A New Logo For Gap? More Like A Nap…

Earlier tonight Twitter started exploding with the news that Gap, American clothing retailer, had debuted a brand new logo on their website. For the last year or so the company has been using a ton of Helvetica Neue in their storewide branding and advertising so when I saw the logo it made sense that they would make the move towards the same look. But what absolutely boggled my mind was the tiny, blue, gradient square that sits awkwardly behind the letter “p”. Where before you had a classic, even if it was an outdated logo, now in it’s place is something that looks like some kinda’ online bank.

On Twitter I honestly didn’t see a single bit of support for the logo, just a lot of shock as to why it was so bad. Tina from Swissmiss wasn’t impressed, saying “GAP is now a financial insitution”. Diego Zambrano, a partner at Ogilvy, thought “Just a gap would be better” and even offered to design them a free logo. It’s even gotten to the point where the Gap Logo has it’s own, snarky Twitter to argue with the haters.

This is some shabby work in my opinion. There was a lot of brand equity in that big blue square and they didn’t move far away enough from the source for this logo to even begin to feel new or exciting. To the right I came up with my own little example of how they could have made a simple tweak to give the impression of a freshening up. Like I said before, I liked the use of Helvetica Neue, which is actually slightly modified on the tail of the “a”, so I kept it. My only change would be to add some color the logo to make it feel like it can change and adapt. My inspiration was the logo that The Strange Attractor uses, which you can see by clicking here. It’s exciting, dynamic and interactive. Is this right for a clothing brand? Not sure, but it’s a hell of a lot better than an oddly placed gradient square.

I think the bigger problem that Gap faces is the fact that they’ve lost their style identity. When I look at the front page of Gap.com I see J.Crew knockoffs but without the attention to details in the product shots or styling. Gap was once known for their basics, but even that title has been taken away by younger upstart American Apparel, which isn’t such great shape either. A sad refresh of a logo and confused style direction, things aren’t looking good for the Gap.


35 Comments A New Logo For Gap? More Like A Nap…

  1. Pingback: gap logo changed « Kaffy's Blog

  2. Shinya October 6, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    Oh my.. Thanks for sharing, that is THE worst thing in design I’ve ever seen.

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  4. Stacey October 6, 2010 at 5:44 AM

    I saw people complain yesterday but didn’t think anything of it until I took a look this morning… holy cripes, that’s just wrong. Just…no.

  5. dr October 6, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    The new “logo” is not a logo, so it can’t be awful.
    Funny joke, it is a joke – right?

  6. jennine October 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    they’ve been using helvetica neue for at least 10 years. at least when i was working there during my college years…10 years ago, they were using helvetica neue ultra light. as a typography student, i felt so nerdy pointing out they should just get on with it and change their logo to helvetica neue.

    now they’ve done it, but it just looks sad.

  7. José Luis October 6, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    You’re right, I think they wanted something simple and neat and ended up with somethin souless and designless. Aweful, just aweful, I like yours way more.

  8. Bud Caddell October 6, 2010 at 11:42 AM


    I hate their use of Helvetica N. Even Knockout would be a better choice, H.N. is just a complete rip-off of American Apparel.

    But you’re right. The gap they stand for now is the distance between what they offer and any chance of successful market growth.

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  10. saer {craven maven} October 6, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Oh my! I saw a post about this on twitter yesterday and I honestly thought it was a joke, that certainly can’t be the new logo I said dismissively.

    I stand sadly corrected. sheesh.

  11. Macina Media October 6, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    You’re bang on with your design. They can say good-bye to any equity they had left in their original logo.

  12. Pingback: Second Melody and the new GAP logo | Second Thoughts

  13. Bob October 6, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    It’s ridiculous! A gradient square?! It’s strange that I feel personally insulted, but for some reason I do.

  14. Sian October 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Wow how much did they pay for that? My thoughts exactly on the online bank logo call.

  15. kelly October 6, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    one would think they would learn from other like verizon and lucent that a gradient in your logo is a mess… doesn’t screen print, embroider? lighting? vinyl signage? unless you are printing the screen a bear to manage while maintaining a brand.

    and when is it every good design to have all your branding materials (ads, online, print, etc) share the same font as you logo? doesn’t this lessen the visual impact and uniqueness of your logo font?

    and admitting to using helvetica is like admitting to using ms word to design?! eeeesh!

    i could go on and on… for a company that claims to be ‘fashion forward’ this is airing on the side of vanilla and stale.

  16. david carson October 7, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    ok. last last offer. ill pay gap $30 to redesign their redesign.

  17. Charlotte Noruzi October 7, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    When you default to Helvetica, it’s all over with :/

    Atleast they could’ve used Helvetica Neue Light or Extended or Condensed or something.

