Launched in 2006, Twitter is, officially, “a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news,” but we all know it as the current pulse of what is going on and keeping up-to-date with things you care about or didn’t know you cared about. Also, it’s a fucking time and attention gobbler — and I mean that as a compliment, I guess. As of most recent and public count, Twitter has 140 million active users that collectively push 340 million Tweets a day. On Tuesday, Twitter announced a new logo — a revision to Larry the Bird (named after NBA legend Larry Bird), the icon that has become synonymous with the service. In a blog post, Twitter’s creative director, Doug Bowman, explains: “There’s no longer a need for text, bubbled typefaces, or a lowercase ‘t’ to represent Twitter.”
Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles … similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends.
— Twitter Blog Post
For the most part, all the news sources reporting on the revised bird have focused on its visual update, which I will get to soon, but the real story here is that Twitter has dropped its name from the logo. If you look at the opening image of this post, the change is quite drastic. And ballsy. Twitter has achieved in less than six years what Nike, Apple, and Target took decades to do: To be recognizable without a name, just an icon. If you go to Twitter’s home page, welcoming you at the top is the new bird, and nothing more. Gone is the bubbly, lowercase “twitter” wordmark and the “t” icon — both terribly annoying designs. Regardless of the changes to the bird, this is a very significant evolution of the Twitter brand. Still, let’s look at the bird.
The new bird is a welcome maturation of the old one; where the previous looked cartoonish, the new one looks more purposefully iconic. Twitter has made all the right moves in changing the posture of the bird, his wings and his beak, creating a more active and even more ambitious logo. It reduces remarkably well and looks great blue on a dark background. But for all its graphic improvements there is this whole talk about the logo being constructed out of “three sets of overlapping circles” as if it were the ultimate minimalist drawing. Spare me. Target is constructed out of three overlapping circles (I’m counting the white ring as a circle to make my smart-ass point). This is not. The logo may be drawn based on circles, and there might be three big circles that are disparately relative to one another and then there might be circles within those circles that, in the end, make up the much ballyhooed sets of overlapping circles. I’m not trying to put down the logo, because I very much like the update, but I think we should call it what it is: a bird, drawn based on the geometry of circles that is very pretty and its construction has nothing to do with “networks, interests and ideas connect[ing] and intersect[ing].” That I buy. Better yet: That I RT.