Last month, Twitter’s bird mascot underwent a makeover. The restyled logo will now become the universally recognisable symbol of Twitter, and replaces the former bubbled logotype and the lower-case ‘t’ icon. Twitter’s creative director Doug Bowman explained, in a lot more than 140 characters, that the bird will be used to represent Twitter in all instances. He added that “the bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles – similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends… and that the new bird grows out of a love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry.” The long-winded and bombastic rationale (read: bullshit) actually distracts from a sound strategic move.
The concept behind the bird relates to one definition of the word twitter as “chirps from birds”. It’s official nickname is Larry the bird – named after NBA legend Larry Bird, who no doubt was a diminutive, fluffy blue basketball player with a big mouth. In one flutter of wings, Twitter loses its sense of whimsy, cuteness and fun. A tight crew cut has replaced the floppy Mohican to convey a more sophisticated and mature brand, which reflects its evolution and also anticipates further commercial opportunities. Formally, the streamlined bird is more focussed, decisive and actually reduces remarkably well. The deeper shade of blue increases legibility and amplifies the more corporate tone.
A tight crew cut has replaced the floppy Mohican to convey a more sophisticated and mature brand
However, the real story here is that Twitter has dropped its name from the logo. The change is actually quite brave and a very significant evolution of the Twitter brand. Twitter, which was only founded six years ago, has decided to do something that took Apple, Nike, Starbucks and David Beckham decades to do: to be recognizable without a name, just an icon. The common belief is that such designs perform better in an ever increasing globalised world.
So, with the dumping of the ubiquitous ‘t’ logo, it’ll be really interesting to see how long it takes those 10 billion websites to update their little Twitter-link icons. #Oooops.