UPDATE, 10.12.2010: The Gap has decided to kill the new logo and keep the old. Details here.
Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, took some time out of her busy, brand-ruining schedule to explain why her company decided to change its logo on Monday. Or at least that’s what she said she was going to do in a message written for The Huffington Post. Instead, she was mostly very coy and told us what we already suspected: The Gap is an old brand, and because of that she thought it needed a facelift. After spending a few grafs trying to justify the idea that she is, actually, a suitable candidate for being president of a major American brand and understands its history, Hansen starts trying to explain her company’s actions:
The natural step for us on this journey is to see how our logo — one that we’ve had for more than 20 years — should evolve. Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that.
We want our customers to take notice of Gap and see what it stands for today.
We chose this design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.
Yeah, sure it does. If you’re taking the Gap forward into developing spreadsheet software. Not so much for clothes.
The thing about brand identities is that the really good ones shouldn’t have to change. When was the last time Hermes changed its logo? Or H&M? Or Vogue magazine, for that matter? Any 100-level communications student can tell you that you don’t mess with a successful and immediately recognizable brand identity. Why Hansen, who’s held no less than six senior executive titles at Gap Inc. since 1995, can’t figure that out, we have no idea.
Perhaps the worst part of all of this, though, is that she won’t confirm or deny whether there’s any kind of crowd-sourcing competition to redesign the logo. After a post on the company’s Facebook page suggested that was the case yesterday, a Gap spokeswoman told Advertising Age that the logo was not a joke.
Louise Callagy, a Gap spokeswoman, told Ad Age that the brand is changing and the company wanted a new logo to reflect that. “For the last two years we’ve been working on evolving the brand identity for Gap,” she said. “[The new logo] is more contemporary and current and honors the heritage of the Gap brand with the blue box but takes it forward.”
Well, they certainly have their talking points in order. But now that they know how everyone feels about the new logo, maybe they’ll think a little more carefully before they decide to update their signage.