Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Gap between marketing and customers

The Gap is a huge clothing retailer founded back in 1969. Recently they decided to patch up their two decades old logo by changing the type face for the name to Helvetica and moving the simple blue square (which was the overall background) to a just small one in the upper right corner, Some customers and designers were shocked. There were angry stories in newspapers and in Adweek. Was the logo what needed to be changed to improve their performance?

I think they should have left their logo alone. The name is a brief word which describes an opening (or hole, or space). It would be hard to improve that logo without making it more complicated, as I have done above to illustrate the concept.

There even was a web site where you can instantly turn your logo into generic crap with a little blue square, like they did. Their fumbled attempt at change gave an impression that they had more money than sense.

There is another reason why playing with the GAP name is hard. The same year the company was founded the London Underground started a Mind the Gap safety campaign to make people aware of the space between subway trains and platforms at stations. Then that phrase spread to other subway systems, like the above sign in Toronto.

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