Last week, Verizon unveiled a logo “refresh” by Michael Beirut of Pentagram. The online consensus was ambivalent – Verizon’s refresh wasn’t a disaster, nor would it do much to turn the ship around for a reviled brand. The mixed feedback is odd if you consider that this logo looks an awful lot like the 2010 Gap logo redesign – the P.R. equivalent of an ocean liner colliding with an iceberg.
The similarities are numerous. Both logos are set in Helvetica or a close variation of it (the Verizon wordmark is set in Helvetica’s very close predecessor, Neue Haas Grotesk). Both relegate their iconographic elements (check mark and square) to sad-afterthought corner placements. Both of those icons are nearly primitive in their basic simplicity, and both use a primary color (red and blue, respectively). One of the only differences is that Gap is set in Title Case while Verizon opts for quiet, unassuming lowercase.
The Gap redesign was met with such unanimous derision that the brand reverted to the previous logo. So why hasn’t the Verizon logo met the same fate?
First of all, the Verizon logo is a “refresh” while the Gap logo was an overhaul – Verizon’s move is less shockingly new. Furthermore, Gap found out the hard way that its customers had brand loyalty and affection for their previous logo. In Verizon’s case, the brand is loathed and therefore consumers are less likely to take offense at any change (they’re too busy taking offense at bad customer service). While the Gap’s new logo felt like an utter disaster that didn’t fit a beloved brand, the Verizon redesign feels more like rearranging (or “refreshing”) the deck chairs on the Titanic.