In case you missed it, a few weeks ago the Gap quietly released a new logo. The response to it was anything but quiet, it created quite an uproar on the internet, bloggers and social media outlets were swift in their attacks. After less then a week full of missteps, the Gap returned to their original logo with their proverbial tail between their legs. So, how did this mega-brand go so terribly wrong with their effort to re-brand?\n\nThe logo\nA company’s brand should be a strategic and aesthetic extension of the logo, not the other way around. Gap’s refreshed logo looked an awful like the branding that was launched for their premium jeans line. Which to be honest looks a little bit too much like the American Apparel branding. This was done by their advertising agency, Laird + Partners, who does big name fashion ad campaigns. Should you allow your ad agency to do your identity work? Should you replace your iconic logo with a typeface from your recent ad campaign? Probably not. Advertising lasts for a few seasons and then it is onto the next concept, the same does not apply to a company’s logo. A logo’s purpose is to anchor a brand so that it is can be given the latitude to try different concepts from season to season. It should never be updated to match the current advertising.\n\nThe launch\nWho launches a logo by simply replacing it on their website? Where was the Gap’s PR department? More importantly, where was the launch plan? In hindsight, their lack of launch speaks volumes of their energy and excitement for their new logo. With even minimal press, it could have helped the Gap tremendously to explain the new brand, instead the complete silence opened it up to speculation which had a snowball effect as people blogged and tweeted, and the comments piled up on their Facebook page.\n\nThe response\nThe Gap’s response to the outcry was unexpected to say the very least. Instead of standing solidly behind their new logo (for even a day), they basically shrugged their shoulders, rolled over and invited the masses to crowdsource their logo. They managed to offend the entire design community while also becoming the butt of their own joke, as the response was met with joyful mockery and satirical “logos.” All logos are subjective, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but at the end of the day, it’s the Gap’s responsibility to take ownership of their work and say we did this, we own it and it’s here to stay–not acquiesce a the first hint of disapproval.\n\nLessons learned\nSo after all is said and done, the lessons learned are that you should choose a company that specializes in branding not in fashion advertising. Advertising and branding are two very different beasts with very different thoughts and strategies behind them. They should be handled accordingly, not conveniently. The re-brand should be strategically planned and well executed, it should not be an exercise in trendy typography. When it comes to launching a new brand, announce it, let people know and manage their expectations. Don’t quietly slip it into your website hoping to go unnoticed. Post launch (and announcement) stand by your decision and your brand, don’t be bullied by blogs and Facebook comments. The time and energy that it took to come to the point of launch should be well spent and well thought out, not a flash in the pan that was voted out as a failure.\n\nThe silver lining in all of this, is that the Gap has restored it’s old logo to the place where it belongs. Long live the blue box.