Gap Rebrands Itself Into Oblivion

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Did you hear that Gap has redesigned its logo? Probably not, as it’s been pretty quiet about it. In fact, the only recent news out of Gap of late has been its donate-your-old-jeans drive and its annual kids’ casting call.

But go to its homepage and there it is — or more accurately, isn’t, as its classic blue-boxed logo is missing, replaced with a Helvetica Gap with a box perched behind the ‘p’ like a window.

Yes, after dominating the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gap has dropped its iconic logo in favor of something that looks like it cost $17 from an old Microsoft Word clipart gallery.[more]

By now everyone knows the story of how Gap’s over-expansion, soft consumer spending and changing styles conspired to drag the clothing retailer down from its once-lofty position.

But the brand itself, along with its siblings Old Navy and Banana Republic, is still strong with Gap Inc. putting up $14.2 billion in revenue last year and Q2 sales increases in 2010 (though Gap itself registered a loss).

But ditching the classic logo, recognized by everyone, in favor of whatever that new monstrosity is, demonstrates a prototypical brand panic move. With things not going in its favor, the brand decides to change the one valuable element it has going for it.

Ironically maybe, the new logo is perfect for the brand. It communicates exactly the values currently embodied by Gap: A sense of being lost and a lack of clear vision and creativity. (Update: Gap responded on its Facebook page, turning this into a crowdsourcing exercise. Seriously. Oct. 12 Update to that update: Gap has pulled the new logo.)

While Gap has been using the Helvetica font on its signage and windows for some time, going whole hog on the font by remaking its logo is a bit surprising. We’d have to assume that Gap’s creative team would have seen Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica documentary, about how overly ubiquitous the font has become in recent years:

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