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Gap Logo Redesign a Stunt? Joke is on Brand

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 7, 2010 11:00 AM

Yesterday when we called Gap's new logo a "monstrosity" and said it looked as if it cost "$17 from an old Microsoft Word clipart gallery," we may have been a little off-base about the iconic clothier's strategy. With new information coming to light, we wish to clarify. It is far, far worse.

When one of our commenters posited that Gap's grotesque new logo was in fact a "black ops" move to create buzz about the brand in the attempt to get consumer input on a new logo, we laughed because… well, that's just too insane to believe. But subsequently, on Gap's Facebook page, the brand posted a response:

"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."

That's right. One of the most prominent popular fashion brands is crowdsourcing its new brand logo. So the favorite last-ditch tactic of brands and causes lacking money or new ideas (or both) is apparently the brand strategy for one of the most recognized fashion brands of the last two decades. And the whole logo "redesign" was a meant to drum up media attention so Gap could engage consumers in another PR stunt to redesign its logo? We smell a contest in the near future. Free khakis for life?

The comments on Gap's Facebook announcement are telling. Clearly, it does not take a brand expert to see that this move is beyond daft and will leave the brand a laughingstock for considerable time to come. In shades of the fake BP PR Twitter feed, the new Gap logo already has its own faux Twitter. An independent Gap logo redesign contest has also sprung up with better suggestions.

Some of the "crowdsourced" input on Gap's Facebook post so far:



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steve85 United States says:

I wouldn't be too concerned with this logo. Although it looks like Silicon Valley decided to design, real designers are predicting this will go to the scraps. http://gnomeflash.com/ gives some good analysis through the eyes of a designer. I have to agree with them that this is the Tropicana logo change all over again.

October 7, 2010 12:59 PM #

Lapel pins United States says:

This is just another way to bond with their customers and let them have some say or give feedback on the companies logo. I like the idea alot. This will be a huge hit in connecting or even re-connecting GAP with their customers of past, present and future.

October 7, 2010 02:55 PM #

Johnny TwoChaps United States says:

We can't let Gap get away with exploiting designers like this. Help us boycott Gap for crowdsourcing by tweeting the following:

#BoycottGap for #Crowdsourcing the replacement of @NewGapLogo

October 7, 2010 04:55 PM #

Logo designer New Zealand says:

I thought it was just local governments and short-signed organisations that put their brand out for 'design competitions'. It seems the cult of the amateur is growing. Maybe instead of buying our khakis we should make them ourselves on the kitchen table. I've got no fashion design training but that doesn't matter - does it? They may be uncomfortable, ill fitting, look awful and last a few weeks but it would be cheap - even better if we can get others to do the hard labour for us for free.

October 8, 2010 01:03 AM #

david sloly United Kingdom says:

The barometer on the Captains' dashboard of 'Good Ship Gap' read clear skies and calm water ahead, yet he elected to sail towards choppy water, which may prove to be a storm. A brave Captain indeed and as yet we know not why he elected to do this. I don't believe this move will sink the ship but it may result in some costly repair bills to repair the damage of this risky manoeuvre.

October 8, 2010 04:22 AM #

Jeff Li United Kingdom says:

Why are you talking like a nob?

October 8, 2010 12:11 PM #

david sloly United Kingdom says:

maybe it's the way you read it?

October 8, 2010 02:38 PM #

Bernadette Jiwa Australia says:

As you probably know Gap president Marka Hansen has responded on the Huffington Post.


Hansen talked about how Gap was evolving and how the company wanted to be more relevant to their customers as being some of the reasons behind the logo redesign.

“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.”

Gap knew exactly what they wanted but forgot some essential truths about marketing.


October 8, 2010 08:18 AM #

The Marketing Guy Who Drives Sales United States says:

Hey designers, if I was ever boycotted by plumbers because I once decide to change my own faucet and asked my neighbor for help then I wouldn't think much of plumbers anymore for using such thuggery tactics as a boycott.  Aren't companies free to design logos however they want to?  

Besides, I think you all are missing the point.  This seems to be a well-orchestrated effort to conduct primary consumer research.

My full analysis at:

October 8, 2010 08:59 AM #

A Sauer United States says:

I can certainly understand the concept behind creating a stir for "consumer research" purposes, especially since it now seems like they;re adding the "consumer research" excuse late in the game. Anyway, there seems to be better ways than this. Indeed, the "feedback" they are getting, almost exclusively, is hardly constructive, varying between "keep the old logo" and "your new logo is crap."

October 8, 2010 09:13 AM #

J Shapiro United States says:

Hey Marketing Guy, you obviously have no clue what a brand is. Yes, companies are free to do anything they want to with their logo, BUT when they change the design so drastically, without building on any positive equities and without carefully considering the impact on loyal consumers who give the brand it's value, then they are sure to lose those consumers. Continuing with your plumber analogy, it seems that GAP's new plumbing has sprung a leak and the company is now in jeopardy of drowning in the mess they made. They should have called a licensed plumber (or qualified brand design consultancy) to do it for them. I find it laughable that they are now trying to spin this as a consumer research effort. And lastly, good luck with crowd sourcing the new logo idea. I think from the way this first round went over, you will have the same result.

October 8, 2010 02:49 PM #

Elliott Krejci United States says:

Here is how Gap should have updated their logo: Step 1.) Open Gaplogo.ai, Step 2.) Save as Gaplogo.ai. There now in the meta data it will reflect an updated gap logo. End of story.

October 8, 2010 09:57 AM #

Ben Wolstenholme United Kingdom says:

Dear Brand Channel, you really don't get it do you?

October 8, 2010 12:54 PM #

Dr. Bill Haig United States says:

Years ago Opinion Research did a study on store brands.  They found that the company logo, the company weekly ad, and the company substance are all related.  What does this mean to GAP?  The logo and ad should be created to communicate the personality of GAP.  Hello, the personality needs to be defined first before any creative work is done.  I don't believe GAP management is astute enough about creativity in branding and "credibility based logo and advertising design".   They can read all about it on www.powerlogos.com.

Bill Haig, Ph.D. Creativity and Branding

October 8, 2010 04:58 PM #

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