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There’s something you have to acknowledge when it comes to Twitter’s Musk-era: there’s no time to be boring. Every single week, he comes up with something new. Whether it’s good or bad, remains to be seen. But in terms of “something new is cooking,” we’ve got to tip our hats. This time, there’s a new Twitter rebranding, and quite a bold one: changing the Twitter bird logo with what is already known as the Twitter X Logo 2023.
Twitter’s journey under Elon Musk’s ownership has been marked by several ups and downs. From the acquisition and controversial charging for “verified accounts” to the concerning decline in revenue due to Musk’s actions, the platform has faced numerous challenges. The company had to let go of thousands of employees, leading some top talents to move to competitors like Facebook, resulting in the emergence of a rival service called Threads.
Amidst this backdrop, Twitter recently introduced what appears to be a new logo and a possible rebranding effort. However, the extent and significance of this rebranding are still uncertain. In this article, we will explore the events that led to the logo change, the reasons behind it, and what it might mean for the platform moving forward.
Given Twitter’s recent troubles, there are legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of this rebranding. We will critically analyze the potential risks associated with the logo change and its ability to address the broader issues that have impacted the platform.
This article aims to objectively examine the new Twitter logo and the accompanying rebranding, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding it and offering insights into the challenges that lie ahead for the platform in a highly competitive social media landscape.
The Dawn of the “Twitter X Logo 2023”
Elon Musk has officially unveiled the new Twitter logo for 2023, moving away from the globally recognized bird symbol to a strikingly minimalist art deco X. With a slight wave of unpredictability in the air, Musk, the owner of Twitter, has declared that the new design is yet to see its final form and is likely to undergo refinements.
The introduction of the new logo was confirmed by Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, who echoed Musk’s sentiments by tweeting, “X is here! Let’s do this.” And thus, Twitter began its journey into a new era, its desktop version sporting the fresh logo, while its mobile counterpart remains to be updated.
The Road to the New Twitter Logo
Elon Musk’s involvement with Twitter has always been surrounded by an air of eccentricity. His proposal to his 149 million followers for logo design suggestions underscored his unconventionality. One of the outcomes was a flickering video showcasing the new logo posted by Twitter user Sawyer Merritt, a sustainable clothing business co-founder.
This minimalistic X logo is crafted from a unicode font known as Blackboard bold, although it’s presented from a paid font version named Special Alphabets 4. This choice of logo design has stirred up an intriguing conversation about copyright and trademark protection, given its standard character status that anyone can use.
From Twitter to X Corp
Musk’s vision for Twitter was never confined to it remaining solely a social media platform. His ambitions to evolve it into an “everything app,” which he dubs “X,” are as clear as daylight. He had described Twitter as an accelerant for creating the X, even before he bought the company.
The change in the Twitter logo is just one of the many shifts we’ve seen since Musk took over. In October last year, he incorporated Twitter into an entity he named X Corp, a subsidiary of X Holdings Corp. His expansive vision for the “X” brand further solidified with his announcement of forming a new artificial intelligence firm, xAI.
Reactions to the “X Logo Twitter” Rebranding
The new logo has, unsurprisingly, been met with a mixed bag of reactions. The radical shift from the iconic blue bird to the minimalist X is a significant risk considering Twitter’s current standing amidst intense competition.
In particular, Mike Proulx, a research director at the analysis firm Forrester, warned, “By changing Twitter’s app name, Elon Musk will have singlehandedly wiped out over 15 years of a brand name that has secured its place in our cultural lexicon.”
However, other experts opine that this might just be a calculated move that ties into Musk’s broader branding strategy, connecting the X brand more closely with his empire, including the likes of SpaceX.
Twitter’s Transformation into the “Everything App”
The new Twitter logo signifies more than just a visual transformation; it represents a strategic shift towards becoming an “everything app.” This concept is modeled on China’s WeChat, a multifunctional app that Musk admires. It allows users to perform a variety of tasks, from messaging to ordering a taxi and paying bills.
Yaccarino further shed some light on how X is expected to function. She suggested that the business would be powered by AI and centred in audio, video, messaging, payments, and banking.
The idea of transforming Twitter into an “everything app” is, in fact, a throwback to Musk’s x.com, an online bank he co-founded in 1999, which later transformed into PayPal.
The Special Alphabets 4 Story
As for the “Special Alphabets 4,” from which the X logo is derived, it’s crucial to understand its history. ‘Special Alphabets 4’ is a series of alphanumeric symbols and glyphs that have been commonly used across various digital platforms, including social media.
The decision to use a character from this set is a fascinating turn, considering that the unicode font doesn’t necessarily offer exclusivity or copyright protection. The ‘X’ used in the Twitter X logo 2023 seems to reflect Musk’s penchant for bucking trends and doing things his way.
A point of contention that requires clarification is the ongoing debate about the potential copyright implications of using a Unicode font for the new Twitter logo. While some analysts have voiced concerns about the difficulties of copyrighting a symbol from an open-source system like Unicode, this might not be entirely accurate.
Discussions around the legal dimensions of this issue are complex, yet it’s important to understand that fonts, regardless of whether they are part of Unicode, can be purchased and potentially copyrighted from various font foundries. This information is corroborated by Unicode’s own documentation.
