Twitter, Branding and the Batman Bird

18 06 2012

Just under two weeks ago Twitter revealed a ‘tweaked’ redesign of their iconic bird logo (image 1).  They rolled out some brand guidelines that  included usage rules that stated that you should not ‘rotate or change the direction of the bird’ (image 2). Some eagle-eyed twitter users noticed that when you rotate the bird anti-clockwise by 90 degrees it looks oddly like Batman (image 3).

As well as updating the bird, Twitter is aiming to rid the web of the huge range of twitter icons; the boxed ‘t’, the variety of birds and  the lowercase bubble script ‘twitter’ (Pico font with an adapted ‘e’ if you are interested).

The announcement highlights the difficulties in controlling a brand image in an inter-operable and collaborative web.  Brand guidelines are endemic in the culture in large organisations, but the ability to enforce rules on the use of the brand logo is much diminished.   Five years ago a phenomenon emerged where people were reinterpreting the logos of iconic brands as if they were new web brands.  Logo 2.0 interpretations took these identities and played around with them.  My favourite was ‘Quakr 2.Oats’.

It will be interesting to see how successful Twitter is at controlling its brand identity in a world users as well as corporate  communications departments make the rules.



2 responses

18 06 2012
Chris Norton

Twitter has always had this problem – if you search through Google Images, Flickr or any of the image based search engines you find hundreds of different types of Twitter logos. Some are originals but then people have edited them and changed them. I think they should just let people use the bird anyway they want. I recall they tried to copyright the word tweet a few years back. I find it all a bit desperate. They should focus on improving Tweetdeck instead after completely ruining it as a platform.

25 06 2012
Joshua Lachkovic

Definitely agree regarding Tweetdeck. And as for the problem with the image, this will only change over time if designers prefer the look of the bird to the Twitter T.

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