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Looks like they Fell Into the Gap: The Result of Weak Rebranding

by | Oct 7, 2010 | Articles, Branding | 2 comments

Something came to my attention yesterday that I just couldn’t keep quiet about. Gap unleashed their new logo yesterday, and the media has been buzzing around this decision since. They have had the same logo for about 20 years now, and everyone seems to know the blue square and serif font. The new logo is created using a plain lack sans serif font and is has a blue square in the upper right corner, with a subtle gradient. Normally, I am all for a rebrand, and I like to see a company take a step in a different direction, but I am not sure where Gap is going with this one.

Another thing that bothers me about this rebrand, is how they are handling it. After looking for some sort of rationale on their website, and other web pages, I found this remark on their Facebook page and was shocked and appalled.

Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.”


This almost sounds like they can’t think of anything better, so they want to see what everyone else can come up with. In turn, everyone is going to jump on the spec work bandwagon and come up with their own version for free, hoping that Gap will say, wow, we like ours, but yours is so much better! It is one thing to unveil a new logo and say “This is our new, more updated logo” it sounds like here they are saying ” We couldn’t think of anything that great. We want to take the company in a different direction, but we aren’t sure how, and we are too cheap to hire a firm or a branding agency to help us do it.” When rebranding, you have to show your new image with confidence. If you come out with the new look in a weak manner, the image is going to appear to be weak, and it will be hard for Gap to get the ball rolling in the direction that they want to take the company.

Yet another thing that bothers me about this whole situation is that Gap is supposed to be a great designer clothing company. They are supposed to know art and design, and they are supposed to keep up with the new trends, as well as set new ones. Their logo, as well as all of their marketing materials, need to be a cohesive unit, just like an outfit. Everything has to go together, and it has to be fit for the occasion. I am not sure that the new logo is flexible enough for where they are wanting to go. Why would such a large, powerful clothing company resort to crowd sourcing? Do they use crowd sourcing for their clothing designs as well? It is almost like one art field insulting another.

If it is a marketing ploy, it is certainly a weak one. I don’t think it is a marketing ploy at all. There aren’t that many designers out there. Marketing to just us would be a very narrow way of marketing their new identity. It just sounds like they don’t like it either.

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