Some saw Hitler’s mustache in Amazon’s new logo. Then Amazon made it more square.
And Amazon was accused of unintentionally invoking Hitler.
Last month, the e-commerce giant released an update to its flagship shopping app, complete with a brand new logo. It dropped its longtime shopping cart image, which had been in place for more than five years, in favor of Amazon’s smiling-face-arrow on a package with a ridged piece of blue tape. Positioned on top of the smile line, it looked a bit like the mustache of German dictator Adolf Hitler, users on Twitter pointed out.
This week, Amazon updated its app logo again this week and quietly folded the tape on top of the image.
Amazon spokesperson Craig Andrews did not directly address the Hitler comparison claims. “We designed the new icon to spark anticipation, excitement, and joy when customers start their shopping journey on their phone, just as they do when they see our boxes on their door step,” he said in a statement.
(Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Social media has made it easier for armchair experts to critique and weigh in on corporate brand images. In some ways, this public feedback can actually help aid the design process, said Jason Forrest, creative director at website and graphic design firm Digital Ink.
“I think rightfully so, the Internet is more sensitive to these things,” Forrest said.
It’s not necessarily that backlash to all corporate rebrands is good, Forrest said, but outcry does mean one thing: people are emotionally invested in the brand.
When Facebook unveiled new branding that put its company name in all capital letters, even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a dig at its competitor. Google’s updated map icon made some bemoan the change last year, calling for a return to the traditional street-intersection look.
These logos are literally a part of our everyday lives, said Jesse Reed, partner at design office Order. That’s more true now than ever as many people are attached to their phones and rely on them for work, socializing and distraction during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
So when they change, it makes sense that we freak out a little bit at first.
“Your thumbs are attached to your Instagram button, or your fingers are attached to clicking and ordering things on Amazon,” Reed said. “It’s so intertwined that we now have emotional attachments to brands and when they change, its like changing a part of your life.”
But change is inevitable in many cases, he pointed out. Brands might be trying to tell a stronger story, as in Airbnb’s case, or may have just realized that some components of their old designs are outdated or stale.
And, in many cases, we get used to the new small images below our fingers and the Internet quiets down briefly to ready itself to move onto the next spark of viral controversy.
Amazon’s refresher of its refreshed logo still isn’t totally free from comparison — many Twitter users were quick to note that it looks a little like Aang from the TV show “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”