Akshit Pushkarna

Has Musk gone too far with Twitter rebrand?

Twitter’s famed blue bird logo has been replaced with a black-and-white ‘X’. Design and digital experts weigh in on the new logo.

Twitter’s blue bird has quickly flown out of the social media’s nest, leaving a capital ‘X’ in its place. Twitter, popularly known as the blue bird app, is now being rebranded as X. This was notified by Twitter owner Elon Musk, rather abruptly, with a cryptic tweet, in which he “bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.”

After the announcement, Musk joined a Twitter Spaces session called ‘No one talk until we summon Elon Musk’. During the hour-long session, Musk said that the decision to change Twitter’s logo should have been made a long time ago. “We’re cutting the Twitter logo from the building with blowtorches,” he remarked.

In subsequent tweets, Musk egged people to give their recommendations for the new X logo. He said that the company is looking to go with "minimalist art deco", which will probably see changes later and certainly be refined. He also conducted a poll on whether the default platform color could be changed to black. 

The idea of getting rid of the famous blue bird and putting X in its place, has been on Musk’s mind for quite some time now.

Back in October 2022, he described his acquisition of Twitter as “an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”  In March, he formed X Corp., a technology company. Subsequently, in April, Twitter “merged into X Corp.” and “no longer exists”.

Has Musk gone too far with Twitter rebrand?

Musk then went on to introduce an array of changes to Twitter’s working. The number of tweets as well as the direct messages one can send on the app, are now restricted.

Users can now share three-hour-long videos on the platform. A new feature, reportedly called ‘Articles’, which “will allow users to post very long, complex articles with mixed media," is also in the pipeline.

“X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centred in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services and opportunities. Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine,” Linda Yaccarino, CEO, Twitter, posted. She also posted the X logo a little over after a day Musk bid adieu to Twitter.

Moving forward, the USP of Twitter of yore – providing people bite-sized updates, is now a thing of the past, along with the blue bird. Twitter also used to call its logo “our most recognisable asset. That’s why we’re so protective of it.” 

The question now is whether the new logo will strike a chord with users or not? Further, will this X fill in the massive void that the blue bird left in its wake?

Kurnal Rawat, creative director, Landor & Fitch, believes that with the new logo, the Twitter management is not looking to retain the appeal of the blue bird. 

“There’s a signal that he (Musk) wants to let go of Twitter’s legacy. He’s not looking at retaining Twitter’s past brand equity. A new level of semantics will begin for Twitter.”

A history of Twitter's logos.
A history of Twitter's logos.

Talking about the design and appeal of the new logo, Rawat points out that it is in line with a general trend that he has spotted for brand logo designs.

He says that over the past 5-6 years, logos of brands like Burger King or a KIA, have also been simplified by getting rid of colors and the gradient components from the design.

“The overall feel of the X logo is quite future forward. Black and white is a simplified design, and is also brand neutral. The bird was all about the messenger and there was an emotional story behind the narrative it built. However, Musk is weaving a new narrative into Twitter’s appeal.”

Shekhar Badve, founder-director, Lokus Design, liked the visual representation of the logo. He found it to be edgy and showing transformation.

"The new logo's appeal is not restricted to social media but also to the sharpness behind Musk's vision of making Twitter a super app. It needed a new identity, and this logo does justice to it. X also has been associated with many things Musk has done in the past and is doing currently; SpaceX, xAI, etc. The new entity is progressive and sharp," he believes. 

Ankur Garg, executive creative director, FCB Kinnect, feels that the success of the new logo will ultimately depend on its acceptance and resonance with the platform’s users and the wider community in this rapidly changing digital landscape.

He adds that many users may feel nostalgic about the old logo, and there could be concerns about maintaining brand recognition and identity. At the same time, the logo will be well received by the upcoming audience base, i.e., Gen Z, who are more open to new experiments.

“The introduction of the new logo is aligned with the legacy, portraying Twitter as a platform that welcomes diverse perspectives and provides a space for convergence of ideas. With this change, Twitter is signaling its commitment to evolving with the times, staying relevant, and catering to the needs and preferences of its users," Garg shares.

Neha Tulsian, founder and creative director, NH1Design, observes that what might seem like a radical change to us could just be status quo for Musk. In his typical style he's gone ahead and re-branded the company, without worrying about what the pundits have to say, she points out.

"Most companies rebrand themselves when they want to signal a shift in their strategy or vision or approach. When someone crowd-sources his brand from among their most faithful followers, they don't need to stick with conventional wisdom. If anything, this rebranding is tad late," she highlights.

There are people who are also skeptical about the whole rebranding exercise. Popular tech influencer Marques Brownlee is one. He tweeted, “I’m still gonna call it Twitter.” Musk replied, “Not for long.” The hashtag #RIPTwitter also started trending on the platform once again after the announcement. 

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, global CEO and co-founder, GOZOOP Group, isn’t too optimistic about the rebranding exercise. He believes that it is a poorly executed one, something that will for sure cause a sharp consumer disinterest. 

“We all understand the importance of not being tied down with legacy, and moving with times and changing audience behavior. But trying to fix something that is not broken, reeks of futility. Unless it offers a new narrative and solution to complement the new branding, it will certainly dampen its current brand appeal and take away the sheen from something we so fondly called ‘tweets’.”

Alin Choubey, business head - north, FoxyMoron, acknowledges that the logo change is merely superficial. He questions the platform’s ability to implement its vision and distinguish itself from its competitors with the rebranding exercise.

"WeChat’s remarkable success in China sets a high standard for X to offer a seamless and all-encompassing experience to users worldwide. As Twitter integrates into X Corp., there are worries about potential disruptions or challenges during the process.”

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