San Francisco, CA, United States (AHN) – Gap Inc. has resumed using its iconic logo only a week after launching a new design that customers panned as an “amateur PowerPoint presentation.” The retail giant also faced backlash for seeking designs from the public, an action commercial designers have long opposed.
“We’ve learned just how much energy there is around our brand. All roads were leading us back to the blue box, so we’ve made the decision not to use the new logo,” Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, said in a statement.
The San Francisco-based company announced a new logo on Oct. 4 that used a Helvetica typeface in plain black and a small blue gradient box at the upper right corner. The redesign was made ahead of a marketing campaign to coincide with the holidays.
Many customers, however, expressed extreme disappointment over the change, and inundated the company’s online pages with comments calling the new logo “cheap” and “uninspired.”
Armin Vit, co-founder of the graphic design enterprise UnderConsideration, blogged, “[Helvetica] has the unique ability to make anything look pedestrian and, in this particular case, it makes Old Navy…. look like a luxury brand by comparison. The shaded square on the corner doesn’t help at all either — I’m not one to critique something by saying it looks as if it were done in Microsoft Word but this one is just too unsophisticated.”
Gap, which owns Banana Republic and Old Navy, had used its classic logo for more than two decades since its founding in 1969.
“We chose this design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward,” Hansen explained in a post on Huffington Post.
The company began a crowd sourcing project in response to anger over its new logo, an action that only heightened public mockery and spawned new websites such as gapyourself.com and Twitter pages like twitter.com/gaplogo.
AIGA, the professional association for design, wrote Gap executives about its stance against crowd sourcing.
Association president Debbie Millman commented in an online discussion, “I firmly believe that crowd-sourcing and spec work is about designers giving their work away for free. But it is also about an abuse of power. The ‘client’ has it all. The designer has none. Unless, of course, we say no.”
Mule Design co-founder Mike Monteiro also said in an open letter in response to Gap’s call for suggestions, “Never in my experience has any of your employees offered me a free pair of pants because the ones I was wearing looked bad. I wouldn’t expect them to. Their job is to sell me clothes. My job is to sell design.”
Hansen conceded in her statement this week the company “did not go about this in the right way.”
“We’ve learned a lot in this process,” she added. “We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community. This wasn’t the right project at the right time for crowd sourcing. There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way.”