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Facebook New Logo 2023: On the ‘meh’ side
The recent unveiling of Facebook new logo 2023 and consequent rebranding has captured global attention. The announced brand’s fresh logo, with an updated wordmark and a richer color palette, should symbolize a new era. However, when digging deeper into these changes and considering the key insights shared by influential figures at Facebook and Meta, it seems there isn’t much to discuss.
Sure, all Facebook rebrandings were always… conservative, to say the least. And while that is not a bad thing ‘per se’, given the hype they built around it, you’d expect something grander. If you’re hoping for bold changes like Android’s new rebranding or Freepik’s new design identity, you might end up disappointed.
So, don’t hold your breath: this is another of the micro-changes Facebook has accustomed us to. Still, with more changes hinted at, perhaps this is just a “sneak peek” of bigger things to come.
Regardless, let’s analyze what we have now. Spoiler alert: the logo has six micro-changes only a designer might notice.
A New Facebook Logo for… a New Era?
Under Meta’s guiding hand, Facebook has been the center of several innovations. The transformation of the Facebook logo is one of those examples. The new Facebook logo, with its emphasis on the Facebook Sans typeface and deeper blue hue, aims to boost clarity and consistency. As Dave N., Director of Design at Facebook, aptly states:
“The goal of our work was to expand upon our foundation and create the defining mark of our brand that anchors the identity system across Facebook. We wanted to ensure that the refreshed logo felt familiar, yet dynamic, polished and elegant in execution. These subtle, but significant changes allowed us to achieve optical balance with a sense of forward movement.”Dave N., Director of Design at Facebook
This year has seen several transformative changes among social media behemoths. Notably, Meta, Facebook’s parent entity, introduced Threads to rival Twitter, while Twitter surprisingly transitioned to X.
Facebook’s most recent branding adjustments are spearheaded by the design mavens at Meta. Tagu Kato, the VP of design at Facebook, mentions this as the “inaugural step in a renewed identity strategy for Facebook, emphasizing smooth, user-driven exploration and connectivity at all interaction points.”
Further, Kato highlighted three primary motivators for this change, aiming to “accentuate the brand’s hallmark features” and ensure the Facebook identity seamlessly transitions from its products to its promotional efforts.
Analysis of the new Facebook logo: the symbol
As I said above, the new Facebook logo has very small changes compared to its predecessors. If you take a careful look at the image above, you’ll see they’re basically the same, without the gradient. Let’s not forget the logo Facebook used until today had two versions: square and rounded. Now, the logo has become more consistent, and we have only one version, the circle one.
Since the previous combination of square/circle logos was very different between each one, it doesn’t make sense for us to analyze the square version. Instead, I’ll discuss the one most similar to the new Facebook symbol (the circular one).
Again, checking the image above, you’ll notice another difference besides the lack of gradient: the F glyph is clearly wider than the previous one.
Now, let’s go to the really small changes:
Looking at the image above, we’ll go from left to right and top to bottom.
- The first change is hard to perceive, because the new width makes it challenging to see, but the glyph had a visual adjustment, moving the glyph around 5% towards the left. This is a good decision since it helps balance the whole symbol.
- The second change is that the virtual bowl or eye is 15% bigger by increasing the radius and making the cross stroke slightly lower.
- The third change is to make the left cross stroke 10.5% shorter.
- The fourth change is almost non-existent: it’s about increasing the angle of the right cross stroke from 9 to 10º. I placed both the old and the new one over the other and couldn’t even see a difference. Maybe if you use a logo as big as a building you might notice, but in this case, I think they’re simply saying “yes, we changed it by 1 degree” for documentation purposes.
- The fifth change is an adjustment in tapering, which was needed because of the increased width and the 15% bigger eye. Not doing this would have been a problem, but they did it right, as we’re discussing top logo designers here!
- Lastly, there were small changes in the logo wordmark glyph, mainly adding the 10º slant in some characters and adjusting curvatures in the same way as the main glyph/symbol.
The new Facebook rebranding also has some rules, as usual. They’re not a lot though
- Clear Space: One essential aspect of the Facebook logo’s presentation is the “clear space.” This refers to the buffer or cushion around the logo, ensuring it doesn’t clash or merge with other elements, preserving its integrity and visibility. In this particular instance, the defined clear space is 0.5x, with ‘X’ representing the size of the symbol itself. To break it down: if you have a symbol size of 32px, then the requisite clear space would be half of that, which is 16px (calculated as 32px * 0.5 = 16px).
- Minimum Size: Logos have an optimal size range to ensure their clarity and legibility, irrespective of where they’re displayed. For the Facebook logo, the minimum size threshold has been set at 16px or 6mm. However, it’s worth noting that this minimum isn’t always adhered to in every application. As an illustration, on the Facebook Brand Page, the logo is presented at a size of 30px, while within the desktop application, it scales up to 40px.
Facebook New Logo: the wordmark
The new Facebook logo, although grounded in the familiar typography of its forerunner, Facebook Sans, boasts subtle adjustments in its curvatures and slant, as previously pointed out. It’s essential to understand that the typography in the logo wordmark and symbol isn’t the same as the one you’d encounter in the platform’s user interface. Despite the plethora of misleading information on Google, the truth is pretty straightforward: Facebook generally uses your system’s font.
