Should non-designers design Gap’s new logo?
A new article from Jennifer Van Grove on Mashable states, “Gap unveiled yesterday a new logo Vice President of Corporate Communications Bill Chandler describes as, “a more contemporary, modern expression.” Unfortunately, fans, designers and webizens everywhere seem to hate it, so much so that the company appears to be changing course.
…The update also explains that official details on Gap’s crowd-sourcing logo project will be revealed in the next few days — a clear sign that Gap is trying to act fast amid a sea of negative backlash that includes user-generated logo contests, a parody Twitter account and a Crap Logo Yourself website.”
Personally, I think that this story is funny, but it is also an indication of what I have been saying for about two years now:
- Companies are going to become more and more accountable to their customers.
- The democratization of media demands that communication is now a two-way street.
- Viral can work against you as well as for you.
- The death of advertising-as-we-have-known-it is on the horizon.
But what of the idea that users can generate a great logo? Should companies invite them to do so? And what does this mean for designers?
I saw the slow degradation of the art of design in school when I taught in New York City: students seemed more concerned with learning software than with learning how to be good designers. Where did they get the idea that design expertise was somewhere in their computers, waiting to be released?
Today, educating the client on good design is part of the job of the graphic designer. Logos have to work in more diverse media than ever before. But the basic principles of good logo design are still viable, even on the web today. Questions that both designers and their clients should answer when evaluating potential logo designs:
- Does the design work in black and white as well as color?
- Can the design work without a gradient?
- If the design has to use color, is that color right for the company image?
- Can the logo work in small as well as large sizes?
- Does the design express the brand?
- Does the image communicate the idea that the company wants to convey?
- Can the image of the logo carry the brand without an explanation (slogan)?
The more questions that can be answered with a “yes,” the better the logo. A user-generated logo might look good to a few users, and even to the eyes of an uneducated client, but a good designer should be able to design a logo that suits the brand. Otherwise, why hire him?
Copyright 2010 Aliyah Marr