Re-branding Gone Wrong - A look at GAP’s Temporary Re-brand

Apparently back in 2010 Gap temporary lost its mind its a blip that most of us probably missed. They decided to re-brand their logo. I’m sure it was well intended and they thought and hoped that it would generate the good kind of buzz, and in turn generate more sales. Boy were they wrong!

GAP before and after

Without word, Christmas 2010 if you wondered into a GAP you would have met their new logo. Printed on their bags, on the signage in the shops, and on all the labeling. Their iconic blue square surrounding that skinny tall font we all knew from a mile away, was suddenly replaced with a boring font, and a non committal little blue box that was attempting to pay homage to the bran’s old logo. Gap had taken a stark departure form a logo that had served them for the past 20 years, to a poorly designed logo that suddenly was alienating their clients and designers a like.

We can’t totally blame the font. Helvetica has been used my many companies desiring a new logo and a re-branding. Helvetica has served companies like Knoll since the 70's.

The little poorly placed and weird gradated box can’t be 100% at fault either. Yes it’s not very attractive, nor is it well placed. The graphic itself though meaning well in trying to tie the old logo to the new one was missing the iconic blue colour that the original GAP logo had always had. The placement was also quite questionable as well, it looked like an after thought.

There is also the issue around crowd sourcing. Which is what GAP claimed this idea had come form. Sure maybe involving your tribe in creating something for your brand could be an exciting and engaging way to include your them, but asking for someone to do a possibly million dollar logo change outraged the design community. GAP was taking advantage of the design pool of people trying to make a name for themselves. This demeans the hard work that all designers put into their creations.

In turn GAP crumbled under the pressure and in a short six days they had reverted back to their old logo, and have used it ever since.

As a designer I have been trying to wrap my brain around what I might do differently. The concept of redesigning I believe is one of making the “insides” better and then looking at how they are packaged. GAP is a clothing brad known for its relatively cheap and cheerful clothing. They have always tried to have a tried and true colour scheme across all of their clothing with a few “adventurous” seasonal colours thrown into the mix. IF GAP was looking at overhauling their brand, and try attracting a clientele that didn’t identify with the brands style, I believe that they should have started with what they sell. Sure keep the old classics, but start introducing the products that their new perspective tribe was looking for, then introducing them to GAP’s staples, and bring them on board that way. This expands sales and creates new revenue flow, then you can start looking at if the logo needs to be changed. JUST putting a new logo on top of an existing product, to me is much like putting a band-aid on large wound. It isn’t going to heal the wound it’s just a cover up. Which your tribe and the tribe a brand is looking to win over, is just going to be seen as false.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.