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The GAP loses its mind and its brand

I heard rumblings that iconic American clothing brand The GAP was going to launch some new branding in the near future which worried me. Their logo is so simple, clean and iconic I couldn’t imagine wanting to mess with it. It worked in 4 color, 2 color and 1 color perfectly. It was instantly recognizable at any size and was simply a classic, timeless brand mark. Starting this morning my fears were confirmed as my email box was flooded with messages from my friends who were screaming in silent, slack jawed horror at the results of the new rebranding.

Where do I start with this train wreck? The logotype is done in Helvetica which makes is about as unique as a trying to brand and own the word ‘the’. It’s a font that everyone uses and no one owns. Plus American Apparel, who is one of your big competitors, uses it – so you want to look more like them? They have been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for months I can see how it’s appealing.

That is only made worse by the attempt to pay homage to the old logo with the inclusion of the blue square that cuts behind the letter ‘p’ on the right hand side of the logo. It would be bad enough it is was just the blue square but the fact that it actually has a gradient fill drives me over the edge. It looks like a C+ first year art school project or as someone else aptly described it “looks like it cost $17 from an old Microsoft Word clipart gallery”.  My hope was that this was just a trial or a seasonal experiment but that seem to have been dashed as someone pointed that the file name for the logo that now appears on their web site is ‘newlogo.png’. You can also apparently follow the logo on Twitter which I can only pray is a fake or I will have to start sending it hate mail.

I know that things haven’t been going well for them over the past year or two but this move shows me this a company in complete free fall who is so panicked that they will try anything including throwing out their best assets. I think the only hero in all of this is the account guy at the brand design agency who was able to convince senior leadership at the GAP that this was a good idea that would change their business.  I want to meet that guy because if he could sell this horrific pile of crap he clearly has a lot to teach us.

1 Comment

  1. Madomat

    October 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I totally agree. Now try losing the two apostrophes in your post title and that will look better too! (Yes cheeky I know!)

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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