Posted by Abe Sauer on October 8, 2010 01:00 PM
There is always that one fundamental contrarian who wants to make a splash by going against near-uniform opinion, such as declaring kittens "horrible." At times, that person has been me, even more frequently that person works for Slate.com. But in the case of Gapocolypse™, that person writes for Time.
The "comfortable middle-class" media outlet comes to the defense of Gap's redesigned logo, going so far as to declare that its NewsFeed blogger "personally does not mind Helvetica, and so this new logo brings to mind visions of a streamlined, technologically dominant future America where everyone wears white suits and cool glasses."
Time's blog post goes on to note that the brand has turned crisis into opportunity, calling Gap's desperate PR spin calling for design input to crowdsource the new logo "an additional card up their sleeves."
This idea that Gap is looking for consumer input on a logo that will represent a new direction, a "change," of the brand is echoed by both Gap's president and its corporate communications VP, who both speak of the logo "starting a conversation." Yet, as brandchannel commentor Gunter Soydanbay astutely notes, "Forgive my ignorance, but have they issued a formal design brief? They say, the company is changing and they want the new logo to represent this change. But what is this change is about?"
Gunter is absolutely right that without any kind of even mildly specific strategy or direction, crowd-sourcing anything is a futile exercise. Unless Gap is actually suggesting that the brand is crowd-sourcing a business plan.
Good grief, is Gap crowdsourcing a business plan? Because it's sure beginning to look like Gap is crowdsourcing a business plan.
In the end, the branding industry should see the Gap case study (although its creative agency Laird & Partners isn't likely to release one) as a cautionary tale. The takeaway for brands in is that even professionals can't always be trusted, so do the research and ask as many questions as possible in the process. Surely, somebody at Gap must have had doubts about this.
Editor's Note: We'd love to hear your thoughts now that the firestorm has died down — tell us (specifically) what you like or don't like about Gap's new logo in our debate room.