Gap’s Epic Logo Disaster

Last weekend, the Internet was abuzz about a very (somewhat) interesting piece of retail and business news – Gap had changed its logo.

All of a sudden, the clothing giant’s website brandished the slogan “It’s a Whole New Side of Gap,” with a sad-looking logo that may have been made in Microsoft Paint. In theory, the design was simple and new. To most people, it just looked like a fifth-grader decided he was going to change one of the most classic American logos around.

The next thing Gap knew, everyone had something to say. There was a parody Gap Logo Twitter account with over 5,000 followers and the Facebook page had over 2,000 comments. MakeYourOwnGapLogo.com instantly became a success with friends and followers changing their avatars. It seemed clear that not many were fans of the change.

The reactions happened so fast and with such fury that Gap had to respond immediately. As a result, they got rid of their new logo within days of making it public. So much for that idea, huh?

But why did everyone hate it so much? Wasn’t this all a lot of brouhaha for nothing? Here’s what I think:

Gap was losing their classic touch.
The Gap logo was always known for being classic. It had worked for over 20 years, and Gap just went and changed it. The Gap’s brand has always been associated with with classic looks, styles and colors. Why create something that doesn’t reflect that? Bottom line: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Frankly, it was ugly.
I can understand a brand wanting to update or change their image. After all, even if a brand is known as classic, they still need to move forward. But the Helvetica font and the blue box in the corner just looked awful. I’m all for simple design, but anyone with a basic knowledge of Photoshop could have done that. Do something new, interesting and exciting.

Design makes a big deal.
In one article by the Harvard Business Review Blog, Umair Haque writes that the main issue with the logo is that Gap didn’t understand the type of power design can have on a brand. I couldn’t agree more. Design shouldn’t just be a tactic or afterthought for companies – it should be something carefully thought out to be consistent with the brand.

It’s sad how everything turned out, though. Gap did a lot of hard work after their sweat-shop scandal to show that they were a caring company. The partnered with Project Red and have been consistently voted as one of the Best Corporate Citizens. This helped them a lot in the market, but the logo change has had a lot of people baffled.

In the end, Gap is the perfect example of both design gone wrong and the power of social media. All it took was one weekend of bad mouthing from the Internet for Gap to change back to their old logo. Some think the entire debacle was just a stunt, but personally, I don’t really care if it was or not. Really, it just made Gap look stupid. Whether or not the logo was a stunt, many people were turned off by the entire thing.

How did you feel about the Gap logo change?

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Ashlynn Arias

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