Don’t Mind the Gap

Posted 8 October 2010 at 11:59 PM | Comments (8)

It’s hard to believe that the same people who are behind the super-strong brand identities of Banana Republic and Old Navy are making such bad decisions for Gap. One, they scrapped a logo that was fine to begin with—it was clean, well-proportioned, and, perhaps most importantly, recognizable. Two, they replaced that logo with one that is not only badly designed but generic—a thousand other companies probably have a similar logo, and most of those companies probably repair computers, pack boxes or, who knows, push thumbtacks. Three, they immediately put that badly designed logo in effect and then asked consumers for their design ideas. Four, they… well, I’m not sure what four is, but considering the decisions they’ve made thus far, chances are, it’s coming.

I’ve always been loyal to Gap. But their flaky decision-making on something as critical as brand identity makes me question their entire business model. Yesterday, following the intense consumer backlash, the company stated that they’re “thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding,” but if they knew how incompetent this makes them look, I don’t think they’d be so thrilled.

Brand identity is not just about design. It starts with a design, and that design says something about who you are and distinguishes you from others, but as you build relationships the design becomes you. It’s how people recognize you. Over time, it’s why they trust you.

Dear Gap,

I bought a pair of your jeans and then cut, hemmed, and restyled them. My friends say they’re hideous now and were much more attractive before. Can I return them for a full refund?

Thanks,
Mojan

8 Responses to Don’t Mind the Gap

  1. lacey says:

    Thanks for a well-written short analysis of all the reasons why the new logo is anti-climactic. I’m all about re-branding even previously good looking designs if it’s for the best, and even taking into consideration the overly-critical nature of the twitterverse, blogosphere, and crowdsourcing world, I agree that Gap made a bad move.

    I did buy a great pair of pants there earlier in the week (the day before the new logo was unveiled), but everything else I saw there was pretty ugly…I wasn’t impressed at all by anything. Everything looked kind of cheap and everything was blah. Could be a bad season or something but just didn’t do much to make me want to defend Gap.

  2. negeen says:

    first greg now gap? 😐

  3. negeen says:

    i just saw the logo and i’m appalled. why doesn’t france just go ahead and replace the eiffel tower with a giant plastic magnetic “A” from my refrigerator door? or coca-cola switch to comic sans? honestly, the gap logo looks like clipart from my 1995 version of Word.

  4. Andrew says:

    Nice post, Mojan. This rebranding was the talk of Art Center yesterday. Lots of opinions, none of them very complimentary. Nobody could really grasp why they’d want to ditch all of that brand equity with so little fanfare. Especially since the identity change-up wasn’t really supported by any major brand changes or repositioning (no new sales model, store designs/strategy or business model).

    The kicker, though, was the fact that the $4 Billion brand actually had the temerity to ask the world for FREE SPEC WORK after the inevitable backlash. So incredibly tacky!

    I have a feeling we’re looking at this year’s Tropicana. Can’t imagine it’ll stick around for long.

  5. Misha says:

    Wow, that new logo is soooo terrible! That gradient in the blue square makes me want to throw up!

    More importantly…how do you have time to think about these things with a newborn AND a toddler around? I’m impressed.

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