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Gap’s new logo is “meh.”

After 20 years, Gap probably figured it was time to replace it’s well-known blue box logo. So last week on Monday they placed their new logo on their web site with little fanfare.

But apparently they didn’t test it since it seems that no one likes the new logo. And I agree. The logo is butt-ugly, and surprisingly boring for a fashion retailer. The nicest thing I have heard said about it is “meh.”

Online sites from Forbes to Mashable, bloggers, and consumers have been talking and tweeting and complaining about it since last Monday. Satirical sites have even popped up where you can make your own Gap logo by deleting the san serif type and replacing with whatever word you type (with already over 7000 entries).

So what has Gap done about the uproar?

Unofficially they tweeted this: @GapLogo – “Change scares some people. So do clowns. I have no idea.” Which would have been a good official response if they believed in the ability of the new logo to grow on people. And since a new logo is normally not something people will boycott a business over, this whole brouhaha probably would have died down eventually.

But instead, they have postponed using the new logo on their stores and clothing and are challenging their customers to do better, hoping to  crowdsource their logo by posting this on their 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.”

Now crowd sourcing may seem like a very social, very democratic way to approach a problem. Let everyone offer suggestions, have their say, and you get to take your pick of all those free ideas. (And yes, I can hear all of your CFOs’ brains rattling as they vigorously nod their wide eyed heads at that thought.) But before you decide to crowdsource your logo, let me point out why this idea is always a bad idea:

1. It’s amateur hour. You may get a lot of entries, but the quality of the work will be much lower. Especially if there is lots of competition or no payment/prize for winning. Ask yourself this: how much effort would you put into an entry?

2. There is no strategy, no research, no interviews with staff and members, no input by the board and executive team. How can you reflect the authenticity of the brand? How can it be truly effective without some thought behind it?

3. Would you work for free? Professional logo designers design logos for a living. They are not going to enter a competition. They take their work seriously and they should get paid for their hard work, just like you should get paid for your hard work.

So what will Gap achieve by crowdsourcing their new logo? Not sure, but since their stock has been steadily dropping all summer and they lost another half a point since the new logo rollout, I’d suggest they may want to rethink both their logo and their strategy.

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UPDATE: A week later, Gap had already ditched their new logo due to all the customer complaints. Publicity stunt or serious marketing screw up?

One Response to Gap’s new logo is “meh.”

  1. Why should Gap change its logo in the first place? I’d like to hear someone articulate the business case. Gap certainly didn’t.

    This is the “New Coke” lesson all over again. If you don’t know what problem you’re trying to solve, hiring a skilled team of experts or crowdsourcing isn’t going to make a cola or a logo better than the current version.

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