You may already know Ollie. Ollie is a Twitter bird. You can sometimes find him (or her?) on websites by Twitter account links. Sometimes Ollie even gets placed into news articles about Twitter.
There’s no doubt about it. Ollie is the most popular Twitter bird.
But Ollie is not Twitter’s bird. Ollie is Iconfactory’s Twitterrific bird. Twitter has a bird, but as far as I know it doesn’t have a name. It also doesn’t have eyes and feet. It’s a silhouette. For a long time Twitter’s bird was used for accounts with no profile image, although lately it looks like they’ve reserved that bird for app icons and replaced no-image profiles with an egg for tweets about to hatch.
But Ollie has been in active duty since 2007 when Twitterrific for Mac was released. And since Ollie was one of the only Twitter birds at the time Twitter started, well, over time Ollie became synonymous with Twitter.
So here we are, almost four years later, and it doesn’t look like things have changed.
That’s an interesting predicament for Twitter. The platform’s strongest visual identity doesn’t even belong to them.