Lessons to Learn from Gap’s Rebranding Disaster

Creating logos can form a large part of some graphic design careers. If that logo is for an entire company, then you have a huge responsibility on your shoulders. Here are three important things Gap’s recent failure at rebranding their own logo should teach you not to do:

1. Don’t underestimate the public’s awareness of design

As Jim Edwards said in BNET, “The 21st Century has really stripped the mystery from design and advertising. Most consumers have better software on their laptops today than professional designers had on their desktops 20 years ago.” How did Gap get it wrong? Most people with computers could probably create that graduated blue box in just a few minutes. Your logo needs to be something more complex than what kids could do themselves.

2. When rebranding, make sure it effects the entire brand and not just the logo

You can make the logo as modern and flashy as you want. If the product remains the same as always, your consumers won’t care much that it comes in different packaging. Similarly, don’t rebrand just because you think it’s time or that the image needs to be refreshed. From inside the company, you can’t see outside opinions clearly. Don’t mess with something that’s working well.

3. Ironically, a redesign can show you just how much customer loyalty you have

AOL created a new logo and most people didn’t even notice. It’s likely no one gave the Gap logo much thought yesterday, but today it’s fresh in people’s minds. And the harsh protests against the new logo stem in part from people who still appreciate the tradition of Gap’s original design.


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One Comment

  1. Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I think Logo and Brand Development can be an extremely precarious time for a business. The gap logo redevelopment showed that redevelopment of a corporate logo can be down right nefarious. When I was redeveloping my logo for my photography business my stress levels were at an all time high. I was luck enough to find a great graphic design team, DPM Creative Group, and the logo turned out great. I certainly can sympathize with the marketing department at GAP however.

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