Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gap Crap

(click image to enlarge)

by Jessica Messerschmidt

Considering were currently tackling a project on rebranding, I’d like to chime in on the outrage with the GAP stores rebrand. When I say outrage, I mean like this was social media frenzy. I’m sure some of you have seen it or maybe heard. I’m sure everyone knows what the logo Gap has been using for years and years. Gap switched out their logo for a different approach where they used Helvetica spelling the word “Gap” no longer in all caps and a small blue square, off center, placed behind the “p.”

Everyone went crazy about it. Designers, customers, twitter … etc. Gap’s response to the feedback was basically a thanks for the input and they love the passionate debate that is coming about because of their new logo. BUT, although a representative said that they loved their new look, they said they’d like to see other ideas from the public. What? Right there, it seems to me that they know that it was a lazy attempt at a rebrand and they are looking for the answers from the public.

Needless to say, One week after the introduction of the new logo Gap returned to their roots and reinstated the original Gap logo.

I obviously was not there in the meetings talking about the process and ideas for this rebrand but I can’t imagine it being intelligent. I know I’m not a professional by any means but this logo just failed in so many ways. They used a typeface that anyone has easy access to for a new look with so many already loyal customers. What does that say to your customers? They basically took their old logo of a serif font in all caps and decided that doing the opposite was the best solution. They underestimated the consumer’s knowledge on design. Honestly, I’m pretty curious what the process behind the rebrand was and how they came to this conclusion.

By all this media attention, they at least got people thinking about their store. Whether it was loyal customers or new people who may be future customers.

[Ed. – I maintain a similar sentiment as Jess, as you can see here.]


  1. Here's how the meeting went:

    Some guy: Let's use Helveltica! It's hip and fresh like we want to be. Everybody loves Helvetica!

    Some other guy: Yes. You're a genius. Let's add a square too, just to make it dynamic.

    Total time spent on logo: 5 minutes.

  2. (laughs) Lisa, I love that comment.

    The sad thing is, this was surely one of 100+ versions they painstakingly pushed through the grinder over a very long time span.

    Like I've said to many students and professionals alike over the years; just because you spent a lot of time on something doesn't guarantee the result is going to be good.