The evolution of Twitter's logo

Twitter logos

It's party time for Twitter as the site hits double figures

The result of a "daylong brainstorming session" back in 2006, Twitter has come a long way over the last 10 years. With more than 500 million users, the social media giant has become one of the 10 most-visited websites, with its signature bird logo popping up everywhere. But this distinctive logo design is only a recent event in the evolutionary progress of Twitter's logotypes and images.

In fact when it was just starting out, Twitter wasn't even called Twitter. Inspired by photo-sharing platform Flickr, and the five-character length of American SMS short codes, the creators originally named the site 'twttr'. This can still be seen in the first ever tweet from co-founder Jack Dorsey.

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Mocked-up ahead of Twitter's launch, the prototype logo designed by co-founder Noah Glass was completely unrecognisable when compared to what we have today.

Instead of the soothing sky blue we've come to know and love, twttr was represented by a lumpy, snotty green that looked like it had been sneezed onto the computer. Glass said the logo "inspired youthfulness," and that "old is boring, and nothing is worse than boring".

Despite this reasoning, it's hard to imagine a popular website having such a disgusting logo. Thankfully the name and branding were updated for the 2006 launch.

Twttr logo

The original logo for twttr is nothing like the later designs

For its official launch on July 15 2006 the Twitter founders turned to graphic designer Linda Gavin, who was given just one day to develop a new logo. Glass loved Gavin's final design and the branding remained the same until September 14, 2010. Not bad for a day's work.

Twitter logo

Linda Gavin was given just one day to design the Twitter logo

September 2010 saw the debut of the now famous Twitter bird. The website already made use of animal logos (such as the infamous 'fail whale'), but this was the first time they were used to identify the site itself.

Named after Larry Bird from the NBA's Boston Celtics, Twitter's 'Larry the Bird' logo had a slightly more intricate plumage, plus another wing in the background. However Larry the Bird was so effective, he lasted until June 5 2012.

Twitter logo

Larry the Bird had a more intricate design than today's Twitter Bird

Twitter's third logo redesign, released on June 5 2012, saw the introduction of the simply named 'Twitter Bird' icon. Twitter designer Douglas Bowman revealed that the Twitter Bird is based on a mountain bluebird, and that the wings are made up of three overlapping circles.

Twitter logo

The Twitter Bird icon has replaced the brand name

It seems Twitter are very protective of this design, as they explain on their website that it is not to be modified in any way. Perhaps it's this set of graphic guidelines that have made the Twitter Bird one of the most instantly recognisable logos in the world today.

After all, Twitter doesn't even have to rely on spelling out its name anymore, the Twitter Bird says it all (and in less than 140 characters).

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.