In July we got to see the first visual explorations by johnson banks of the upcoming Mozilla identity redesign in an unprecedented project where all the process is being carried out in the open. The first visual directions were not exactly thrilling but like any good Round 1, it could only get better in Round 2, which was presented live this past Thursday at our Brand New Conference and later released on the Mozilla blog and on johnson banks’ site. Included here is the full video of the presentation by Michael Johnson and Tim Murray of Mozilla, followed by the four directions shown and some thoughts on each. There are additional images at the link for each route.
Route 1: Protocol 2.0 Link
This is the only direct evolution from round 1 and it may be the strongest or at least most market-ready of the whole group. Even from the first round this was my favorite, with the “ill” forming the “://”, which is part of the full URL of any given website. It’s clever and I love how it’s a graphic visual integrated within the wordmark, requiring nothing else. The latest evolution in a thin slab serif and thick colorful stroke gives it the logo-ness the original concept needed to take it to the next level. It has great presence, it’s flexible, and it’s very unexpected. I don’t always encourage the logo-as-window idea but here, as seen in the last image, it breaks the mold and has the potential to create cool visuals.
Route 2: Flame Link
This one I do not like at all, so a) I’m not even going into it and b) I’m not including it in the poll (mostly because our template is set up to only manage three polls.) To expand a little more: it’s the most constrictive logo of all, with uncomfortable lock-ups, it will be hard to read and reproduce, and the flame itself is not fire-y enough.
Route 3: Burst Link
Visually, I love this one. The slightly hidden five points of the “M” are a nice touch and an interesting way to do a monogram. The constant motion of the bursts would look great online and translate into vibrant moire patterns in print that would usually be a detriment but in this case a boon. Eventually though, people would hate working with it because it’s so weird and would consistently require a lot of real estate for it to be large enough to be readable. The lock-up is also very limiting by placing the monogram inside a black box and the wordmark outside, while also breaking the fluidity that the mark has when sitting in a black background. If Mozilla were more on the fringe of society and technology this might be a good solution but I feel like the would benefit from something more “mainstream”.
Route 4: Dino 2.0 Link
This was clearly the direction johnson banks was most excited by and it is quite interesting as it’s the one that goes back to the legacy of Mozilla when it used to have a dinosaur as a logo and some Constructivist typography to accompany it. It’s the most playful of all the logos, which might be its biggest detriment too — where, perhaps, it’s not serious enough to be the logo for a significant organization. But at its core, it’s an engaging logo, it has literal personality, it’s completely different from anything else out there, and it has the potential to become highly distinctive. If they could find a way to take off the Cartoon-Network edge by maybe controlling the color palette more and making the supporting illustrations more refined it would go a long way. One thing I would completely drop is the Constructivist typography that I understand harkens back to the original but feels like a gimmick or a visual cliché that diminishes the potential of the dinosaur mark, which is enough of a graphic element that it doesn’t need something so heavy-handed competing with it.
Overall, the jump in quality from Round 1 to Round 2 is great and it’s still quite amazing that this is being done in the open for all of us to see. The Mozilla folks take the feedback seriously — nothing here is just for putting on a good show for the public and it’s a genuine opportunity to positively influence the outcome.