It appears Gap is rolling out a new logo and critics aren't being too kind about the shift.
The new logo has replaced the retailer's iconic blue box, which had "Gap" emblazoned across it in capital letters, on the brand's home page. Now, a gradiated blue box is perched at the top right side of the "p" in Gap. The original logo can still be found on the retailer's Facebook and Twitter page, however.
The logo is pervasive in American culture, appearing on some 1,200 stores in North America. Gap also operates nearly 300 stores in Europe and Asia. Gap is the 84th most-valuable brand in the world, according to Interbrand's 2010 study. The group values the brand at nearly $4 billion.
Of course a brand is more than a logo, but as far as logos go, Gap's is an icon. Across the internet detractors have been picking apart the new look, with the most common sentiment being that it looks like something a child created using a clip-art gallery. A Twitter account @gaplogo has even popped up within the last 24 hours and is rapidly attracting new followers. It appears to be a parody account, given the irreverence. Posts detail, for example, how the "marketing team is huddled in a corner eating Ben & Jerry's and drinking scotch" and the "creative director just quit."
There are also references to another infamous rebrand: Tropicana. "Peter Arnell just called. He didn't say anything -- all we heard was laughing on the other end of the line," reads one tweet. "I'm not going the way of Tropicana's logo. Nowayjose," reads another.
Gap has remained mum. No official press release explained the shift, and calls for comment were not returned. It's not clear whether an agency worked with Gap to create the logo. The retailer has worked with Laird & Partners, as well as MDC's Crispin Porter & Bogusky in the past on creative campaigns.
Sales at the retailer have been tepid in recent months. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 4% during the second quarter.
UPDATE: Gap chimed in late last night, after giving the blogosphere plenty of time to get fired up about the new logo. But its response has added even more fuel to the fire.
A Facebook post reads, "Thanks for everyone's input on the new logo! We've had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we're changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we're thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we're asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we'd like to... see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project."
Posters decry the crowdsourcing proposal as a "disgusting PR ploy", "a stunt" and "amateur." Others expressed amazement that the company now appears to be looking for free designs, after seemingly bungling its first attempt, and urged designers not to participate.
Initially, it was unclear whether the retailer is back pedaling or this was all part of some master plan is still not clear, but the retailer finally spoke out about the redesign. Louise Callagy, a Gap spokeswoman, told Ad Age that the brand is changing and the company wanted a new logo to reflect that. "For the last two years we've been working on evolving the brand identity for Gap," she said. "[The new logo] is more contemporary and current and honors the heritage of the Gap brand with the blue box but takes it forward."
Read more about the Gap's intentions behind the redesign on Adage.com.
This story originally appeared on Adage.com.