Recently, Gap, the American clothing brand worth approximately $4 billion, took a gamble and decided to redesign its well-known, classic logo and traded it in for a new, updated version. The big risk Gap took did not pay off, as a digital hate campaign was launched as soon as the new logo hit the web. Both the old and the updated logo are shown here. It might not have been only a bunch of angry customers reacting to the bad taste of the new logo; neuroscientists have suggested that it was our brain chemistry that rejected Gap’s new logo. According to the neuromarketing company NeuroFocus, who conducted a study on the chemistry behind the negative reaction to the new logo, after recording brain activity and using techniques implementing eye-tracking, it was found that the new logo did not register as stylish, while the classic logo scored high in the company’s “stylish” metric. A few of the “neurological best practices” that Gap broke while developing their new logo are delineated below:
1. Awkward overlapping: The letter “p” overlapping the blue cube distracts our brains from the actual word. We selectively process the logo and “ignore” the actual brand name.
2. Sharp edges: Our brains are hard-wired to avoid sharp edges, so we react negatively to the round curve of the letter “p” with the corners of the cube cutting into it.
3. Helvetica font: Gap used a very unremarkable font, not different enough from what we see on a day-to-day basis, so we don’t perceive the logo as unique or novel.
4. Contrast: The black color of the “p” is lost against the blue square in the new logo, so we give it less of our focus. In the old Gap logo, the white letters contrasted better against the dark blue backing.
5. Variation in letters: Having the last letters of the word “Gap” in lower case prompts our brain to look for semantic meaning in the word. When a series of letters is uniform, it is easier for our brains to process it as a logo, which is important for successful advertising.
6. Change isn’t always good: Finally, the new logo was just too different from the classic, established logo. Gap’s existing customers may have trouble attaching what they already know about the brand to the new, awkward logo.
Luckily, Gap has taken into account the highly negative response to the unveiling of its new logo. They have returned back to the old logo and have said that the new logo, which only lasted a week, was a big mistake.