The Gap’s New Look 5

I wasn’t going to post anything human-related this week, but then Gap turned around and did something … I think the words I’m looking for are “phenomenally stupid.”

This is their homepage today:

Noticing anything different? Anything a little blander? I’ll give you a hint: it’s that thing in the upper left hand corner, with the blue box. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Wait, that’s not the logo for an office supply company?”

No, this is how the Gap has decided to revamp their image.

I’ve detailed, at length, the issues I have with The Gap, like poor fit, even on models, material that looks cheap, uninspired womenswear, how everything always looks wrinkled and sloppy, or how you are under the impression that denim overall dresses are making a comeback. But apparently, I was wrong. I spent hours analyzing the clothes, not seeing the forest for the trees. Those aren’t the brand’s real problems.

The problem is the logo.


You know, the logo that they had through the 90s, when the Gap was immensely popular.

Yeah, that’ the one. If you show me a navy blue bag and blur out the white text, I could still tell you that it’s a shopping bag from the Gap, because the Gap is dark blue with thin white lettering. That’s what it is. The Gap is not Helvetica with a random box thrown in for color.

Gap. Listen to me. The new logo is just text. It has no weight, it has nothing distinctive about it. And yes, before you make the argument that lots of companies have text-only logos - 

- you are not competing with these brands. Chanel, Prada, Tiffany – their logos are distinctive because:

1) your computer doesn’t come preloaded with their fonts, and

2) they are high end brands, so you notice the logo because of what the brand is. You know the Dior font because it’s Dior.

You’re not competing against Hugo Boss 0r Versace.

You’re not even competing against J. Crew, who has a very plain text-based logo.

You’re competing against yourself. You’re not trying to edge out J. Crew, you’re trying to get into the same weight class. At this point, thinking that you’re up against J. Crew is like my thinking that I have to place first in the LA marathon. Yeah, it’s a nice goal, but maybe I should focus on being able to run more than half a mile.

Likewise, before you start trying to compete with anyone, you might want to find a way to design a dolman top that doesn’t make this model look like a linebacker.

Focusing on the logo is a really good attempt at drawing attention away from the real issue: your clothes – and your brand – suck. Not the logo. Your brand.

I am 25 and grew up wearing your clothes. But you lost me as a customer years ago, and I now have no interest in anything you sell. I went to The Gap last month to try on your “new” black pants, and you know what happened? Not only did none of the cuts look good, they all bunched and sagged in weird places. I’ve complained in the past about how it’s hard to find good cuts for my body, but this isn’t one of those times. This was a case where only adequate cuts and poor craftsmanship converged in a big ball of unflattering.

And those pants – plain black pants – were the only things I even tried on in your store. Meanwhile, I can’t go into J. Crew anymore, because I run the risk of buying everything they sell, regardless of how it looks on me.

But sure. It’s your logo. That’s the real problem.

So I want to help. As much as I criticize you, I want you to succeed. I don’t have a graphic design background, but I’ve spent all night working, and I think I’ve designed a logo that will really suit you guys well.

You’re welcome.

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5 thoughts on “The Gap’s New Look

  1. Reply Elise Joan Williams Oct 8, 2010 8:23 am

    I DO have a background in graphic design, and that new logo is so awful, I just … I don’t even…?!?!

    Who designed that? I would really like to know. What kind of hack did Gap hire for their graphic design department? What is their portfolio like? A bunch of crap they put together in MS Paint, perhaps? If this is the kind of “competition” I’m up against when I graduate, then I guess I can stop worrying so much.

    I apologize for the rant, I’m just very much against visual pollution. Bad design is one of my pet peeves.

    Fab job on the logo design, Amanda. I agree, it suits them perfectly.

  2. Reply Amy Oct 8, 2010 8:08 pm

    I’ve studied *very* basic graphic design for newspapers.
    And wow. Even I could do better.
    Even the stoner guy that failed my class could do better.

    That font hurts my eyes.

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