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Firefox’s bold new branding is a glimpse into Mozilla’s grand plan

It’s the result of a years-long process that involved the public’s feedback on two potential design directions.

Firefox’s bold new branding is a glimpse into Mozilla’s grand plan
[Image: courtesy Mozilla]

The logo of the popular browser Firefox is instantly recognizable: a little red fox encircling a blue orb. But for Mozilla, the internet freedom nonprofit that builds and runs the browser, Firefox is evolving to become a lot more than just a browser. That meant Firefox needed a new logo and a new branding system that could encompass all the services that Mozilla is starting to offer, including a password manager, file-sharing service, and a hack notification system.

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[Image: courtesy Mozilla]
Today, Mozilla is announcing a colorful new logo for Firefox and its suite of services, which represents the result of a process that began in 2018, when the nonprofit asked users for feedback on two potential brand identities. The fox logo you’re familiar with is getting an update, with a more abstract fox figure wrapped around a blue and purple orb. But the fox doesn’t stand alone: The branding system also includes logos for Firefox Lockwise, Firefox Send, and Firefox Monitor, all of which elevate simple line drawings that recall what each service does using bright, colorful gradients of orange, yellow, pink, blue, and purple. The logos evoke the candy-colored gradient of the Instagram logo and all its subsidiary apps, like Boomerang, Hyperlapse, and Layout.

[Image: courtesy Mozilla]
The conventional process of rebranding a company rarely involves user feedback—which often means that those companies suffer inevitable backlash from consumers. But Mozilla aimed to prevent this by revealing two complete branding systems for Firefox in 2018 and then soliciting opinions from members of its community (the nonprofit did the same thing back in 2016 for its own logo). Some people noted immediately that one of the systems looked suspiciously like the fox logo for the software development tool Gitlab.

[Image: courtesy Mozilla]
Luckily, Mozilla chose to move forward with the other system, choosing to develop the identity that is more swooshy (and less foxy). Now, the larger Firefox brand will be represented with a circular swoosh that is reminiscent of the browser icon, but was designed to represent Firefox in a more holistic way. The final logo—and the rest of the brand system—was a collaboration between Mozilla’s internal design team and external firms, including Johnson Banks and Ramotion (the original Firefox logo designer Jon Hicks also weighed in).

The logos bring Firefox’s identity more in line with today’s most popular branding trends, particularly with its heavy use of gradients and friendly, almost cartoonish imagery. But practically speaking, the new branding could help Mozilla position Firefox as more than just the browser everyone is already familiar with—and help users get familiar with Firefox’s entire system of services. Doing so required a logo that establishes Firefox not just as a single app, but as an ecosystem that helps users manage their privacy online.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and sign up for her newsletter here: https://tinyletter.com/schwabability

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