment by sean — October 7th, 2010 @ 7:23 pm |
  47. oh, and it reminds me of a design made in PowerPoint.

    Comment by sean — October 7th, 2010 @ 7:25 pm |
  48. I agree with sean above; I think they are trying to generate buzz/followers/media attention to their brand, which, at least in my opinion, has been forgotten. They are conveniently “crowdsourcing” new design ideas, all the while directing people to their Facebook fan page. They will end up circling around to their old logo, and spin it as a nod to their loyal fans.

    Comment by MikeH — October 7th, 2010 @ 8:40 pm |
  49. The problem with this mark is its lack of emotion, or perhaps, in inability to evoke any positive emotion. I agree that we need to see it used properly and in the right context, but Gap’s inability to premiere their new mark with any sort of plan makes me wonder if the used the same slapdash approach when designing it. What I’m saying is, why not design a new site that showcases the mark. And why not rollout some supporting collateral that plays ups the mark. This logo is simply bland and more fitting for a soulless euro trash wannabe brand. They should have sold the concept to H&M.

    Comment by Nathan Shinkle — October 8th, 2010 @ 1:28 am |
  50. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to comment on this post. There’s been some great discussion and debate.

    Have you seen our open letter to Gap, following their Facebook page update about ‘crowd sourcing’ next steps?

    Have a read and feel free to leave comments:

    http://www.matdolphin.com/blog/2010/10/07/an-open-letter-to-gap/

    Comment by Mat Dolphin — October 8th, 2010 @ 8:59 am |
  51. This morning I was confronted with the new GAP logo and all the chatter for the first time and I must admit that I don’t like it for various reasons.
    First and foremost, looking at GAP’s website, the new logo seems lost and I almost missed it upon opening the page.
    Furthermore, I don’t think it was designed with much consideration for the brand GAP, which is recognized globally. It doesn’t feel hip, modern, young or dynamic nor does it look classy. Classy should not be confused with classic.
    The blue gradient box doesn’t help … it looks simplistic and out of place. The type font is nice but already greatly over-used – everyone seems to like it and uses it for their logos.
    So where is the uniqueness and branding to stand out from the crowd?
    However, now that everybody seems to hate the new re-branded GAP logo, how can GAP admit to having made a mistake and go back to the old logo the world knows and respects?
    I think GAP greatly missed the mark on it’s logo re-design, but the strategy in marketing is commendably, since it put the GAP on the online chatter map – again.

    My thought on the Olympic logo – the pink blobs spell “shit” – and this evokes bad vibes. Does London think of the Olympic Games as being shit?

    Comment by Brigitte — October 8th, 2010 @ 12:39 pm |
  52. Who cares, like anyone would be seen dead wearing their trash anyway

    Comment by gdgdfgfd — October 8th, 2010 @ 12:47 pm |
  53. Gap knew exactly what they wanted but forgot some essential truths about marketing;

    Gap forgot to ask the customer what she wanted.
    Gap forgot that selling involves a transfer of emotion not just a material exchange.
    Gap forgot the importance the brand living an authentic story.
    Gap forgot to make promises and keep them.
    Gap forgot to fire the committee.
    Gap forgot that senses often override logic.
    Gap forgot to be human.
    Gap forgot that they had a past that mattered to their best customers.
    Gap forgot to remember their story.
    Gap forgot to show they cared.
    Gap forgot that the customers had their own stories to tell about Gap.

    http://www.etchd.com/what-gap-forgot/

    Comment by Bernadette Jiwa — October 8th, 2010 @ 1:49 pm |
  54. I like how on gap.com there favicon is still the old logo.

    Comment by Jason — October 8th, 2010 @ 3:29 pm |
  55. The new logo is WEAK at best.

    It is sad that “creative work” gets diluted into a senseless generic feel of safe that fails even to say “logo”.

    If they are after the “basic” essence, it would be stronger by simply removing the silly square.

