Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

What Gap should’ve done

old Gap logo

Update (follow-up posts):
- What Gap did
- Lessons for next time: Where Gap went wrong (written by Clinton Duncan)

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

66 appreciated comments

  1. Agreed!
    The new logo does not look good at all
    The old one was much more professional!

  2. Lee

    I have no problem with the Helvetica, I thought the old logo was boring and old. But that gradient box is just weird.

  3. Blue Cuevas

    The new logo would’ve been “ok” if it weren’t for the gradient box. What’s with that? Looks like it came from one of those $99 logo sites.

  4. How could anyone be so crass? Which will go first: the new brand or the company itself?

  5. Well, there are two identities that Gap has, it’s own store and the sub-brands that are owned under it. Why didn’t they make an all encompassing identity for all of them? I really don’t understand how using a gradient and slapping on Helvetica is supposed to be modern, in fact, it’s already tired.

  6. Stripeyhorse

    It looks awful. Cheap and nasty looking!

  7. Camille

    I’m just hoping the design team was handcuffed and forced to do…that. I hope they release some background info from the brief for this one.

    There MUST have been a reason. Please??

  8. naomi

    the new logo makes gap look like american apparel. not a good thing in my opinion!

  9. This just goes to show that helvetica is not some kind of super hero typeface… This really sucks!

  10. Etaoin Shrdlu

    I think they used the same design firm as the DNC.

    Spire Regular was much nicer, but can’t a huge conglomerate afford to design their own typeface?

  11. OMG Just seen the new logo on their site…wow…I feel like Marty McFly waking up in 1987 and someone’s got a version of Aldus PageMaker so can now do gradients!

    Their only saving grace, in my opinion, is that the favicon on the site is still the old logo ;0)

  12. Does anyone have any more examples of the brand in practice? It’s difficult to judge it by just the brand marque on it’s own.

    From what Ive seen so far it looks bland. I didn’t recognize it. Was the brief ‘make the Gap identity like our clothes…nondescript.’

  13. Oh boy….yet another example of hundreds of billable hours improperly spent. At least when Bell Canada blew $8M on their redesign last year the result was a reasonably well constructed branding system, even if it did look like we could have “done it in 5min”.

    No idea what they are thinking with that box…..

  14. The major problem with the new logo is that it has no identity. Helvetica is so common that is completely neutral and boring by now, and the gradient… it’s just ugly and meaningless

  15. Jared Hardwick

    If they wanted Helvetica, Why not just keep the original blue box and then just use a Helvetica Condensed version to keep a similar moder/elegant branding but update it…?

  16. @jared, because they’re stupid… plain and simple.

  17. Meenakshi R

    Well … At least they should have had some kerning to the letters, seems like a post promotional activity for the documentary “Helvetica”.

    OR

    Probably it could be another promotional gimmick for the brand … but does GAP really need it?

  18. Thom Westergren

    My guess is that they’ve adopted a new approach to design. ONLY ONE ATTEMPT ALLOWED—so, this is what they got. It was the FIRST, the LAST and the FINAL!

  19. Michael Artman

    While I am not one of those anti-helvetica, I agree that in some cases, a bold lowercase sans serif can be a huge mistake. It doesnt make sense. If you like modern sans serif looks, why not differentiate yourself from the competition (and maintain some brand consistancy) by remaking your current logo with some tall thin san serifs inside a giant blue box. Retains the feel of the brand, while still adding some subtle ‘freshness’ to your look.

    I just do not understand this logo. A brand that goes with the whole ‘retro’, rugged american feel… with all the flannel and denim anyone could ask for… and they come out with a ‘sleek’ ‘modern’ logo? And an awful gradient box? If that was the best option, I would have liked to see what other sketches their designer brought to a meeting (although I wouldnt be surprised if their designers skipped the planning stages)

    I predict this now look will not last too long… All this negative criticism within the past 48 hours is hopefully going to be more than GAP can handle…

    In the end, I hope this just ends up being a waste of money for GAP, and they cut their losses and reinstate the old logo. (immensely better than the gradient)

  20. Not only does the new logo blend into the noise of ambiguity quite effectively, I really do not understand why Gap had to change it at all, this radically or otherwise. The old logo was a world-renowned icon, this is something the CEO’s nephew did in Microsoft Word.

    What Pepsi did was also uglier, but at least it was still recognizable as the same brand. Gap’s redesign is just unfortunate.

  21. favicon still old logo for me? solid re-branding effort.

  22. Moim zdaniem Helvetica jest nieco przestarzała i gdy taka firma chce odświeżyć swoje logo powinna sięgnąć po coś bardziej orginalnego, w tym przypadku popieram idee pozostania przy poprzednim znaku…

  23. I can’t understand, why they felt a need to change the old logo at all. Everytime I passed a shop with the GAP-Logo I had to stop for a sec and admire this simple yet effective piece of art. Now, I probably have to throw-up everytime I cross the new one. It’s plain ugly and inconsistent.

