Posted by: Owner/President on Oct 18, 2010
I must admit that I may be late to the party regarding the Gap logo redesign. I did not know they were considering redesigning their logo and only found out about it after their new logo was released. Since the release there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the new logo. Some think it is great and a large group of people think it is horrible. I wanted to take the opportunity to give my two cents on this matter since I am a graphic designer and am often urging clients to revamp a dated logo and definitely dated web sites.
To redesign or not to redesign, that is the question?
Redesigning a logo is not a bad idea. Some big names have done this and done it well. Apple, Inc. is a great example. Their first logo back in 1976 is a far cry from anything that could have been iconic today. It is historical looking, which is something you wouldn't want to associate with computing. It has so many lines and detail, it would have been impossible to embroider or replicate on a large scale of products. It's almost unrecognizable looking at it from a distance. This is not what you want for a logo. In that same year, Apple redesigned their logo and that proved to be much closer to something that could graphically appeal to their large target audience. It is something that over time you would begin to associate their products and services with that icon. You would not have to see the words "Apple, Inc." next to it to understand that it is representing the company. This is the key. You want someone to be able to see your logo icon from far away and know who it represents. Just like the McDonald's arches, don't we all know when we see them sticking over the tops of trees that beneath that symbol, there are hamburgers for sale? Yes, we do. That means it is a successful logo!
The most recent Apple, Inc. logo redesign was a complete success. It sticks to my favorite rules of logo redesign that I will take a minute to point out here.
It didn't reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Apple's first redesign did not violate this rule because they weren't established enough to worry about violating it. Had they been selling iPads with the line art logo, it would not have been a good idea to completely start over with their logo. People with iPads purchased one day prior to the new logo being rolled out might have been upset thinking they had an older/inferior product. A complete overhaul of a business logo makes people think you are doing something completely new with your business, which may or may not be the truth.
It keeps enough of the old to still recognize the brand. While sometimes the older logo needing a redesign is so far from where you want the new logo to be, it is not wise to completely throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. You still need people to recognize who you are especially if you are an established company.
Keep at least one element of your original logo in your new logo design. This can be the font used or the icon itself used in a different way. The Apple logo redesign is a good example of following this rule and the Gap logo followed this rule but I think they went too far with it. They kept the blue square but changed the font, also. I personally feel that this change is too much for the first step away from something so established. I think they should have either changed the font for the "Gap" words or they should have added some gradient work to the color of the logo itself without changing much else. This certainly would have been cheaper and wouldn't necessarily have involved changing all the company letterhead, website, clothing tags, etc.
These are a few of my thoughts on why I think there was a success regarding the Apple logo redesign and why I think the Gap logo redesign failed. I certainly think they could have done the job differently. Currently, there is a mass contest going out to all designers to do contribute their idea of a new logo for the gap. We may or may not be participating. We will only tell if we win or are acknowledged in some way. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the media in the future. We will keep you posted.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Do you like the new logo? If so, why?