A lot has been said over the last few weeks about the “new” Gap logo. So I thought I’d add my two pence worth.
There’s was a lot of furor against the “new” Gap logo (above left) from people online but I would hazard a guess most of these were from “designers” saying what they thought about it. But I think this isn’t just a case of whether this was a poor logo. I think there is a lot more to look at, including marketing and PR, you see, one size doesn’t fit all, any promotion in truth involves many parts.
Firstly, let’s look at the actual design of the logo. I have to say, Helvetica is a great typeface to use in advertising, because of its many weights and interestingly the agency responsible have also been delivering the advertising. The typeface has strength in advertising because it gets a message across quickly and effectively, but in truth it lacks “personality”. In advertising the personality usually comes from the images and not the logo, hence why it’s preferable if a logo isn’t fighting the imagery. But here you have to look at the bigger picture, not just the advertising. And unfortunately as a logo I feel it lacks personality, as a fashion brand it should have some style and beauty. It’s been mentioned it was designed to be more contemporary and current, honouring the “heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward”, but in truth it has no distinction or clarity. In truth if we didn’t know who GAP were the logo could be for an IT company or removals firm.
A logo doesn’t make a brand, in fact its a very, very small part of the brand; but what it 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 not this way.
Now if the logo was done purely to generate a reaction and it was mentioned they would consider crowd sourcing a new logo on their Facebook page after the initial uproar, 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. The problem here is that 99% of these logo’s were even worse! You see, to create a powerful and valuable logo you need to understand your brand, it’s not just about choosing a typeface and adding some colour…
…So, as they say, the only bad PR is no PR, and in truth could GAP have got any more coverage if this was a well executed PR stunt? So I feel the PR has been phenomenal and has been trending for days on social media sites like Twitter. It’s been mentioned on hundreds of websites and created news stories on websites like the BBC. Let’s be honest, in today’s current climate this amount of exposure is almost priceless. But the problem here is, has it caused a lot of brand damage? At the moment only the sales figures next year will tell us that. PR should have been used more though to communicate the reason and give a clear understanding of why GAP felt the need to change.
I’ve also read this week this shows your brand is in the hand of the consumers. Well I’d disagree with that. I think what the social media uproar has shown is that GAP probably have weak management. I mean, there was an outcry against the 2012 Olympics logo when that was first revealed, but that wasn’t swiftly dropped. Here the management team stood strong because they believed the logo represented the brand and the long-range brand strategy. So the backlash hasn’t given you control of the brand but just highlights the strength of the management team. I’m sure if every company changes their logo every time the public kick up a fuss there is going to be a lot of work for designers.
So now Gap have returned to their original logo was it all just clever marketing or a really embarrassing mistake?
If the latter then they should be applauded for being big enough to accept the mistake.Brand, Design, Thoughts, Typography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.