    The lowercase letters are to different from the old look. They should have created a bridge to the old logo by using 3 uppercase letters – just like before. And this little square on the top right is probably meant as a reference to the old blue square, but that’s probably just something a graphic-designer would notice. Besides that, it’s gross and pointless.

    Now I probably won’t buy anything in GAP again, as I most certainly would never wear a piece of clothing that has such an terrible logo printed on it.

    I do like things changing from time to time (if it’s for good), but there is certain things that should rather stay as they are, instead of striking for a pseudo-cool-modern look. This logo is a great example. Epic fail in my opinion – sorry GAP.

  24. Paul

    Why change, there is a lot of equity in the current logo, everyone recognises it…I would be interested to see the rationale for the change and for the new logo, honestly, it looks like Fred’s Bookkeeping Business!

  25. Blech! I had no idea they changed the logo. What a waste!

  26. durka

    A little undigested vomit spewed forth from my nostrils just then. It landed on the desk in front of me and looked better than this monstrosity.

  27. Gary Annett

    I saw the logo before seeing it on the web (it was on the cardboard that was wrapped around boxer shorts I had ordered online) and it didn’t sink in until the LDL email arrived. I totally disregarded it until I knew that it was a logo change.

    I’m both a designer and a disgruntled Gap customer, angry that the Gap I grew up with (rugby shirts, jeans under thirty dollars, etc.) has morphed into an over-priced store with T-shirts that have become so cheap in quality that you can see through them now.

    So it comes as no surprise that the Gap went cheap on creativity with the new logo. Helvetica is not cheap–it’s a classic font that when used well, it gives all that you will want from it.

    But the combo of the gradient blue square makes both the name and the classic font makes the new logo unrefined and, well, cheap.

  28. Oh dear

    Have you seen this? http://twitter.com/GapLogo

    I have to giggle “I told corporate it was a bad idea spending that money on John FRIGGIN Mayer – luckily American Apparel had some spare letters on clearance.”

  29. Two theories;

    I think Gap are going to make a u turn on this one. It has all the hallmarks of the failed Vegemite re-branding here in Australia http://www.theage.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/unhappy-little-vegemites-vent-their-fury-over-isnack-20-20090928-g997.html

    OR (and perhaps more likely)

    This is just a hunch and I’m not sure if it was premeditated BUT….. could this be a social media marketing experiment/stunt? It’s sure created a huge amount of buzz for the company. It’s given them a platform to discuss the restructuring on the company.

    Gap are now talking about crowd sourcing a design on their FB page.

    “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.”

    Might be a chance for the brilliant community of designers here to start submitting their designs!

  30. Neil

    Been thinking and thinking since I first saw this and the whole thing just puzzles me. Although in my mind, the old logo was fine I could see the case for a refresh of the mark. But someone, somewhere thought this logo was good enough to present to the client and the client thought that this was good solution. Keep waiting for this to be exposed as some guerilla marketing trick.

  31. Colin Astbury

    Have to agree with the general opinion here that the rebranding from a design point of view is an epic fail. From a marketing perspective they do seem to have created a lot of news and buzz of the back of it.

  32. Hi David,

    I’ve written a quick post about the marketing theory behind this and linked back to here.

    http://www.etchd.com/new-gap-logo-botched-design-or-clever-social-media-marketing-experiment/

    I’ve also asked the question to Gap directly via FB and Twitter.
    Will be interesting to see what unfolds.

  33. Looks like Gap were beaten to the crowd sourcing idea.
    Check out the redesigns submitted.

    http://blog.iso50.com/2010/10/06/gap-redesign-contest/#more-20224

  34. Stephen Shillito

    One of those days when I realise that I really am not ‘up’ on what is happening. Took a look at the website to see what everyone was talking about and very much an ‘ouch’! Will this go the way of new coke etc? The upper case G really bothers me against the lower a & p. As for the square – why? Did they need a rebrand / new logo?

  35. Why change a distinctive design to something with no identity. I agree about the gradient box, it’s like they wanted to keep a bit of the old design but then stuck a gradient on it to make it different.

    I really don’t think that it has made any improvement on their brand and it doesn’t seem to represent them anymore. Also just noticed they seem to have forgotten to change the favicon on their gap.com site. Maybe it’s their way of holding on to what they know is right.

  36. Looks like Gap had a sneaky plan. > http://fb.me/KlchOGUh

    Well done GAP for further devaluing the design industry!

  37. I wonder if they ever kept in mid the company values… they lost it all.

  38. Khilila Machado

    I looked at new logo and said “oh no….. OH NO!” out loud and shook my head. The GAP was such an icon of “coolness” in my chunky teenage years that I held on to my GAP jean jacket for years. You were proud to carry a GAP bag around the mall. Now it just looks plain sad.

  39. The only excuse I will accept for this logo is that “We wanted to look more like American Airlines or Crate&Barrel”.

  40. David-
    I absolutely love your submission on iso50! I got a good laugh. Why change such a timeless logo… and especially with that nasty little gradient mark???

  41. I think we have all become a part of an immoral and unethical social media marketing.

  42. You can say anything you want. But there is no such thing as bad promotion. They’re logo pops up everywhere on the internet. The logo isn’t good, i’ll agree on that. But if the logo becomes a hype, then they might done a great job.

