Early Monday morning, Twitter began replacing its blue bird logo with a fan-made “𝕏” logo. The same X also appears on Twitter’s homepage, as a profile picture for its official @twitter account, and on a splash screen displayed while the website loads. The blue bird logo hasn’t been expunged from the service entirely — it still serves as the website’s favicon and remains prominent throughout the mobile apps — but we’re now knee-deep in a haphazard rebranding that was announced by Elon Musk yesterday.
“Soon we shall bid adieu to the twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds,” Musk wrote.
The modern Twitter bird was actually the company’s second logo and replaced the company’s earlier “Larry the Bird” logo it used between 2010 and 2012. The Twitter bird logo was designed by Martin Grasser alongside Todd Waterbury and Angy Che. The final design was one of 24 potential options presented to Jack Dorsey. Grasser previously told Fast Company that Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO picked it out almost immediately.
The logo itself was constructed from 15 overlaid circles, which Grasser has said helps with its legibility. “With a logo, something that small, you want repetitive shapes and forms,” Grasser told Fast Company. “It makes it easier for the human eye to understand, and it’s less cluttered.” The circles were also meant to symbolize Twitter’s aim of democratizing information and giving everyone a voice.
The Twitter bird was more than just a logo; it also dovetailed with the language used to describe the service. Calling posts “tweets” predated the first version of the bird logo by a couple of years, but now, the two seem fairly inseparable. Twitter is “the bird app,” and posts are “tweets” that you write by tapping a feather icon.
The new X logo, meanwhile, is… whatever. Musk has called it an “interim X logo,” which he suggests will be refined over time. It appears to have been picked from a design submitted by Sawyer Merritt, who says he based his submission on a font found online. It’s so generic that it appears almost identical to the Unicode character “Mathematical Double-Struck Capital X,” aka U+1D54F, aka “𝕏,” which is how Musk has been able to tweet the logo in an entirely text-based tweet. A neat trick for sure — but a damning indictment of how generic Twitter’s interim logo is.
The bird theming runs deep, and it’s not clear that X Corp. (as Twitter has legally been known for months now) will be able to replace it entirely.
Responding to a Twitter thread from Grasser outlining his approach to designing the iconic bird logo, Dorsey responded with a single goat emoji, meaning GOAT, or greatest of all time.