In a brand logo fail of epic proportions, American e-commerce giant Amazon tweaked its logo after netizens compared it to the moustache of Adolf Hitler’s. This is the second time this year an online business got into trouble for evoking unintended images in their customers’ minds. Earlier this year in January, Indian e-commerce platform Myntra had to redesign its logo after an NGO-worker from Mumbai lodged a complaint alleging that the logo was sexually offensive to women.
In all fairness, Amazon has never been the talk of the town for its aesthetics and beautiful designs. From its website’s homepage to its final packaging of products it delivers, the company’s design language can be at best called “plain”. That’s not to say it isn’t functional, but its basic aesthetics never caught the attention of visual designers and masses who appreciate designs. But when in January, the company revamped its logo and released it, it felt like the company was finally creating a new visual and design identity. But soon, netizens spotted a rather unfortunate (and presumably, unintended) design flaw.
At the first glance, there was a lot to like about the new icon. The new icon featured the classic Amazon smile on a brown background ( a reference to its brown coloured boxes), and a hint of the company’s blue taping. The new logo came across as a confident, and yet minimalistic design. And with its brown background, the company made sure that the icon would pop-out on the screen of smartphones. In the crowded space of white-on-white material design logos (yes, we are talking about Google and its suite), Amazon made sure that the logo would draw a user’s attention.
While initially, the netizens lauded the new change Amazon came with, there were a few people who spotted a rather unfortunate design issue- one which once seen, can’t ever be unseen. If one looks at the blue tape, placed above the Amazon smile, it does end up looking like a moustache. A moustache of a familiar man, moustache of arguably the worst dictators to walk the planet.
Twitteratis soon started tweeting about the design flaw and tried to catch Amazon’s attention.
My parents use Amazon nearly every day. They’re going to be lost for the next few days. When they ask where Amazon’s gone, I’ll tell them to look for the cardboard Hitler… https://t.co/u1YcJUBNSN
— Sam Hutchings (@Smutchings) January 26, 2021
God dammit. I really liked this icon design, but now I’m cursed with this interpretation. https://t.co/8g7TTcQQ5I
— Tim Isenman (@TimIsenman) January 26, 2021
I see Hitler smirking https://t.co/rQvLVWYkCZ
— Criven (@xxcrivvvssjcb) January 26, 2021
Congrats on the blue Hitler mustache. https://t.co/6fkT84J2Q1
— Eric Bailey (@ericwbailey) January 26, 2021
Amazon soon found itself doing damage control and introduced a new logo amid the controversy. The new logo did away with the jagged edges of the tape in favour of a straighter (not as hairy) tape. The blue tape is also peeled back from the corner as if it’s saying, “Folks, this is not a moustache. It’s definitely a tape. Please believe us!”
An Amazon spokesperson spoke with the American tech website The Verge and said how Amazon is always on the lookout to delight its customers. “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 doorstep,” the spokesperson stated.
However, as if comparing a company’s logo to pop culture icons is a new pastime of netizens, the new logo is now being compared to a new character. Thankfully, the new character is not as problematic as a dictator. The new amazon app icon is compared with Aang, a character from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
is it just me or does the new amazon app logo kind of look like aang… pic.twitter.com/CRlcjbjQ3K
— spicystroom🌶 (@kstroom_) March 2, 2021
Does the new Amazon app logo look like Aang or am I crazy pic.twitter.com/CcCJ1Yw0KF
— 💙 Leebobawitz 💙 (@leebobawitz) February 26, 2021
i keep thinking the new amazon app logo is aang from avatar 😭 pic.twitter.com/YkIdcvNruh
— 𝑁𝑜𝑘𝑒𝑠🃏 (@ixNOKES) March 2, 2021
As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time a company found itself in a hairy situation (some pun intended). Earlier last month, Fashion e-commerce brand Myntra had to change its logo when a woman lodged a complaint alleging Myntra’s logo was offensive to women thanks to its sexual undertones.
Vacation rental online marketplace Airbnb also came under fire in 2014 when it unveiled its new logo. Not only did netizens called the logo out for its not-so-subtle sexual undertone, but also accused the company of plagiarism.
Not to talk crap about Airbnb's new logo… but it had to be done. pic.twitter.com/1EZHZCTVth
— Jonathan Shariat (@DesignUXUI) July 16, 2014
Airbnb's new logo is probably my favorite testicle based logo for sure.
— Tad Carpenter (@TadCarpenter) July 16, 2014
The woman on the right is on the phone with her lawyer. pic.twitter.com/JnN1wvhcCa
— Mike Monteiro🌹 (@monteiro) July 16, 2014