Clothing retailer The Gap just launched a new logo and it coincides with a peaking of interest for this type of thing in social media. This is hardly a coincidence. To me the really interesting questions are 1. What’s the outcome? and 2. Will it track with what they predicted?
As with all logo changes, especially super high-profile players, there’s bound to be controversy. GAP has used their social media infrastructure to capitalize on this phenomenon and their response is to crowd source suggested alternatives. (I’ll skip commenting on the whole question of whether it’s ethical for them to solicit free design advice from professionals.)
Here’s where it gets weird for me. The new logo is really a logo 101-design exercise—Helvetica type with a blue gradient square. It’s pretty generic, an obvious combination to try and has nothing to do with clothing, (or anything else for that matter). A lot of responses on Facebook equate it with a tech company. It’s like it was designed to be controversial.
I’m in the camp that believes their current logo looks like a label, it’s traditional, and therefore apropos, since the Gap makes traditional clothes—jeans, khakis, shirts sweaters etc. It’s just an opinion but I think the equity of this symbol sustains their sales.
So what are they up to? A pure social media PR stunt? They’re generating a lot of buzz for a brand that has had a low profile in the media for a while. But do they do that at the expense of long-term brand equity? (See Tropicana logo/sales debacle) I’ll be suspicious if in the end they decide to reinstate the old logo because the public reveres it so much (wink, wink, nod, nod).
It will be interesting to follow.