  43. Miles Edwards

    Lame, lame, lame! You don’t just chuck an iconic logo, history shows it NEVER works… On a side note, I saw The Social Network, and noted that the main character was sporting a GAP hoodie early on in the film, and I thought, it’s cool that kids still identify positively with that brand. No need to mess with it…

  44. Zylun

    Here Here! The old logo was easily recognized! The new one will turn people off to the products. It doesn’t look like a clothing logo.

  45. This is right up there with the Pepsi logo. I’m still mad about that one. No, scratch that. This is worse than the Pepsi logo.

  46. So this wasn’t a publicity stunt then?…

  47. Apparently the new logo is not a stunt http://adage.com/article?article_id=146353

    The new logo was designed by Laird and partners http://www.lairdandpartners.com/

  48. Carmen

    Like my mama always said “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.

  49. Ian

    Interestingly the European Gap website has yet to be inflicted with the new horrendous tacky logo. Will it just be a US thing – surely not.

  50. If Gap are changing, then so should their logo.

    Gap also 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.

    Dear Gap,

    I’ll start by letting you know that I’m one half of the design agency Mat Dolphin, based in London, UK. As an agency we’re focused on helping people and companies build better brands.

    This week you launched (if that’s the word, as it seemed less fanfare and more under the radar) your new brand identity – a new logo created by your long term advertising agency in the US, Laird & Partners. With no PR release to mark its arrival, the new logo suddenly appeared on your website. There was no tie-in ad campaign or TV slots, it just appeared.

    As a branding exercise you went for a revolutionary response to your logo design, rather than an evolutionary development. With no rationale, explanation or statement to the new look, your customers, the public, the design world, and pretty much everyone who has access to Twitter, Facebook or any other social media network has had no option other than to judge the logo on first look. You confused your audience, and left them no other option than to dislike what they see.

    As a marketing exercise though I have to congratulate you. As yet I’m not sure if this is for your naivety or your wisdom, but hats off. I’m not a customer of your product, but I’m now talking about your brand. Yesterday we wrote a blog post (Bridging The Gap) on how designers have reacted to the logo and how perhaps we all need to give the logo some time and let it develop. It’s the most successful post we’ve ever written with over 12,000 hits, some 220 Facebook Likes, 250 retweets on twitter, and 60 people left thoughtful and considered comments. People who might not have shopped in your stores, looked at your website or even thought about the design of your previous logo are now talking about your brand. And now you’re suggesting the idea of ‘crowd sourcing’ what people think. A genius idea to keep the news fresh in peoples minds, and to engage them in your brand. I even had to ‘Like’ your page to be able to leave this comment.

    The moment we saw your new look we didn’t have an issue with it, but we wanted to understand the thinking. The hype you’ve created around this new logo though is incredible and we’re pretty sure that in the long term it won’t affect your brand or sales. As we’ve said many times before to clients, in previous blog posts and in discussions with other designers, a brand is more than just a logo.

    Whether or not you go back to the existing logo or not due to peer pressure remains to be seen, but if I were American Apparel or Uniqlo right now, I’d be calling my Ad agency straight away to start thinking about about a new marketing campaign to get anywhere near this coverage.

    Thoughts?

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

  51. HA HA HA! I think that might be the best blog you ever wrote.

    They often say simple is best eh? ;)

  52. When I first saw the rebrand I thought it was a joke, now I realise it actually is a joke, but its not supposed to be…

  53. Angela

    The new logo is pretty bad. Obviously GAP needs some better designers and art directors in their design dept, so get online and apply people! Now is your chance!

  54. Spyder7

    You know, this seems vaguely familiar. My guess is that they have another design. They put the first up so that attention would be drawn to them, which it has. Give ‘em another week and we’ll probably see the real ‘new’ look. If that’s the case then I’d say that this was a marketing stroke of genius. However, if this really is their new logo….yuch!

  55. David, looks like Gap took your advice. They are reverting back to the old logo http://www.gapinc.com/public/Media/Press_Releases/med_pr_GapLogoStatement10112010.shtml
    They have also had a change of heart re crowd sourcing a new design something that the design community were very unhappy with.

  56. This is an opportunity for anyone in business to learn from Gap’s marketing mistakes of last week. It goes way beyond a failed logo.

    If your were CEO how would you rescue this?

    What should Gap do now?

    http://www.etchd.com/what-should-gap-do-now/

  57. Thanks for the comments, folks, and for keeping me up-to-speed on developments. I’m glad to see Gap have ditched the whole “crowdsourcing design” idea. What a crap-shoot that would’ve been.

  58. Bill

    the old (or current) logo is very strong.
    no need for a new one.
    it can last for years.

  59. Giles

    You have to be kidding. The amount of design talent in abundance all over the world and this is the best a brand like this can come up with. Aim low you can’t miss or as they say on the tube… Mind the GAP.

  60. So what ever happened to the “new” logo? I have not seen it used.

  61. Nevermind. I see their press release and that they decided to not use the “new” logo.


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