The people (er, ‘lots of people’) have spoken. And they are miffed. The social-media universe (expanding, yet sometimes surprisingly small) was all atwitter with comments about the new logo accepted (momentarily) by The Gap after it opened up the opportunity to anyone who wanted to participate in a design contest. The entries ran into the many hundreds as individuals and small firms sought to score a designing coup by having their logo picked.
As things turned out, The Gap released the new logo and immediately became the target of a barrage of complaints both against the unnecessary efforts to redesign a respected logo and against the qualities of the chosen new logo. What does the brouhaha have to say about design and social-media marketing?
The clarion call for a new logo was made via Kristen Holden and 99Designs.com, where people were to post their designs with the chance of being the chosen winner of $500. Over forty-six hundred entries made the first cut/deadline and can be reviewed via the 99Designs website. A few designs offer adjusted or extended color palettes, but most stick with the navy blue and white of the original. The uses of various typefaces and empty space prove to be a fine primer to study the ways they effect our responses to logos. Many use a starkly modern (angular, generally sans-serif, thin) font, whereas others stress the foundation of the company in 1969 with a classic, slightly preppy (elegantly serifed) logo.
The one picked somehow manages to do neither. Its generic quality has been attacked on theof The Gap. The outcry there eventually convinced The Gap to return the ‘old’ logo within just a few days. One of the better design critiques is quoted in full here:
Julie Curtis: Seriously. How does a thick, squatty font say “modern, contemporary, elegant, stylish, chic, and simple”? That is what Gap is, to me. Simple, but beautiful and elegant clothes. I’m sorry, but the bold, short font really doesn’t evoke that sort of feeling. And the sad attempt at referencing the blue box logo is pointless when it directly conflicts with the readability of the word. The gradient in the box is an attempt to help the legibility of the P, since black and blue do NOT provide sufficient contrast for the eye. The old logo is one of the best clothing logos in use. It’s classic and obeys the laws of good design. Strong contrast, no tension in the composition and design, and instant recognition. No need to fix something that isn’t broken.
If still not convinced of the logo’s generic quality and mushy presentation, head over toto make your own version with your dog’s name, your baby’s first words, or whatever.
We do not want simply to sans serif font replaces a tall, white, serif one, and a graphic is tossed in as a seeming afterthought, whereas the original was the graphic.and the designer who might have won his/her $500 (not noted at 99Designs or at the Facebook page). Indeed, even The Gap has ‘admitted’ to a specific mistake (more on this tomorrow). But the overwhelming theme of the complaints is that the original was clear, legible, recognizable, and welcomed (though many also granted that an updating tweak might be of value), whereas the new one was anything but. Indeed, it broke from almost every element of the original: empty undefined space replaces a clear blue field, a squat, black,
If 500 people were asked to pick a favorite from the 4600-plus entries, I daresay we would get 490 answers. But apparently no one is willing to defend the one that was picked. What were the causes of that particular ‘epic fail’? We’ll wrestle with that question tomorrow…