After and Before: the Gap logo

After and Before: the Gap logo

Who would have thought that a new logo, for a company that seemed to be waning, would cause such a furore? But people went to the mat over the redesign of the Gap logo, itself one of multiple variants on previous logos. They also went to the mat over the airing of the topic on this month’s DnA. I was amazed at the number of comments on the station’s FB page from people angry either at GAP or at us for even discussing the topic (but lots of nice response to Mick Hodgson’s comments about KCRW’s logo here)! The takeaway from all of this, however, was that logos matter.
Old logo for World Aids Campaign
Old logo, above; and new logo, below, for World Aids Campaign, designed by Mick Hodgson and Ph.D, A Design Office
New Logo for World Aids Campaign, designed by Mick Hodgson and PhD, A Design Office

How much they matter, when they work and when to change them was the topic of DnA’s show — beyond the Gap fiasco – and it was vividly brought to life by two different but equally  smart thinkers about logos, branding and “visual personalities”: Brand consultant Sasha Strauss, and Michael Hodgson, author, most recently, of Recycling & Redesigning Logos: A Designers Guide to Refreshing and Rethinking Design.

Not only does the book talk about logo redesign projects by other designers but Hodgson is a skilled designer in his own right, with logo and “visual personality” redesigns for the World AIDS Campaign (see above), Inner City Arts and many other projects to his credit. Mick will be signing copies of his book at Arcana Books on October 30.

Yves Behar's SAYL Chair on show at Herman Miller
Also on the show was the industrial designer Yves Béhar, of San Francisco-based Fuseproject, who has now realized many a product designer’s dream: creating a chair for Herman Miller. A three-year R & D process with the revered company, known for its products and chairs designed by the Eames, George Nelson, Noguchi, Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf and many more, resulted in the SAYL chair, shown above (photo by Nicholas Mercure).

This relatively light and affordable office chair is made with a mesh-like, urethane plastic back — supported by a Y-shaped spine — that is stretched and molded to be strong enough to support the back while doing away with the usual supporting structural frame around the chair back.

Last week I got to see Yves and try out the chair at Herman Miller’s LA showroom, a natty venue in a warehouse district just East of Culver City. One of the cute treats at the party — that played into the theme of materials lighter than air — were sorbets made with nitrogen, shown below (photos: Nicholas Mercure).

The nitrogen mix was an added attraction Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. . . photo by Nicholas Mercure

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