A gap in the thinking?

As Gap ditched its condensed serif and preppy blue square for something more default modern, design blogs lit up with comment yesterday. But in a strange social media-infused reaction to the various ‘reinterpretations’ of the logo that surfaced, Gap has implied there’s some crowd sourcing coming your way, based on those very designs

As Gap ditched its condensed serif and preppy blue square for something more default modern, design blogs lit up with comment yesterday. But in a strange social media-infused reaction to the various ‘reinterpretations’ of the logo that surfaced, Gap has implied there’s some crowd sourcing coming your way, based on those very designs…

Having unveiled the new identity with no fanfare whatsover, Gap’s ‘wall’ on Facebook seems to be the only place where the company has actually acknowledged its new Helvetian look. This, despite still proudly displaying its old logo as its profile image.

The reaction in the design community (see Armin’s write up on Brand New, and Mat Dolphin’s reasoned take on their blog) has largely been one of bewilderment; and this has also crossed over into more mainstream sites, like Facebook.

In gauging the reaction of those irked enough to comment on Gap’s Facebook page, it appears that while hundreds of Gap-fans are clearly venting some spleen, the brand itself just seems to be muddying the waters.

“We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding!” chirps the Gap’s wall statement, which sits rather ungainly above a very long list of comments ranging from “terrible” and “tragedy” to “LOL” and the occasional, pertinent “dislike”.

Nevertheless, any user-generated visual ‘tributes’ to the new (or indeed old) Gap logo are, the company believes, all part of the plan. Here’s the post from Gap’s Facebook page:

Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.

Of course, this being the interweb, there will be plenty of willing contributors to any potential crowd sourcing campaign. But by optimistically claiming that “we’re asking you to share your designs” – it’s as if they’re not only suggesting a response of “I could do better than that” was to be expected, but that it should be (in the way of social media) actively encouraged.

Laird + Partners in New York are apparently behind the new logo (we’ve contacted them for a comment about the design and are yet to hear back) but whether it’s all part of a larger participatory campaign is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime, the blogosphere rages on; design fans debate an identity campaign based on a tiny jpeg; ‘friends’ of Gap denounce the work hysterically on Facebook, and the brand itself resorts to the reckon-you-can-do-better? kind of line.

The end result seems to be a decidedly confused message. Which is surely the opposite of a great identity.

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