Everyone is complaining about the Gap replacing its old logo . The newest logo is awful, sure. It looks like the emblem of some failed low-fare spinoff of a major airline. But that thing it replaced, the white letters on the blue square? That's not the old Gap logo.
This is the old Gap logo. (Thanks to Jordan Ellenberg for the reminder.)
Why are people nostalgic for the dull, totalitarian, khakis-will-conquer-the-world Gap emblem of the '90s? It's like being nostalgic for
C+C Music Factory
The new Helvetica look is boring and fake. It comes from the company's "1969 Jeans" branding, which—have another look at the picture of the original store: the Gap didn't even make jeans in 1969. It advertised itself as a Levi's retailer.
But the new logo is the spiritual heir of the earlier blue square. In 1969, the Gap wanted to look like it was in step with the times. Since then, its new logos have aimed to look timeless—that is, like they're in step with nothing at all.