The Gap logo fiasco turned 7 last year and it seems like it was a turning point in how the public responds when a brand is redesigned. What changed? Do we expect more out of logos now? Or are we expecting too much?
Since that moment in time, there was a turning of the tide in how the public responds to new logos. Before this, a company would rebrand and put out some sort of nice PR piece fluff piece explain the reasons and rationale behind a new logo. After a while, you could have polled the public and they would have almost forgotten the old brand entirely.
But these days, what’s with the hate with new brands?
I’ve grappled with this for some time, especially as I’ve gone through some local redesigns of my own. There’s always backlash to it from somebody who thinks they know better than then we as the designers.
The Gap logo that was one of those situations where people began to realize that the power of social media and it helped fuel the backlash towards it.
I’m not saying that the Gap logo was the best logo in the world. There’s some things I would have done differently. I guess it’s kind ironic that I’m even saying this on a show about why people hate on logos. But what I realized was the the amount of anger towards it was at the point where it was surreal to me. I recall sitting in my agency that I was working at the time with the design team of designers that I worked with, and we were in disbelief at at some of the things we were reading.
Olive Garden got the same kind of backlash. What I started to realize, was how people weren’t critiquing these redesigns from the perspective of what the demographic was. They were was critiquing as if the logo supposed to be for them.
I think this was the source of the hate. It’s so easy to trash on a redesign if you can’t see it from the perspective of the demographic it was designed for. Sometimes, you may not have been the demographic at all.
Or maybe rebranding has become such an art that it doesn’t matter anymore?
More recently, Starbucks made a refresh to their logo. There wasn’t much buzz at all about it, but I assume most people didn’t notice the change.
On the flip side, Formula 1 made a bold departure from their old logo. came out with a new logo and the Juventus soccer club also came out with new logo.
In both cases, they were a radical departure from what it used to be. I can understand some of the anger behind that, because many of these fans had had tied themselves to those identities.
Of course its different than Olive Garden (people don’t wear employee uniforms out of support), but people did tie some of their identity to these looks in these logos.
While people tie their identity to Starbucks (because everyone needs their coffee), the refresh wasn’t a radical departure from the old look.
Moving forward, it will be fun to see how people continue to respond to rebrands. Will they calm down and be more accepting? Or will it only get worse from here?