|Introducing the bird formerly known as Twitter|
|Friday, 08 June 2012 01:19|
In a posting on their website (directed, unsurprisingly, by a tweet) Twitter has announced a rebrand that rids their corporate identity of any textual representation. The announcement positions the microblogging platform with organisations like MacDonalds, Apple and Shell, with the statement explaining that "there is no longer a need for text", and the use of the word twitter and the lower case "t" as a means of representing the organisation has been banned from their brand guidelines.
The rebrand also sees a redesign of the now famous blue bird logo, "Larry the Bird", as he was affectionally known. The new bird, now titled simply the "Twitter bird" is made up of three sets of connecting circles, which, say Twitter, represent the way "networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends"
Coinciding in a week when Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources forecasting revenues reaching £1bn by 2014, the rebrand has come with a set of brand guidelines that contain many more 'don'ts' that 'dos'. Although Twitter now sees users post 400million tweets a day, the company has only been going for six years. By comparison, Shell, an organisation also represented solely by an icon, took 99 years to drop its text and even Nike, known by its 'Swoosh' carried an eponymous title in its visual identity for thirty years. The move of visualising the company with nothing more than an icon has takes the site away from it former cavalier attitude to its brand. As Twitter state "From now on the bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter. Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter."
In branding circles the move has been praised, with US brand commenters, Brand New describing the rebrand as "ballsy... a very significant evolution of the brand", going on to say that Twitter has "created a more active and even more ambitious logo".
The symbol approach was also praised by Dominic Shales, head of digital, planning and content at Lexis The Recommendation Agency, recognising the global context in which Twitter's brand exists. "The decision to adopt a stand-alone symbol isn't surprising and removes any language or character recognition issues from the logo."
With Twitter beginning to see more of its revenues coming from mobile devices than desktops Shales sees the new brand benefiting here also. "Twitter seems intent on owning mobile more powerfully than any other social media platform, and the bird is a great figurative representation of mobility as well as - in their own words - 'freedom, hope and limitless possibility'" he added.
One problem Twitter may encounter, however, will be the difficulty of enforcing its new identity. The logo is used by a vast number for whom there is no financial or contractual relationship, and who, at this stage, can see little point in becoming brand police for Twitter.
Although Gideon Wilkinson, of brand implementation firm Endpoint, sees the rebrand as "A brave and confident step that moves Twitter into the rarified arena of brands that only need a symbol to communicate who they are", he certainly sees potential trouble.
"Simple is smart and this should make the application of the symbol easier and more consistent globally."
"However," he adds "there may yet be a disconnect between Twitters confidence and that of the hundreds of thousands of webmasters across the globe that will be responsible for updating their links and buttons. I'm already seeing the new Larry with the old Twitter, in blue text, next to it on some big sites."