Iconic American clothing retailer GAP has been hammered with criticism online from loyal consumers for changing its logo. GAP retreated and announced today it would return its logo to the original blue box and white writing design it has used for two decades.

Last week, GAP changed the branding on its website, inserting a new logo featuring a small blue box edging off the black, lower case text (picture below). The GAP Facebook page has since been buffeted with over 2000 critical comments.

Late last week, the brand offered to use crowdsourcing to develop the new logo, asking consumers to submit their own designs.

Today, GAP recalled the new logo concept completely.

Weve been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard [consumers] say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back, said the GAP president Marka Hansen in a statement. So weve made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.

Grant Davidson, of Davidson Branding has his doubts about the legitimacy of the blunder.

“I’m still wondering if it’s an incredibly clever PR stunt like iSnack 2.0 or whether it’s a monumental blunder like New Coke,” he told Marketingmag.com.au.

“If it’s a PR stunt, it’s helped thousands of customers realise that they are loyal customers and crave action, so it’s helped them tighten their link and defend their loyalty to the brand.

“They acted quickly, listened to the customers and made them feel empowered and deepen the engagement with brand.”

“Assuming on the other side, that it’s a monumental mistake, what they failed to do is recognise their visual DNA and what parts are sacrosanct.”

“I’m all for if you stand still you get left behind, and they have to keep up with times. But they failed to recognise those aspects of the design you just can’t change.”

“What GAP should have realised is the blue square is one of those things you just can’t change. And I believe white is a critical part too, and a key part of the freshness. I reckon that the three white shapes and the blue square is the essence of the logo, so they could change that type face to anything and it wouldn’t undermine the DNA of the logo. And that’s what the major brands have done, they’ve kept that core essence and changed minor parts.