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Gap: The Saga Continues….
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Who would have guessed that three letters and a little blue square could generate so much buzz. First a reminder of what all the fuss is about…

A The new (right) & old (left) GAP logos.

What’s been happening

There have been several new developments in the GAP logo saga so I though it was worth an update. First of all, GAP announced yesterday via facebook that they’re looking for spec work believe it or not.

“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.”

GAP, via Facebook

Yes, I know, the nerve. Maybe they can’t afford to hire a designer?

Also yesterday, GAP told us that Laird & Partners are the ones responsible for this new logo. Some are speculating that this all may be a clever publicity stunt to get the brand in the limelight. Who knows this may be true, but that’s not my bet.

Then this morning President of Gap North America, Marka Hansen made the following statement.

“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…”

“…We’ve posted a message on the Gap Facebook Page that says we plan to ask people to share their designs with us as well. We welcome the participation we’ve seen so far.”

Marka Hansen, President of Gap North America

Are they keeping their new logo, or aren’t they?

So what can we gather from this? They’re happy with, and standing by their new logo, yet they want us to work for free and offer them alternatives?

Is this some sort of a joke? Do they have any respect for designers?

I wonder what reaction I’d get in a GAP store if I went in with my brand new jeans from H&M and politely said “I’m really happy with my new H&M jeans, they’re a perfect fit, but can I take 10 pairs of yours, free of charge, to possibly wear, at a later date, if the mood takes me.” Hmm.. I’ll have to try it to know for sure, but my instinct tells me their reaction would be “…get f**ked no chance”. So unsurprisingly GAP, in answer to your request for spec work… get f**ked no chance.

Rant over

I know this sounds a little harsh, even aggressive, but c’mon, should we really de-value our profession by indulging GAP’s request? I really don’t think we should.


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15 Comments | Post a Comment
John Williams
October 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm

A little strong Matthew lol. But I agree on some points, Spec work is not good for our industry, it’s especially disappointing to see a brand such as Gap engaging in it.

October 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

It is a bit strong John you’re right :) apologies. It’s just the issue of spec work, it winds me up.

Joanna Philips
October 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I don’t see what the big deal about spec work is…

I’ve entered those competitions and it’s been good practice

October 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

It can be good practice, but if it’s your full time job and you have years of experience with a decent portfolio, then it’s a little annoying to have to work for free, when a lot of the vision and requirements for the design work comes from working with the client.

Not on your own, guessing what they want. I’m talking more from a web design perspective though, and there’s a whole load of info that needs to be discussed before a design should even be started.

October 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The reason people are against it Joanna is because it de-values our skills as designers. Because graphic designers are skilled service providers, the practice of working for free drastically reduces the value of those services. In what other industry would you expect a professional to work for free; with only the faint promise of possible payment down the road?

Also, spec work usually results in the needs of the client not being met, due to a lack of understanding (on both sides; client and designer) of professional design process, research etc.

Not to say that all designers who participate in spec work are unskilled or unprofessional… there may be many talented spec designers, but they’re undervaluing their skill by taking part.

Take a look at NO-SPEC for more info about the pros and cons.

steve s
October 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Don’t be stupid it’s not that bad… just don’t take part if you think it’s wrong

October 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

actually, it IS that bad, and the existence of work on spec is nothing more than a total lack of respect of the design field. The attitudes of those who don’t care are constantly devaluing what we have chosen as a career. Sorry, I can’t shop around for a surgeon for free until I find the one who will do the best job at healing me, I can’t eat at several different restaurants for free until I find a place that satisfies, I can’t… etc etc… Why are designers expected to just deal with the fact that so many “clients” would have us work for free, and why are so many designers willing to bend over and take it?

October 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

You make a good point Shannon, as far as I’m aware there aren’t any other industries where professionals would be expected to work for free.

I’ve experienced this myself – clients expect me to work for free, with a vague promise of more paid work down the road.

One thing I’m not sure of however is why this is the case. Is it because people think designers enjoy their work, and therefore should do it for free? Or is it because they don’t value design as a service that should cost money? Or for some other reason entirely….. I really don’t know.

Any ideas?

October 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Hi Matthew.

Regarding the Gap logo; there’s one piece of advice I can give from a fellow design blogger to another: I wouldn’t include the image of the new Gap logo on your blog.

Many bloggers, like myself, will include a logo if were writing good or neutral things about it, but if it’s a post which is negative about the logo, it could potentially land you in trouble with the trademark owners.

For example, if you notice David Aireys post about the new Gap Logo, or Graham Smith from ImJustCreative, they never included the actual graphic.

My rule would be:

Good logo – include the graphic
Bad logo – don’t include or make a mockup or parody (like you have done already).

Anyway, great blog :)

October 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for the advice Andrew, I’ll bear that in mind for the future.

Glad you like the blog :)

October 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

It is starting to look like a publicity campaign to me, but it would be a risky one… “We don’t get our brand, can someone please explain to us who we are?”

October 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I agree Nick, it is indeed very risking if all this is just a stunt.

I saw this quote on twitter yesterday that seems particularly appropriate to Gap…

“If the biggest change in your rebranding is your logo, you’re doin’ it wrong.”

October 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm

See if I could get a group of talented designers to work free for me I would ;) . Plus any press is good press!! I haven’t thought about GAP for ages…..

October 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Yeah you’re right Barry, it certainly is a great marketing ploy, whether the potential damage to the brand is worth it though, I’m not sure…

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