Nov12 “Old is Boring”
During the reporting of Hatching Twitter I discovered a number of internal emails that showed the early logo explorations of the company.
As I wrote in the book, there were several different ideas for the name of the service, including “Twitch,” “Friendstalker” and “Smssy.” In the end, of course, it was called “Twitter” — though the company did spend a short amount of time as a vowelless “Twttr.”
Most of the early logos were designed by Biz Stone. You can see the examples of his logo designs to the left. The very first version he explored was a red jagged oval with off kilter letters cut out in white. Below the logo sat the tagline: “An Odeo Thingy.” He described another version in an email as having a “retro atari vibe.” And there was also an option of a large green speech bubble with the word “twitter” written in lowercase.
While Biz explored almost a dozen different designs for the site, it was actually a logo created by Noah Glass, the forgotten co-founder of Twitter, that ended up becoming the company’s face — at least for a short time.
As you can see, Noah’s design was not very pretty. It looked like a blob of green goop. But to Noah it was the culmination of several well thought-out concepts.
In an e-mail he sent to his co-founders in late-June 2006, Noah defined his thesis behind the design.
“This logo is engaging and visceral. It feels like something. It compels the viewer to feel,” Noah wrote. “The current iteration of our product is about feeling. Not about us feeling, but about our users feeling. I believe that this logo does exactly what we want it to do.” He also noted that the logo inspired “youthfulness, because old is boring…..and nothing is worse than boring.”
It didn’t take long for the green blob to go through a rebranding into the traditional blue that sat above the site for years. But even that had its detractors. Linda Gavin, a designer who created the blue logo said people were not very enthusiastic about the new look and feel.
“Shocked Twitter users complained about the redesign at first,” she said in an interview in 2012. “They thought it looked like a Japanese chatroom for teenagers, with that baby blue and bubblegum logo. And it kind of did, but Noah loved it.”