Bye Bye Birdie: Is a Redesign at Twitter Taking Things Too Far?

twitter new logo

First there was a report that Twitter is testing a new format more like Facebook. Now sources say the iconic site is redesigning its logo to a much more abstract version. (And by abstract, we mean it’s hard to tell by looking at it just exactly what it is.)

A report from the Marin Independent Journal in California notes that among the many changes at the new company headquarters, a new logo is there, too.

That Twitter new logo could be a very abstract version of Twitter’s iconic bird. Rather than an actual bird, one mock-up of the Twitter new logo by designer Roberto Manzari of Milan, Italy, shows a simple circle with a partial triangle protruding from one side.

One comment reacting to the redesigned Twitter logo notices that there’s no bird and it doesn’t even use letters identifiable with Twitter:

“I’m all for minimalism, it’s a big part of why the existing bird icon with no wordmark is successful. But explain to me how turning it into a mark that resembles a lowercase “o” (or at best, a stubby lowercase “d”) could possibly be strong and recognizable for Twitter.”

When Twitter announced it was changing its logo in 2012 for only the second time, it said on the company blog that the bird was Twitter:

“From now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter. (Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.) There’s no longer a need for text, bubbled typefaces, or a lowercase “t” to represent Twitter.”

Twitter is giving the new look a test run on select profiles. These changes are certainly a departure from the current look, which was just unveiled in January to look more like Twitter’s Android and iOS app interfaces, according to a company tweet.

Are the proposed changes going too far? Will Twitter lose its identity? Some already believe so and when they visited their new profile, they thought they were somewhere else, even if half-jokingly.

With millions of daily users, Twitter can afford to tinker with its look.  Small businesses may not have the same luxuries. Rebranding and changing the look of your business, especially too often, could confuse or alienate customers — not to mention involve a lot of expense.

Sometimes, though, changes are necessary. Twitter’s revamping is coming at a time when it’s lagging behind its competition, namely Facebook. The company’s stock, according to recent reports, has been on a downward trend after its latest earnings statement and the service struggles to add new users.

Image: Behance

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

10 Reactions
  1. It’s a tough questions for most businesses. Change the logo to keep it fresh or retain the brand equity and recognition you’ve worked so hard to gain. Tough call!

    • It is a tough call, Robert. The redesign doesn’t bother me, but the logo is another matter. It may water down the brand recognition, and make Twitter too indistinct from other sites. It looks like one of those little map markers, not something I’d instantly identify as Twitter.

      – Anita

  2. Change for change sake is not a good idea in my opinion. Not sure I understand or agree with this direction by Twitter…

    If a company wants to change its logo (and overall branding) I believe it should be based on one of the following key reasons:
    (1) a new direction the company is pursuing based on market adjustment or competitive pressures
    (2) refreshing an old or stale image that isn’t reflective of the times
    (3) alignment with what customers already are doing with the company name/brand (eg. when Federal Express changed to FedEx)

    So, we’ll see what happens if this transformation unfolds. Perhaps Twitter is feeling they are in choice 2 — refreshing a stale image — but I agree with Robert… seems like they are throwing away a lot of brand by losing the twitter bird.

  3. I instantly recognized that logo as a birds head. It is a brilliant new logo for twitter

  4. I’m going to agree with David on this one. I really like the new logo, and I LOVE birds. The light blue in the center of the circle really ties it together for me.

    Twitter’s revenues are down and they need a refresh. I think those who are used to the little birdie will see a bird in this new logo, eventually.

    I think the new look (if it’s eventually implemented) is a little more grown-up. But I do agree with Anita that it does look like a map marker, too. Hmmm … map apps are really popular, too.

    What I don’t like is when a business says it’ll forever be identified by their new look and then they completely go back on that claim.

  5. What’s with that blue circle? I am sure that I am not the only one thinking that way. And what’s so wrong with the blue bird? They are known for that brand. Why not change the bird instead?

    • I can see how the blue circle with the triangle at an angle is a bird. I didn’t see it before. I think the design is ambiguous when it comes to putting the message across that, “hey, this is a bird.”

  6. If Twitter’s lagging behind its competition, why does it think changing a distinct, instinctively recognisable logo will help with that? I don’t know what it needs to change, but that’s NOT it, in my opinion.

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