Digital Media Insights for Business Owners

New GAP logo to the trashcan

New GAP logo versus old

New versus Old Gap Logo

Ok, so I just wanted to give my two cents on this entire New Gap Logo thing. First of all one of the things that I think is pretty bad is the fact that the company pulls the logo and throws it to the trash can. I mean, if you have done your homework, then either it works or it doesn’t. You don’t go live and then realize this is a mistake. It is too late. Some decisions in marketing need to be very carefully planned. Logo design is one of them. A big company with a big brand like Gap, can’t take the redesign of their brand lightly. It is somewhat apparent that they did. Or at least it looks like it, and now the entire brand suffers because of this perception.

Having said that, lets talk about the logo a bit. The new logo utilizes a sans-serif font as opposed to the traditional logo using a serif font. Also notice the point size is larger, the width of the font is much larger in the new logo and the kerning is much tighter in the new logo. So having said all that “technical” stuff, what does it mean? Well, naturally the new logo is going to look younger and less sophisticated. It is going to look more relaxed but also it is going to look more corporate because of the kerning. The letters are so close together that they are read as a whole, as opposed to each one separately. This is also reinforced by the fact that the font-color is a dominant 100% black as opposed to a 100% white. Now, why does that matter? Well, the moment that you enter a Gap store you’ll notice that there is almost nothing 100% black in the store. Everything in the branding of the store and the experience is about comfort, about freedom, about space, about wrinkles and about pastels – certainly not 100% black.

Two more observations: The square at the top of the new logo is an attempt to marry the old with the new, however it just doesn’t work. because the font type utilized creates round negative spaces.

Negative Spaces

Negative Spaces

If you notice, you can see that every single letter creates a rounded negative space. This gets intensified by the high contrast (black on white) and also the width of the font. So why would you break that roundness with a blue square? Well, I guess you could, however in this case it doesn’t work because it doesn’t create enough contrast or similarity.

I guess it is way easier to critique a logo than it is to create one, so for me to sit here and to talk about it is much easier than for the designer to do it.

This logo is ineffective for the Gap brand because of corporate decisions, not so much because of designer decisions.  The business (strategic) aspect of the logo is wrong and therefore not well appreciated by the fans.

Next time:

Next time Gap needs to do the following:

1. Make sure that if you are going to change your brand you are so sure that you push through no matter what. Hesitation is worse than a bad logo.

2. Take care of the process and the logo will be great. Hire a professional designer or group of designers and then let them do their jobs. Don’t have critique sessions with corporate leaders that know nothing about design.

3. Ask your fans first, then change it. Ultimately your fans are the ones who want that logo in their bags. Personally I like the old logo in the bag not the new one.

4. Don’t change something that is not broken. Change what’s broken.

5. Don’t ever change a serif font with a non-serif font in a logo that has been successfully marketed for more than 5 years (20 years in this case!)

6. Don’t mix rounded negative spaces with sharp edge unless they are clearly different in contrast, size and hue.

7. Look at the clothes of everybody walking out of the store and choose your colors based on the colors you see them buying – not the ones you want them to buy.

8. Market research is a must for a company with more than 100 employees (period).

9. Now that you have made the mistake, don’t try to hide it. Accept it and move on. People don’t want bs, simply move on. Don’t deny it, but give it the importance that it has now, it is in the trashcan; so  should your time devoted to it.

10. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AGAIN IN THE NEAR FUTURE! Let the waters settle down. Perhaps reconsider changing the logo in 5 – 7 years if neeeded.

That’s it.


Alex Centeno MBA. Director @ Merkados™

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