Established in 2006 by a group of young entrepreneurs in Spain, Tuenti is a telecommunications company and mobile service provider that provides chatting, data access, and VoIP through the installation of a SIM card and smartphone app. Counting with 250,000 customers in Spain, Tuenti was purchased by giant telecom Telefonica in 2010 and is currently expanding to Latin America. The name, although it sounds and reads like twenty in English, is a word made up by smushing “Tu” and “
Identi dad” (Your Identity) together. Earlier this month, Tuenti introduced a new identity designed by Madrid-based Saffron.
Given the boldness of the brand’s ambition [— “Extreme nonconformism” —] it was key that the typographic style be original and differentiated. So a bespoke font style was created, mixed with quirky icons and angular graphic details specifically to reinforce the brand’s attitude.
The result is a powerful visual identity that that embraces the concept of “Extreme nonconformism” in a very simple but effective way to internal and external audiences. All visual assets, from the logo to the icon system reflect the attitude that Tuenti perfectly understands the rules of the game but seeks to challenge or reinvent them.
The old logo was good and bad. The emoticon icon, placed inside what could be interpreted as an abstract speech bubble, while clichéd, was playful and worked as a standalone icon. The wordmark, however, was pitiful with the forced “t” ligatures, tight spacing, and all around ugliness. The new logo smartly drops the emoticon so that it doesn’t look like it’s an app only for teenagers and goes with a cool, distinctive wordmark more appropriate for a company trying to compete with the bigger telcos. The period at the start is meant to be rebellious, I think, and they go as far as writing the name as “.Tuenti” in their communication, which is both distinguishing and annoying. My favorite part of the wordmark is the strong upward slant that starts at the bottom of the “u” and ends on the top of the “n”, which I find more interesting than the slanted “T”. As a whole, it’s a great, solid wordmark.
The other important element of the identity is this reverse italic, used in all consumer communications. I want to both like it and dislike it. And I do. Both. I like that it’s extremely different, it makes you take notice, and it proves that Tuenti is willing to walk the walk and not just talk the talk about being nonconformists. I dislike how the individual characters look, so mangled. But maybe that’s what someone said when they saw the first italic.
In application, things are pretty straightforward — reverse pun intended — that allow the back-slanted type to stand out with the logo appearing small and as an endorsing mark. The extruded icons add a nice touch of bold graphics. There is also an insistence to start every sentence with a period and end it without — it’s a mannerism that might get old soon. Or, heck, it might become the most recognizable element of the brand. Overall, this definitely has a disruptive feel — and I hate that word, so I don’t use it lightly — while still keeping a corporate presence and that’s a very difficult balance to strike.