For Mac users, this translates to the San Francisco typeface. A quick look at the ‘SF’ (short for San Francisco) and the label ‘System Font’ is a clear giveaway. Yet, it’s baffling that a lot of the Google search results don’t get this right. One can’t help but wonder why these incorrect pieces of information seem to dominate the top spots in search rankings.
A couple caveats:
- The Specifics of System Fonts: Facebook’s reliance on the user’s system font mainly applies to the mobile app interface and for users logged into the desktop version. For those accessing Facebook’s desktop version without logging in, there’s a preference hierarchy: Facebook first tries to use Helvetica, then Arial, and if neither is available, it defaults to any sans-serif font it can locate.
- A Different Tune for Facebook Business: A glimpse into ‘Our Work’ reveals our past collaboration with Facebook Business. The specifics of resources used remain under wraps, but I can affirm that Facebook Business uses a unique font, deviating from the general system font approach, especially noticeable in the titles.
Facebook’s Branding History: Baby Steps
Reflecting on Facebook’s branding evolution showcases the platform’s ability to adapt while always maintaining its identity through minimal changes. The platform’s design choices, especially the minimalistic approach to logo changes, demonstrate a deep understanding of its vast user base. In today’s context, each branding decision is taken under Meta’s expansive umbrella.
In this regard, it’s evident that the new Facebook logo integrates well and remains consistent across all of Meta’s properties. So, again: it’s not that it’s wrong; it’s actually right. It’s just that there was significant buzz for a change that perhaps only a designer with a keen eye for detail and branding would truly notice.
The Color Palette: Signifying Depth and Diversity
A shift in color can speak volumes. Facebook’s choice to adopt a deeper blue, while expanding its color spectrum, indicates a commitment to both legacy and modernity. This evolution ensures that every user interaction feels familiar yet progressive. In Facebook’s own words:
Every interaction a person has with Facebook, inside or outside the app, shapes how they think about and experience our brand — from the stories they hear to the content they see when they open the app.Briana V., Global Director of Facebook Brand Marketing
Now, you might argue that the changes in the color palette aren’t significant. And you’d be right. The hue adjustment between the old and new color palette differs by no more than 2% in any of the palette’s colors, making it perhaps the most subtle change I’ve ever seen in a color palette’s redesign.
Facebook 2023 UI (User Interface)
Elevating Engagement: Re-imagining Facebook Reactions
Reactions, those small yet impactful symbols on Facebook, have become an essential tool for users to quickly express their sentiments about shared content (read more about this in teh article about Sensory UX). Understanding their significance in the digital communication of the platform, Facebook is on the brink of introducing substantial updates to Reactions. This move isn’t merely about modernizing icons. It’s a strategic shift aimed at enhancing the expressiveness of each Reaction.
By refining their design, Facebook seeks to make these reactions more evocative, ensuring users can convey their emotions more effectively. The goal is clear: to deepen user engagement, ensuring every ‘like’, ‘love’, or ‘wow’ is not only seen but genuinely felt by others in the community. With these enhanced Reactions, Facebook continues its journey to foster meaningful interactions and enrich the user experience.
Facebook UI Design
The rebranding includes some changes in the UI (finally!). Nevertheless, don’t expect big changes. If you’re not a sharp-eyed UI designer, you will probably not notice the changes, especially if you don’t have the old versions to compare side by side. I make a living out of UI design and wouldn’t notice them as well, so worry not!
Another change comes from the side of the iconography. The new icons are part of the UI elements and design tokens. In general, the new icons are more rounded and perhaps a bit clearer, which is not much to say because the old ones were excellent.
However, you may find some adjustments in spacing. I didn’t do an extensive analysis of the user interface, but I have noticed the padding between elements is slightly bigger and the line height has been increased a little bit in the mobile app.
On the desktop platform, as of my writing this, Facebook has yet to implement its rebranding elements. In fact, the new Facebook logo is conspicuously absent. No changes, nothing. This seems to be a growing trend in digital spaces.
A Closer Examination of the New Facebook Logo
At first glance, the Facebook logo might seem unchanged. But that’s because the alterations are subtle. The symbol underwent some fine-tuning, and the Facebook wordmark mirrored these refinements. The thing is, this isn’t necessarily a downside. Often, it’s these minute changes that make a significant difference in design. While the previous logo was undoubtedly well-crafted, this newer version feels refined. Small enhancements, though not immediately obvious, become more apparent when you take the time to analyze, and this is evident here.
However, there’s a flip side to this. The emerging practice of rolling out partial rebrandings feels puzzling. Historically, major rebranding exercises presented a comprehensive, finished package—a logo and its accompanying elements. Call me old-fashioned, but there was a time when the norm was to wrap up a project entirely before unveiling it. It does strike me as somewhat unprofessional to announce a rebranding, only to have the website or apps either not reflecting the new identity or doing so only in bits and pieces.
In conclusion, based on the previews and what has been shared so far, I give the new Facebook logo a thumbs up. It’s a nice effort, and I’m genuinely curious to see the full array of changes once they’re rolled out!
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