Fail Into the Gap

The new logo for the Gap was hardly unveiled before the design blogosphere was abuzz with criticisms of how bad the new logo is. It's only been out a day and people are already thinking this will go the way of the short-lived Tropicana redesign from two years back.

How bad is the logo? Pretty awful.

The old logo on the left may have felt a bit stodgy, but it had a presence and felt ownable. Given how much support branding and sub-brands Gap has, one could make the argument that it was one of the least important parts of their brand, just as the Nike swoosh is largely peripheral to their visual identity.
The primary mandate that should have been given in the brand brief is “Don't screw it up”, or in the words of the Hippocratic oath to aspiring physicians, “first do no harm.”
Well, harm has been done, it's just a matter of to what degree. The new logo looks undifferentiated from any number of word marks currently polluting the visual landscape. Even worse, it looks lower market than some of the subordinate Gap brands, such as Old Navy.
It will be interesting to see the public reaction to the new logo. Designers are a notoriously vociferous lot, particularly in the face of bad design work that also happens to be high profile. Will this be one of those instances where the buying public shares their dismay and the company is forced to react?