Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Your Logo Isn't Loved

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to appreciate all the designers out there, graphic and web. They do a lot of hard work, and often lead the way with beautiful, eye-catching, iconic images.

That said... Gap unveiled its new logo today, and if the poll on the Huffington Post is any indication, people are not happy with it. (Almost 80% think the new design is "Terrible" last I checked.)

So let's examine this. Who is the Gap, anyway? What do they stand for? And why the change?

At one point, I owned a seriously awesome vintage Gap vest, circa 1980. I wish I had a photo of the tag for it, which said "Gap, Inc. Est. 1978." Gap has always been a preppy sort of place, with cable knit sweaters and khakis. The old logo really captured this old school feel: tall serif letters on a plain, patrician blue background. It was simple, nautical in colors, since Gap clothing was perfect for an afternoon on a sailboat or yacht.

So what's up with this new logo? My first impression was that it reminded me of a gas company logo. I'm not sure why Gap felt they needed a change, but I can guess that they wanted to update their image to keep up with their shoppers. The majority of Gap shoppers are currently in the under-30 set, so it makes sense to try and to appeal to them even further in a down economy when retail sales are slumping. The designer here is trying to capture the feel of Web 2.0, with a sans-serif font and a tiny, gradient colored decoration. Also key is that unlike the original serif-fonted square, this new logo will survive copying and pasting onto social media sites without being blurred or distorted half as easily.

But, will people like this new logo? So far I've only seen negative reactions:
 Now Gap probably put a ton of work into this new logo, so it's unlikely they'll simply scrap it based on a few shots fired around the Internet. But we'll see how long it lasts.


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