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  • Arun Gopidas

Amazon changes their app icon again!

Amazon as a company has undergone a lot of design changes over the years. Their first logo looked nothing like the one we have today.

The name Amazon was a nod to the Amazon river, and their logo in 1995 was a depiction of the world's largest river to symbolise "Earth's biggest bookstore". A strong visual and an easy association, comparable to what Apple did with it's logo, a visual representation of the word itself.

Over the years, the design changed twice before we got to what we have today.

While they played a pivotal role to get to what we have today (in terms of the font & color choices), overall the design changes felt weak & unmotivated: there was nothing special or unique about these logos.

It was only in 2000 that the iconic smile was introduced in the logo, subtly cueing that Amazon had everything from A-Z in their store. Designed by Turner Duckworth, I doubt if any other brand has such a simple yet interesting logo for their brand. Happy, simple & clever: a mix that's extremely hard to put together.

After this major change, the primary identity didn't change much since 2000. Though there were tweaks made on their app icons.

But these changes never got much attention or criticism until the recent change that took place at the beginning of this year.

As expected from the design team over at Amazon, it was a simple & extremely clever design. It felt perfect, they had ticked off all the boxes while keeping it visually clear. The app icon bore a delightful resemblance to the brown packaging boxes customers would receive while retaining the Amazon smile and tape as well! Talk about reinforcement of a recognisable visual, and it was absolutely on point.

Until the internet felt that this looked like Hitler's moustache. Now that's an extremely bad association to have as a brand. What felt like a clever design quickly became a magnet for backlash. Such resemblances make me sad, it would have been perfect had Hitler not existed. However, that's not the world we live in.

Amazon was quick to respond & fix it. While still retaining the essence of the last icon, a simple change in the tape helped them stay clear off the Hitler connection. While it does look slightly off, it's impressive how Amazon was able to diffuse the backlash so quickly while coming across as a brand that respects criticism that makes sense. What's more, that's the second time the Amazon logo makes a buzz this year and it's just been 2 months!

What do you think about this change? What's your take on this?



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