Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gap goes too far with new logo

This is Part 1 of a 2-part blog about Gap and their recent logo redesign. Part 2 will refer to their execution of the logo refresh. This post discusses their new logo choice.

I am a strong believer in the power of branding and the importance of a branding "refresh". I think, though, that Gap may have missed the mark a bit.

I am mostly interested in your opinion! But first, here's mine:

The first step in a logo redesign, as a part of a branding refresh (logo design is but one of many elements of a branding initiative), is to consider the status of the logo and/or company. For most companies on the planet, a creative new logo with a fresh new look can set a company apart, draw new attention to the business, start conversations and cause refreshed interest in the brand.

There is a handful of companies, though, whose logo has reached iconic status. Nike. Apple. Pepsi. Microsoft.

It is my opinion that Gap is... or was... on this list.

Once you have this status with a logo concept, don't mess with it!

It is possible, and even advisable, to delicately modify or update a logo as part of a branding refresh. Apple removed the rainbow colours, but kept the shape intact. Pepsi overhauled their typeface, but maintained the red/blue sphere.

Gap went a bit too far. They maintained (although somewhat diminished) the blue square. But to me, the uniqueness of the typeface is what established their iconic status. They have abandoned that altogether. They even went with boring old Helvetica font!
Refreshing an iconic logo as part of a branding initiative - OK. Abandoning an iconic logo - not OK.

Imagine Nike abandoning the swoosh. Bad idea, right? Why, then, did Gap abandon the key elements of their iconic logo? To me, they went too far and have created a negative brand experience.

  • When was the last time your business went through a branding initiative - an exercise in establishing (or modifying) your reputation in your market? Chances are you're overdue!
  • Your logo is not your brand. Your brand is the series of thoughts, impressions and feelings that are associated with your company name and logo. Do you know what they are for your business?
  • Execution of a branding initiative is perhaps the most important part - more on that in Part 2!


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