NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Just four days after confirming its surprise new logo was, in fact, legit, Gap is returning to its old design, Ad Age has learned. The announcement is expected to be made at 4:30 Pacific Time today on the brand's Facebook page.
Marka Hansen, Gap North America president, informed the company's marketing department this afternoon of the change, acknowledging that the switch was a mistake and that the company would be tabling any changes for the foreseeable future.
The logo, created by New York agency Laird & Partners, was intended to be a long-term commitment for the brand with a nod to the future. Ms. Hansen's about-face about the Gap's new logo was foreshadowed by a blog post she wrote for the Huffington Post last Thursday. "We chose this design as it's more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward," she said. "Now, given the passionate outpouring from customers that followed, we've decided to engage in the dialogue, take their feedback on board and work together as we move ahead and evolve to the next phase of Gap."
Calls to Laird & Partners were not immediately returned.
Gap representative Louise Callagy also told Ad Age that the logo debacle does not mean that it has ended its relationship with Laird & Partners. "We are still engaged," she said.
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The scrapping of the design -- which re-created the retailer's name in a bold Helvetica font with a blue gradiated box perched atop the P -- comes after Gap was put through the ringer last week for its new look. The company became the whipping boy of designers, who besides merely disliking the new logo were enraged at the suggestion that design professionals should help fix the mistake by offering up ideas for free.
Gap had posted a message on its Facebook account last week indicating that it would be pursuing a "crowdsourcing project" in the near term. But people familiar with the Gap's plans said that would not be related to the logo.
Many consumers on Facebook and blogs picked apart the new logo too, though according to a poll of 1,000 consumers Ad Age commissioned from Ipsos Observer, some 80% said they had no idea the logo had changed.
Gap's official Facebook account has more than 720,000 fans and has been the main channel through which the company has posted updates and responses to the criticism regarding the new logo. Its @gap Twitter page also has more than 35,000 followers, but has thus far remained silent on a number of fake Twitter accounts -- @gaplogo, @oldgaplogo and @newgaplogo, among them -- that have gained traction in the days following the announcement, with humorous nods to Peter Arnell, the designer and adman responsible for the Tropicana-packaging fiasco.
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UPDATE: Statement from Marka Hansen, president of Gap Brand, North America:
"Since we rolled out an updated version of our logo last week on our Website, we've seen an outpouring of comments from customers and the online community in support of the iconic blue box logo.
"Last week, we moved quickly to address the feedback and began exploring how we could tap into all of the passion. Ultimately, 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 on gap.com any further.
"At Gap brand, our customers have always come first. We've been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we've made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.
"In the meantime, the website will go back to our iconic blue box logo and, for Holiday, we'll turn our blue box red for our seasonal campaign.
"We've learned a lot in this process. And we are clear that we did not go about this in the right way. 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."