For Twitter's 5th Birthday, New Grown-Up Logos

You've grown to 140 million tweets per day and impacted global politics. It's time you moved beyond the cartoon birdie. Here's three takes on a new Twitter logo.

Happy fifth birthday, Twitter! While five years seems like a blink of an eye, in the world of social media, you're a mature adult now. And you're ranked as one of the ten most visited websites worldwide by web traffic analyst Alexa. Your meteoric rise can be measured by comparing the measly 400,000 tweets per quarter in 2007 to today's average of over 140 million tweets per day—nothing to chirp at.

So it's way past the time for you to grow up as a brand. In other words, how about presenting a more appropriate image that reflects your current status? The following are just a few suggestions of how we think you should toast your fifth year as a media heavy.

This streamlined execution of the current bird icon speaks to the simplicity and user-friendliness inherent in the brand's DNA. The short, straight "chirp" lines signify a quick and direct way to communicate within the 140-character limit that the brand personifies. In addition, the simplicity of this icon allows it to be universally accepted around the globe, thus helping with international expansion and adaptation.

This incremental evolution of the wordmark preserves the brand equity of the logo but adds a new dimension of an animated "E," which is then transformed into the chirping icon. An added benefit is that it can act as a mnemonic device, becoming the hallmark of quick and easy communication—the equivalent of the Nike Swoosh for social media. When paired with a name or another logo, it can serve as an indicator of accessibility/Tweetability.

The amalgamation of the wings from the current bird (stylized to look more lifelike) and Twitter's famous thought bubble crystallizes the notion that Twitter is about communication, connection, and dialogue. This logo dispels the notion that Twitter is just about saying the first thing that pops into your head, and serves as a great mnemonic device for how Twitter takes your thoughts and shares them with your followers. The modified wordmark melds the "w" and "i" and connects the two "t"s for a streamlined mark that furthers the idea of touching and connecting.

Rick Barrack is the Chief Creative Officer/Partner at CBX and one of its founding partners. As lead creative he is responsible for inspiring, directing and motivating the creative teams to develop powerful design solutions. Barrack has close to 20 years of experience in corporate identity and consumer brand identity design. He has led major design initiatives for companies such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, Petro-Canada, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, and Del Monte Foods. Prior to creating CBX, Barrack was a Senior Design Director at FutureBrand and Design Director at LPK. [www.cbxblog.com]

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58 Comments

  • theKlassen

    In the past I have held Fast Company in high esteem in regards to quality design. This article, however, had me questioning that view. My initial browsing of the images in the article caused me to scroll back to the top and read to see if this was some kind of joke (which admittedly would be amusing). I don't want to disregard the value of experimentation, and testing the boundaries of established thoughts of design, however for the level of quality and craftsmanship I have come to expect from this company, I was sorely disappointed in this case. In all fairness, the current twitter logo is very iconic, and coming up with a stronger identity would be an extremely difficult task.

  • Peter Webcreator

    Only two comments:
    1; these are very terrible logos!
    2; why must some people find a fifth wheel on car? - fifth birthday?!?

  • andrew thomas

    It may be right to criticise the logo, but surely not the act of reexamining its relevance. Comments such as "it's iconic" "they already have a logo" etc. seem to miss the point of brand management. No company should be so arrogant to not constantly reexamine their brand, their values and their identity. Things do change. Twitter has changed. Their audiences have changed. It may well be that after examining their brand they feel it should remain unchanged, though personally ive never liked the naivety of their logo.

  • jackie saik

    I think the line "Yeah right, just kidding" got cut off when copy pasted this article from your word doc.

  • David Hudd

    If this were an exercise in how to design out any sense of fun or wit and turn a logo into a bland corporate experience, then these suggestions would get an A+!

  • Kate Anderson

    Are you trying to have twitter sign the same death sentence GAP
    momentarily signed? Refresh yourself on the golden design basics, "Don't
    reinvent the wheel"

  • Kate Anderson

    Are you trying to have twitter sign the same death sentence GAP momentarily signed? Refresh yourself on the golden design basics, "Don't reinvent the wheel"

  • ncsfoo

    Is it April 1st? These are terrible and why on earth are they displayed on a monitor like that? Looks like the work of a student in their first design class, seriously!

  • tom okeefe

    Rick--If Twitter sent out an RFP to CBX would you really consider showing these concepts? It looks like you had your interns work on these. It doesn't matter how you break down each concept and word it to make it look better than they are they still all suck. 

    -Tom

  • Tim

    At first, I looked to the date to see if this was posted in April and was indeed an April fools joke as these are perhaps some of the worse logo designs I have ever seen for a corporate company.

    As a designer this cements the fact that are indeed many people in our industry who surely should not hold the positions they do regardless of 'experience' or years in the business.

    A fail of EPIC proportions. Shocking designs!!

  • craftyb

    These are interesting as conceptual sketches, maybe there'd be less aversion to them if they were more informal-looking (pencil sketched prototypes) vs rendered. Rather than tell you you're a jerk for trying, some feedback instead.

    To me I find the squawk before the r is disconcerting, (it separates the letters too much, and the e is too abstracted) As far as the second I dislike the contrast in the pointiness of the second logo with the rounded typeface. I'm still kind of old-school in that I prefer a logo that can hold it's own in B&W, so the lighter "poofs" are more a distraction to me. 

    I would agree with many of the posters below that I appreciate the appeal of the original quirky illustrations (I actually like the fail whale and accompanying birds) and I'd hate to see the logo become too grown up/corporatized.  

  • Doug Main

    I love the line 'This logo dispels the notion that Twitter is just about saying the first thing that pops into your head' - It looks like these were the first 3 logo ideas that popped into yours... Predictable concepts, badly executed - the third one does look a bit like 'Dumbo' the elephant though, so well done for that!

  • TheMediaBunker@Comcast.net

    While I don’t believe that redesigning Twitter’s logo is at all necessary,
    and possibly unwise (“don’t mess with success”), I have to say that the
    responses to Mr. Barrack’s thought experiment hav been not only over the top,
    but, well, down right snarky.

    Truthfully, I find all of these designs to have some merit; sleek, simple, easily
    identifiable, etc..; the third being my favorite.

    While the comment section under a post is there for honest feedback, it is
    also helpful that if you are going to express displeasure, that you work harder
    at being constructive, and a bit less at trying to impress the haters who spend
    their days filling comment sections with useless, sarcastic, even out and out
    rude comments.

    NOTE: My rule of thumb is, if you would feel like an arse saying it to the
    writer face to face, you probably shouldn’t leave it their comment
    section.

    ‘Just my two cents on the subject. Thanks.