Gap logo

More in the Gap Inc. press release, via Debbie Millman.

Gap to scrap new logo, return to old design, on AdAge
Gap scraps new logo after online outcry, on BBC
Gap scraps new logo, on brandchannel

What Gap should’ve done (previous LDL post).

Lessons for next time: Where Gap went wrong, by Clinton Duncan.


Glad they came to their senses and listened to the people – the new logo concept was horrible and embodied poor market research. I was shocked that they were planning to resort to crowd sourcing – it would’ve damaged their reputation and destroyed their brand. No one should be resorting to, or contributing to crowd sourcing – you figure an established brand like the GAP would understand the consequences of crowd sourcing.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brand go back on an idea in such a short space of time. They have made the right decision.

I’m so glad they have reverted back to the original design, it’s just who they are. I must agree that it has caused a lot of comments to be made and they have definitely upped their media recognition in the past week, which may have been a good thing for Gap, but then again maybe not.

I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts as designers on how this might impact the Laird and Partners and their ongoing relationship with Gap.
What would a designer do in this kind of situation?

I can’t remember who mentioned it on Twitter, Bernadette, but someone wondered about the option of a design studio having the ability to withdraw their name from a project, if the designers weren’t happy with the (presumably) client-led outcome.

The cynic in me thinks they never planned to change the logo, deliberately ‘chose’ a horrendous redesign to gain lots of publicity, and then ‘respond’ to the upswell of criticism by reverting to the old logo – showing themselves to be friendly, listening types.

But that’s just the cynic in me…

The first thing I did when I saw the initial release of the new logo was check out Laird+Partners’ website, to see if these people deserved the benefit of the doubt. After all, sometimes it’s hard to divine the strategy behind these moves that seem to reach a bit too far.

However, upon reviewing their portfolio, it’s clear to me that they just aren’t branding designers. Every single piece in their portfolio is a “beautiful photo + competently, but unobtrusively, set type = ad” magazine piece.

Although it’s been stated that they serve as Gap’s Creative Director, it’s unclear whether or not they brought in any kind of branding designer or strategist in to help them extend their capabilities for the redesign. If they did, it’s easy to imagine them overruling any sensible proposals in favor of their affection for Helvetica.

Really, this thing looks like it came from them, made specifically to fit in with the rest of the work they’re doing for Gap…which is putting the cart before the horse. Isn’t it?

The GAP Press release says:

“At Gap brand, our customers have always come first. We’ve been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we’ve made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.”

No, we are not passionate about your blue box. First, your redesign sucked and then you wanted to pimp your customers for free, crowdsourced designs.

Let’s crowdsource the design of the entire spring ’11 line, shall we?


I think you guys may have hit it right on the money:

They’re in the process of renovating the Eaton Centre GAP store in Toronto right now – they finished the first half a couple weeks ago and are now working on the second half – though the newly unveiled section has the old logo embedded as an inset in the doorframe of the entrance, and has been like that since they reopened it as far as I could tell.

Like everyone else, I wasn’t happy with the new logo design. Glad to see they reverted back.

What I am happy about is the 40% off sale at the stores on Monday (I bought some new jeans). Was this their way of saying “I’m sorry”?

@Lacey – couldn’t agree with you more.

Designers use methods that involve research, intellect and innovation to create designs for their clients and use software as their tools. Crowdsourcing eliminates the design process and brings together a bunch of tool bearers.

Thanks David,

“I can’t remember who mentioned it on Twitter, Bernadette, but someone wondered about the option of a design studio having the ability to withdraw their name from a project, if the designers weren’t happy with the (presumably) client-led outcome.”

I’m not a designer but I can’t figure out how this would work on several counts. Firstly there is the contractual obligation and the fact that money has changed hands. Do Laird and Partners now give that back?
Secondly what position will Laird be in now with regard to going public with their perspective on this?

Besides the fact that the design community thought the design flawed and the public hated it I think a lot of the reaction stemmed from Gap Inc’s handling of the whole rebrand.

I’m not sure that it has anything to do with the money aspect, Bernadette, but It clearly wouldn’t present the right picture to your client if you state from the outset that you reserve the right to detract yourself from the outcome.

I’ve only just tuned into the Gap redesign debacle.

after wading through the obvious controversy of
1. bad redesign
followed by
2. crowdsourcing
and cynically
3. all of this planned?

i thought about the nature of branding itself – the idea that it’s not the company that defines its own image, but the public, because the consumption itself is a communication and exchange of ownership – and how much power the consumer community had over the definition and image of GAP in this case. it was the public backlash that forced Gap to revert back to it’s original ‘image.’ As if they said “No, GAP. That is not you, because that is not us. We don’t like it and you better change back, or else.”

Though, everyone likes to jump on the bandwagon and hit the dinosaur with sticks. A lot of design-nerds who don’t design, and their blogs.

Still, the emotional attachment to the classic logo surprised and impressed me, in regards to the effect of identity, and specifically about the loyalty (ownership?) of the GAP fanbase/following.

Who defines the brand? After a while, it’s not the company.. and it seems that this inevitability is the thing they are fighting so hard to maintain control over.

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