Gap’s logo redesign in October was an infamous flop, replete with scathing reviews from the media and customers alike. I haven’t followed the drama closely, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the fiasco has spawned some memes* around failures of branding, collecting feedback before launch, etc.
One commentator called the move “brand panic”, a reasonable explanation for such a seemingly ill-conceived effort to boost flagging sales. Who knows, maybe the masterminds at Gap HQ were well aware of the backlash that would ensue and staged the logo redesign with the idea that “any press is good press”. There was certainly a lot of buzz about the new logo and Gap’s hasty back-peddling. Has anyone seen updated sales numbers?
More recently, Starbucks announced its own logo redesign. The decision seems to have been more strategic. Watch this brief video of Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, explaining the redesign and giving some history of the logo. This is not the first time that Starbucks has successfully redesigned its logo; in fact, they seem like old pros. The negative buzz about the new logo seems to be mostly about Starbucks’ perceived hubris – thinking (all signs point to ‘rightfully so’) that the green siren image and the Starbucks brand are well-known enough to do without words. Hey, it worked for Nike.
What’s clear is that customers care about logos. A lot. A company might be hesitant to reveal its plans for a logo redesign because it wants to make a big impact when it launches. However, that mentality is what leads people to submit resumes and other applications without anyone proofreading them. Who would you rather find the mistakes – your friends (survey respondents, focus groups, media contacts) or the hiring manager (your customers)? Don’t pull a Gap.*