Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gap's new logo (for a week)

On Monday, October 4th, Gap quietly unveiled a new logo design which stirred many harsh criticisms. 
Gap’s iconic “old” logo featured a blue square containing the company’s name in all caps. The “new” logo shows a small gradated blue box over the top right side of the name. Graphic designers and Creatives worldwide tore apart this new look. One of the most common expressions was that the new GAP logo looked like it was taken straight out of a clip-art gallery. 

Within 24 hours of the unveiling, a Twitter account (@gaplogo) was created in hopes of obtaining new followers. This is a parody account, from the new logo’s point-of-view, being used as crowd control and even to backlash at posted comments. It’s first Tweet being: "I have feelings too, jerks."

Not to be outdone, the old GAP logo created an account (@OldGapLogo) and posted: “In the middle of the night, I was moved to a large windowless conference room filled with Old Navy mannequins. Send help now.”

To pour more fuel into the fire, posted on GAP’s official Facebook page on Oct. 6th was:

Thanks for everyone's input on the new logo! We've had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we're changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we're thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we're asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we'd like to see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.

Gap’s fan page was instantly filled with angry comments, such as:

“It looks like a cheap gas station logo... or better yet something Wal-mart would change to.”

You want a new logo? Quit asking for free designs (and I pity the designers who fell for this and sent serious submissions) and hire a professional designer/firm to create one for you. Your "crowdsourcing" ploy is nothing short of SPEC work, and completely disregards the contributions that designers have to business and culture.”

…they are just trying to get people to waste there time on creating a "free" logo and this whole crappy new logo design is just a major publicity stunt. Everyone’s talking about it, mission accomplished GAP.”

On Oct. 7, 2010, president of Gap North America, Marka Hansen, sent out a press release stating: "... Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that. We want our customers to take notice of Gap and see what it stands for today. We chose this design as it's more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward..." (Read full article here.)

On Monday, Oct. 11th just one week after launching it's new logo, GAP Inc scrapped the design after reading over 2,000 negative comments on its Facebook page. It became painfully clear to Hansen that GAP Inc had missed an opportunity to engage with the online community.

When asked about the reinstatement, on Twitter, the original GAP logo modestly commented: "I think good design has prevailed. That makes me (and many others) happy."

From the start, I had hope that this was all just one big hoax to get free publicity. Companies spend millions (and billions) of dollars throughout their lifetime in branding efforts to expose their logos worldwide. Would GAP really throw all that away? In this manner and with this "new" design? Many companies out there, like Coca-Cola, have been able to maintain their brand for well over 20 years without changing their logos.

It’s interesting to me, how such a small word and a blue square have come to effect so many. It goes to show how color, size, placement, fonts and type styles affect us as consumers and brand followers. And how two, seemingly simple elements can portray the “feel” of young-middle-class-socialites, or of  generic-MS Word-template.

Although there are many talented graphic designers that are struggling for recognition or to land a job at a reputable advertising agency, crowd-sourcing is not the answer. I've seen many of the design work in these websites and can say that crowd-sourcing breeds mediocrity. It is nearly impossible for a talented designer to submit  unique, creative designs, when 95% of all submissions are sent out to every single job posting that fits it's criteria, without changing any elements other than the company's name. The majority of designers in crowd-sourcing websites are not creating new and unique designs for their potential customers, they are creating templates. And no company should pay an extraordinary amount of money for a design that is going to be sold over and over again, without their knowledge.

-Pete C.