Earlier this week, Gap quietly rolled out a new logo — set in the generic typeface Helvetica — that design critics and branding experts have denounced as "lazy" and "dumb." The company responded on Facebook, saying "we're thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding" and announcing that fans would soon have the opportunity to share their own design ideas. Just what is all the fuss about, and what will it mean for a retailer that's struggled to remain relevant in recent years?
The old logo was a classic — the new one looks cheap: Like Gap's preppy basics, "the old logo didn’t call attention to itself and it was elegant without being pretentious," says Armin at Brand New. Over the years, Gap "established a cool, breezy, and sophisticated brand visual language." Now, the new logo, and its font — the ubiquitous Helvetica, which "I hate" — make "Old Navy, Gap’s low-end retail sister, look like a luxury brand by comparison."
"Don’t Mind the Gap, or the Square"
It's unprofessional and bad for business: This is a "prototypical brand-panic move" says Abe Sauer at Brand Channel. The company over-expanded and consumer spending is soft, but that doesn't mean it should reinvent itself with a "monstrosity" of a logo that "looks like it cost $17 from an old Microsoft Word clip-art gallery." The "classic" old logo was the "the one valuable element" Gap had going for it.
"Gap Rebrands Itself Into Oblivion"
No, this is what the company needed: While "I'm not sure what this new logo is all about" and if I even like it, at least the struggling retailer is trying something new, says Sarah Duxbury in the San Francisco Business Times. This "is an obvious way to revitalize a brand," and "I'm glad the company is trying something."
"Gap tries on new logo"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- One girl's extraordinarily wild world
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
Subscribe to the Week