Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The story behind Twitter's logo rebrand

From Mother Jones.

The new logo on the left and Monotype font on the right.

Yesterday, Twitter launched its logo rebrand, turning its famous bird logo into an “X.”

Since 2022, Elon Musk has said he hopes to make Twitter into a “super app” called X. 

In theory, this would mean the social network would become a catch-all for connecting us in a state of “unlimited interactivity—centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking,” as CEO Linda Yaccarino buzzworded

But when the new logo went live, users on Twitter (or X, whatever) noted an interesting facet of the new logo: It looks like shit.

According to Musk, it is just an “interim logo.” 

Still, the rushed nature of the “X” logo led folks to search for the origin of the design. 

A few users pointed out how strikingly similar the app’s new temporary logo looked to a font created by Monotype Imaging. 

The font, Special Alphabets 4, is a decorative font created by the company as part of its larger Special Alphabets family.

But, sorry, that’s not quite right. 

Executive Creative Director of Monotype Phil Garnham told Mother Jones that “whilst it is similar” the new Twitter logo is “not the capital X glyph from Monotype’s ‘Special Alphabets 4’ font.” 

(Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on its new logo looking like Special Alphabets 4 “X” or if it’s stolen from somewhere else.)

There were other theories for the “X.” 

Some said it came from the X pod. 

According to one of the hosts, Alexandre Tourville, the logo he “designed” for the Official X Pod is an alteration of the Unicode character đť•Ź (U+1D54F). 

In a lengthy post, Tourville said that while the logo is only interim he’s “nevertheless happy and proud to see it be chosen by a man I deeply admire and respect.” 

He implied that while it was not certain Musk was taking the design idea from his podcast “it must have been fate for Elon to be inspired by the đť•Ź.”

So, a recap. Musk did not steal the “X” logo from Monotype. 

He might have lifted it from a podcast, but they didn’t seem to be aware that this was happening. 

Welcome to a normal rebrand.

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