Social networking and ‘microblogging’ site Twitter has been around for just 7 years, and when it was launched many questioned whether it would take off given the huge popularity of Facebook.
Yet Twitter has become a social revolution. Via the main website, and various apps and clients, Twitter has over 500 million registered accounts and handled an estimated 1.6 billion search queries in 2012.
Almost every single celebrity, public figure and organization has a Twitter account and hashtags are everywhere. I recently attended a conference where every session had its own hashtag and almost every single delegate was live-tweeting via their laptop, tablet or smartphone. At lunch, rather than fighting for the buffet food, people were fighting for power sockets to recharge their batteries!
Twitter’s ‘blue bird’ logo has become instantly recognizable, but it hasn’t always been this way. A recently published book by Nick Bilton called Hatching Twitter reveals the evolution of Twitter’s iconic branding.
Back in 2005/6, Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass and Biz Stone toyed with names for their new microblogging platform including Twitch, Friendstalker and Smssy. Twitter won in the end – although the jury was still out over whether vowels should be included – but the logo wasn’t finalized for quite some time.
Many of the early logos (above), including the retro Atari-inspired logo (above top right) were designed by one of Twitter’s co-founders, Biz Stone. Noah Glass came up with the ‘green blob’ (above bottom right) that was said to ‘inspire youthfulness’. But the blue bubble font designed by Linda Gavin (below) would be the one to accompany the site’s launch and create the iconic Twitter brand.
From 2010 until recently, the word-form of the Twitter logo was accompanied by a blue bird symbol (below) known affectionately as ‘Larry’ after Boston Celtics basketball player Larry Bird.
Larry became such an integral part of the Twitter brand that, in mid-2012, the word ‘Twitter’ was dropped as an official branding element altogether. With the increasing popularity of tablet computers and smartphones, apps now only need a small, symbolic, memorable icon rather than a typographical logo. As such, Larry has been smoothed out, stylized, and is referred to simply as ‘Twitter bird’.
I always think it’s fascinating to see where an iconic brand came from! What are your thoughts on the Twitter logos of days-gone-by? How do you feel about the removal of the word ‘Twitter’ from Twitter’s branding?
About the Author:
Although her primary niche is in scientific writing and editing, freelance writer Lisa Martin is also a creative type with an eye for design. She regularly works alongside graphic designers and as such has a keen interest in the development of logos and branding.