However, it’s worth mentioning that copyrighting a font and a character symbol can be two different matters entirely. While the design of the font (the specific graphical representation of the character set) can be copyrighted, individual character symbols, especially those in the Unicode standard, usually can’t be. So while Twitter X logo could potentially own the rights to a specific graphical representation of ‘X’, the ‘X’ symbol itself remains in the public domain.
In this case, as it pertains to Twitter’s rebranding and the new Twitter logo, there remains a degree of legal ambiguity. More in-depth exploration and expert legal advice would be required to fully understand the potential copyright implications involved.
The New Twitter Logo Analysis
While many aspects of this rebranding remain uncertain, both Musk and Twitter’s representatives acknowledge it as a “work in progress.” However, amidst the uncertainties, one concrete change has emerged: the new logo design.
Yet, right from the start, we encounter some problems. As any design student embarking on their career knows, branding extends far beyond just a logo. Surprisingly, Twitter, being a prominent company, seems to have made a move that even a beginner would avoid.
So, we now have this Twitter X logo in black and white, while everything else continues to use the usual blue along with the bird logo. It’s undeniably strange, to say the least.
Naturally, this impromptu and disconnected logo change from Twitter gives rise to further issues. In simple terms, all they did was replace the logo on their desktop platform with the new Twitter X logo, without providing any brand guidelines or style guides. It was just a straightforward image swap.
If you visit Elon Musk’s profile, you’ll see this change:
So, you can see that this somehow works. It’s a white symbol on top of a black background, enclosed inside a circle. Simple, a bit pedestrian, but it works.
Now, let’s take a look at what users who don’t use dark mode see:
Can you spot it (or rather, not spot it)?
Since this logo wasn’t planned at all and, by all means, it looks like just another of Elon Musk’s whims, the logo is basically unnoticeable amidst all the content and icons. Moreover, the old identity didn’t even have a wordmark, but it was still recognizable as Twitter. It took years of effort to establish a direct association between a blue bird and the word Twitter. This process is known as brand development, and it comes with a hefty price tag.
Now, what do you see? No matter what, your brain won’t make the cognitive effort to translate the “X” to Twitter. To you and everyone else, it will simply remain an “X.” It’s basic Psychology 101, so there’s no need to argue about it.
In short, in terms of visual identity, it’s a complete failure.
But let’s delve deeper. A rebranding is not just about a new logo (despite what Musk and Twitter may think). Interestingly, among all the things they did wrong, they actually went beyond “just a logo.” If you take a look at Elon Musk’s profile image above, you’ll notice that his URL is now X.com. For those who aren’t aware, until a few hours before this article was written, that URI used to redirect to PayPal. However, now, it suddenly redirects to Twitter.
Why is the URL change important?
You might wonder why this matters in the context of a rebranding. The answer is quite simple: Musk is deliberately dissociating all ties with the established brand in order to transform Twitter into X.com.
This move could be a daring step based on a highly thought-out strategy. Alternatively, it might be nothing more than a whim that will cost billions. Only time will tell, but it’s difficult to believe that a brand valued in billions of dollars can be completely defaced and discarded, and a new one will take its place just like that. This kind of transition has never happened before, so I doubt it will happen now. Then again, who knows.
All things considered, in terms of strict rebranding and nothing else, this appears to be a giant failure. Don’t get me wrong: Twitter (or Musk) has the resources to make this work, and I’m sure they’ll apply those resources to this new rebranding. However, I believe there was no need for this “logo-only plus confusing brand and URL” approach.
Twitter Rebranding 2023: Moving Forward
It’s undeniable that Twitter’s rebranding has caused waves. Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has had to navigate through turbulent times, marked by layoffs, a significant drop in advertisers, and the surge of new competition, especially from Meta’s Threads.
As we move forward into the latter half of 2023, the true outcome of Twitter’s bold rebranding remains to be seen. Musk’s strategy, which seems to be a drastic pivot from Twitter’s previously established brand identity, has created ripples of uncertainty and concern in the industry. The logo shift from the globally recognized bird to a minimalist “X” not only redefines the platform’s visual identity but also signals Musk’s intent to transform Twitter into a multifunctional “everything app.”
However, the implementation of this new identity has so far proven inconsistent and confusing. The disjointed switch to the “X” logo on the desktop platform, while leaving the mobile version and other aspects of Twitter’s brand untouched, creates a lack of cohesion that can be detrimental to brand recognition. Moreover, the use of a unicode character as a logo opens up questions about trademark protection and exclusivity.
The abrupt shift from a blue bird that symbolized Twitter to an “X” that bears no recognizable connection to the platform has left users and experts alike puzzled. It remains to be seen whether users will adapt to this significant change and if this will affect Twitter’s standing in the highly competitive social media landscape.
Musk’s move to redirect the X.com URL to Twitter also underscores his broader intent to disconnect Twitter from its established brand identity and merge it into his overarching “X” concept. This strategy may be audacious and innovative, but the question arises whether such a dramatic change was necessary and whether it is sustainable in the long term.
In short: while Twitter’s rebranding has certainly been bold and generated significant attention, the strategy’s effectiveness and potential repercussions remain unclear. It’s a stark reminder that while rebranding can be a tool for innovation and reinvention, it must be executed with careful planning and consideration to avoid causing confusion and potentially harming the brand’s recognition and value. Only time will tell whether Twitter’s (or should I say X now?) experiment will pay off or if it will serve as a cautionary tale in the annals of rebranding strategies.
And you know what? This is a very interesting case study for all of us into UX research!
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