    I think this spells the end of G-A-P. Or should I say, the Gap has
    “fallen into its own gap”.

  18. Charlotte Noruzi October 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Nice…and now they want a new logo for free. Gotta hand it to Gap-great branding strategy. We’re going bankrupt so we’ll just ask people to come up with ideas for new logos and hack ’em.

  19. Jess October 7, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    I know! The spec work side of this makes me sick. Lost all respect for gap.

  20. Felicity October 7, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Your mock up is classic, yet energizing. It would be perfect for them.

  21. Pingback: Gap Logo No-No Gets Mocked on Twitter

  22. Pingback: Change. It’s okay, really. « Glenn Carey

  23. pablo October 8, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    Here’s an open letter Tom Actman wrote. I think he sums up everything I want to say:

    Dear Gap,

    I’ll start by letting you know that I’m one half of the design agency Mat Dolphin, based in London, UK. As an agency we’re focused on helping people and companies build better brands.

    This week you launched (if that’s the word, as it seemed less fanfare and more under the radar) your new brand identity – a new logo created by your long term advertising agency in the US, Laird & Partners. With no PR release to mark its arrival, the new logo suddenly appeared on your website. There was no tie-in ad campaign or TV slots, it just appeared.

    As a branding exercise you went for a revolutionary response to your logo design, rather than an evolutionary development. With no rationale, explanation or statement to the new look, your customers, the public, the design world, and pretty much everyone who has access to Twitter, Facebook or any other social media network has had no option other than to judge the logo on first look. You confused your audience, and left them no other option than to dislike what they see.

    As a marketing exercise though I have to congratulate you. As yet I’m not sure if this is for your naivety or your wisdom, but hats off. I’m not a customer of your product, but I’m now talking about your brand. Yesterday we wrote a blog post (Bridging The Gap) on how designers have reacted to the logo and how perhaps we all need to give the logo some time and let it develop. It’s the most successful post we’ve ever written with over 8,000 hits, some 220 Facebook Likes, 219+ retweets on twitter, and 45 people left thoughtful and considered comments. People who might not have shopped in your stores, looked at your website or even thought about the design of your previous logo are now talking about your brand. And now you’re suggesting the idea of ‘crowd sourcing’ what people think. A genius idea to keep the news fresh in peoples minds, and to engage them in your brand. I even had to ‘Like’ your page to be able to leave this comment.

    The moment we saw your new look we didn’t have an issue with it, but we wanted to understand the thinking. The hype you’ve created around this new logo though is incredible and we’re pretty sure that in the long term it won’t affect your brand or sales. As we’ve said many times before to clients, in previous blog posts and in discussions with other designers, a brand is more than just a logo.

    Whether or not you go back to the existing logo or not due to peer pressure remains to be seen, but if I were American Apparel or Uniqlo right now, I’d be calling my Ad agency straight away to start thinking about about a new marketing campaign to get anywhere near this coverage.


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  25. ES October 9, 2010 at 4:59 AM

    A major underachievement! Do you think the corporation went to one of those “crowd source” sites where you can get a logo for $100? Cool. Maybe I’ll get one too—it probably won’t last much longer than a pair of Gap jeans, but who cares, I’ll just throw it away and get another one.

  26. Patrick King October 9, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    There is nothing inherently wrong with Helvetica Neue, or any well designed typeface. No more than the color blue is better than the color red or a D# being cooler than a B flat.

    They are mere tools and ingredients which require a seasoned eye or ear to manipulate and present anew. Bashing the typeface, even the choice of it, is not the point. Screwing with a beloved icon and hiring the untalented to undertake such a mammoth task is.

  27. Bobby Solomon October 9, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    @Patrick King – I absolutely agree, that’s why I left the Helvetica Neue as is, along with the blue box. I think you totally nailed it.

  28. rick October 9, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Oh my.

    What a dull solution.

    This smells like, Design By Committee.

    I’m sure the comittee is thrilled.

  29. Don Burnett October 9, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    The only thing I can think is they wanted to save on print costs and choice of a logo that anyone in the company can create without a graphics designer.. Maybe it’s a cost cutting measure.. Anyone can throw up helvetica with a gradient square..

    This is a waste, they should have kept the old logo.. I stopped buying my own stuff from GAP because for a long time a great deal of their products were made in the USA and it was a selling point on their denim and other wares.. Now since they have “internationalized” I think they are trying to get away from their own iconic US heritage..

    It’s lame and ashame to me..

    They have downsized to the point they save money on printing and graphics design pretty much to this former customer much like their instore products (just an opinion)..

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  31. Darren scott October 13, 2010 at 11:35 PM

    Your solution is the solution I would have got to myself. Much better.

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