    FAIL: weak weak weak.

    Comment by Maria — October 8th, 2010 @ 9:12 pm |
  56. gap simply got you all by the balls…. this is a marketing tactic to get “CONVERSATIONS” for the brand. this is pure genius, think about it… by the time this conversation is over the gap brand would have multiplied its branding and buzz a thousand fold and save millions on advertising fees in the process. they can easily put the old logo back.

    Comment by jm — October 9th, 2010 @ 3:43 am |
  57. But are you naive ?

    This is one of the best buzz i have ever seen.
    Everyone talk about Gap, everyone want to help them having a new logo. What did they do ? They just replace a web logo by a temporary one (ugly one) to focus and catch peoples attention. And it works perfectly.

    They will get a better image because they “listen and understand customer wish”.

    Very good marketing.

    Comment by Oliver — October 9th, 2010 @ 2:57 pm |
  58. Hey Dolphin,
    ust had a look at our portfolio. your logo looks even worse the the new gap logo. how can you write this things about the gap logo when clearly you don’t have any clue about design…

    Comment by moni — October 12th, 2010 @ 4:59 am |
  59. Having played on both sides of the field (both as a client managing multi-billion dollar brands) and as a “brand strategist” for a couple of major marketing/pr/branding firms (names you’d know, but which I will not mention here), I can see what played out here, from a typical business perspective.

    1. The creative brief was awful; the client company (Gap) had an idea of where they wanted to go, but no clear vision.
    2. Gap thought, “let’s let the logo lead” – not follow. Re-branding doesn’t work this way, as others have pointed out.
    3. But GAP wanted something NOW and did not want to pay the real money it would cost to do all of the strategic work, therefore created an impossible task for Laird: based on a weak brief, no real strategic input, do a logo and do the logo today.
    4. Laird used the brief to create some “quick and dirty” concepts.
    5. Some high-muckety muck at GAP just LOVED the concepts, especially this particular concept (the new logo.)
    6. Laird and Gap’s lower-down the hierarchy panicked. Laird spent way too much of it’s own money coming up with more, and better ideas. Gap personnel had several meetings with High Muckety-muck, showing these new ideas, and reinforcing the whole concept of “strategic” branding…which would cost more money.
    7. High-muckety muck wouldn’t be swayed. The first concept was best, in his/her mind. (Something probably in the Muckety-muck’s own performance record or legacy was driving this quick turn-around – perhaps a retirement in the works? A bad financial decision recently? Whatever…)
    8. This is the result. And it got rolled out, by rolling over those who knew better.

    At least, in the best of all possible worlds, this is what happened. At least it gives Laird an excuse. And the poor brand management team takes the hit, but Mr/Ms Muckety-muck will go on to make the big bucks in bonuses.

    Comment by ElmOH — October 12th, 2010 @ 1:08 pm |
  60. Well, we can’t really comment on what went on behind the scenes here. What we *can* comment on is the execution of the logo and frankly it was done by a hobbyist “designer”; either that or it was, like commented, one of a series of concepts that the client fell in love with without knowing why or being able to articulate it.

    The logo seems to feel that way as well. It’s not saying anything (to be fair, it hasn’t had a chance to); or trying to communicate something that doesn’t quite feel tangible or coherent.

    The very random gradated blue box. How the “P” completely doesn’t sit well on the box; it feels and is visually so random.

    The Generic wordmark. Not even an attempt to make any kind of noticably unique marker/identifier?

    My problem with it is the execution of the logo; which is really the only thing that can be commented on at this point. I cannot believe that the work that went into it informed that the logo should end up being so shoddy. There must be (and are) a better, more effective way(s) to execute to convey.

    Comment by wansai — October 18th, 2010 @ 8:16 am |
  61. My version of the GAP logo:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7YIKkdeL4s

    Comment by Daniel Evans — February 9th, 2011 @ 2:07 am |