Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gap Logo Redesign – a look back

Now that the Gap redesign logo fiasco has died down and the iconic clothing retailer is getting on with what it does best - selling classic, traditional and well-styled, American clothing, let’s take a look back at the logo crisis and give Kudos to the Gap for pausing to see what all the fuss was really all about - messing with the identity of a brand steeped in classic Americana - a little dodgy to say the least. Take note, logo changes of iconic brands need to be subtle, almost imperceptible to the public, a mere nudging in the right direction to reflect current times. You can subtly revitalize a brand without taking away its heritage with a radical redesign.

So what were they thinking at the Gap? The purpose of redesigning the Gap logo was to capture a more modern brand image in line with store redesigns and new product introductions. The Gap wanted to reflect a more modern brand to consumers and turned to the logo as a way to communicate. The learning - be cautious when changing the insignia of iconic brands. Consumers are often emotionally attached to these brands, and their logos can pull at special memories such as a first pair of jeans, teenage friends, or that special shopping trip with a parent.

The background - on Monday October 5, 2010, the Gap announced a logo change at, resulting in negative articles on Advertising Age and the Consumerist. This fuelled a flurry of negative reactions to the redesign in the mainstream media, on blogs, and on social networks such as Facebook with parody accounts surfacing on Twitter with @gaplogo, @oldgaplogo, and @craplogo. A saucy new website, mocked the new logo with an online logo-creator where visitors could instantly create spoofs of the new Gap logo.

A week later, rethinking its approach and responding to consumer backlash, the Gap announced its decision to revert to its old logo. The impetus; passionate comments supporting the old logo, over 1500 Facebook comments on the Gap page, and a flurry of negative comments on Twitter and in the mainstream media.

Watch this 6 minute video clip on CNN which summarizes the Gap logo redesign and comments on the issues.


Kathryn McDwell said...

Listening to the opinion of the majority was very admirable of Gap. When they reverted to their old yet timeless logo, they showed that even the biggest of brands can be humbled by consumer feedback. After all, it was their patrons who passionately voiced out what they thought of the Helvetica-inspired logo.

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