Just when you thought you had heard the last of Gap, we bring you… more Gap! Except that this is a little more uplifting than last week’s meltdown. If we take it from the top, boiling it down to product lines, there is Gap. Then there is Gap Women. In there is GapBody. Now, recently launched, is the GapBody Fit collection, a new range of women’s premium athletic clothing. Battling for consideration against larger branding and design firms the small, San Francisco-based Manual won the job. (You might remember them from the Slice identity.)
Despite the fact that Gap doesn’t tend to brand their garments with logos, it was important that a product in the activewear segment be branded with a distinct mark (.ie. competing with the likes of Nike Women and Lululemon). […] We presented a number of abstract symbols that communicated everything from agility and speed to balance and strength, but in the first presentation we all quickly agreed upon the winning solution — an abstract geometric ‘G’ that helped communicate the notions of flexibility and femininity.
At first I was trying to find more letters in the icon, as if the “G” segued into the “B” or “F” and maybe there was an “i” in there somewhere. It took me a few minutes to be convinced that it was only a “G” and even after that I wasn’t too sure it was the most apt solution. But there is something catchy about it, it almost looks like a woman, sitting on the floor, legs bended at the knee, head down, and arms stretched out. Ready for a workout. I like that more than it being just a “G”. When seen on the clothes it does serve as good branding, literally, it’s a simple, strong icon that matches up very well against their stated adversaries, Nike and Lululemon.
The typography is still Helvetica, but at least it’s Helvetica Neue, a nicer cut in the same way that one of the Olsen twins is nicer than the other. I prod because I love. This identity actually proves that, in the right hands, any typeface can be made to look good, and Manual has squeezed every ounce of sophistication possible from Helvetica. Even more apparent in the labels and applications below.
As well as being responsible for product naming architecture, copywriting, and technical icon design, we designed a simple, tactile packaging solution that was rolled out globally. By employing blind embossing, and silver foil stamping, we aimed to create a minimal packaging system that was as modern as it was feminine.
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