The New Bird

Twitter branding:

Starting today you’ll begin to notice a simplified Twitter bird. From now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter. (Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.) There’s no longer a need for text, bubbled typefaces, or a lowercase “t” to represent Twitter.

Twitter’s new bird looks like this:

twitterbird

Twitter is right to establish the OFFICIAL bird of Twitter. They’re even going as far as saying “DO NOT USE ANY OTHER THINGS WE’VE EVER DONE! DON’T! DO NOT DO THAT!” Seems like they’ve gone through maybe three or four brand identities in the past few years.

Why? None of them are as cute as Ollie.

Ollie Is Twitter

Meet Ollie.

Ollie

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.

googlenewsollie

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.