Monday, October 11, 2010

Why is there so much noise surrounding the Gap’s new logo?

Almost a week after the introduction of the Gap’s redesigned logo, people are STILL talking about it. While logos are important reflections of a company’s brand, the chatter seems so well orchestrated that I wonder if the Gap unveiled a new logo just to cause a stir in marketing and advertising circles.

But, since this is not the case, I wonder why the Gap created a new logo in the first place. According to Wikipedia, “a logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark).” Well-known examples include Coca-Cola’s red script, Google’s colorful letters, McDonald’s yellow arches in the shape of an “M,” and the script in Walt Disney’s name combined with the drawing of Mickey Mouse that together form the logo for The Walt Disney Company.

According to David Aaker, brand marketing expert, “An extended identity can help a brand break out of the box…consider the strategic role of the Wells Fargo stagecoach in the brand’s awareness level and associations of reliability and innovation.” The stagecoach image immediately tells a story for the Wells Fargo brand – and the story is an integral part of that brand. Aaker explained in his book, Brand Leadership, that there are several advantages to developing a rich brand identity:

  • a richer brand identity more accurately reflects the brand
  • the point of the brand identity is to provide guidance to decision-makers about what a brand stands for
  • a brand identity should capture the values and culture of a company
  • the extended identity helps the brand move beyond core attributes

So, here are my questions for the Gap’s new logo design team:

  • What is the new logo telling consumers?
  • How is the new logo’s story different from the old logo’s story?
  • How does the new logo fit with the company’s culture?

I think the Gap’s new logo resembles Facebook’s logo – note that it appeared soon after the release of the movie “The Social Network.” Maybe, the question we should be asking is, how else will Facebook redesign our lives? What do you think?

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