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FontDiscovery 🖼️ 127: The Branding Design of Facebook, Part 1
I hope you had a lovely Fourth of July, if you are in the US! In the past few weeks, I have been making more progress in moving FontDiscovery to our archive on Typogram. I have been putting post-migration on hold because I was working on the tool, and the posts have been piling off… so I’m finally making some progress in that department!
If you are looking for older posts, you can find them here (👇). I am also working on adding tags to make the posts more user-friendly. If you have any suggestions, feel free to email me.
This week, enjoy an old favorite of mine from the archive!
F is for Friends: The Branding Design of Facebook, Part 1
Rebranding Time: 2015
Rebranding Reason: needing a quick refresh but retains its original flavor.
Over the years Facebook has gone through several rebranding to spiff off its image. In this post, we’ll take an inside look at how Facebook tried to rebrand itself in the first twelve years after officially naming itself "the Facebook."
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The Context for Rebranding
A lot has happened to Facebook in its first twelve years.
From its birth in 2003 as “FaceMesh” to 2015, Facebook bought Instagram, IPO’ed, and became a network with more than a billion users. The platform is becoming more and more scrutinized for its collection of data, ads, user privacy issues, the authenticity of the information. Facebook needed an update with the public.
What Was Facebook’s Previous Branding Design?
After it had changed its official name from FaceMesh to “the Facebook” the company adopted this logo:
Over the next few years, Facebook grew into a giant network. It drop “the” in the naming and became “Facebook.” It slowly tweaked its logo by making small and incremental changes. Few iterations happened around this time, looking similar to:
And then in 2015, a still subtle, but slightly more obvious rebrand happened:
What’s the Difference Here?
Branding Design Before & After
“a” becoming a single story
“O” became rounder
Bigger counter spaces in letters
More stroke variation, and lighter weight on the rebranded logo
From a Brand Designer’s Perspective
A single-story “a” makes the logo design look more modern and friendly in a sans serif. Its calligraphic counterpart, the double-story “a” is considered a more traditional structure that adds a more serious tone to design.
A more circular “O” can make the design appear friendly.
When counter spaces are bigger, the logo font has more negative spaces. These negative spaces give the branding design more breathing room and make it approachable. The lighter weight also helps with this.
Bigger counter spaces are also more mobile-friendly since the spaces won’t break down on smaller screens.
Stroke variations make the font more humanistic - it reminds the audience of creation by the human hand through calligraphy.
In my opinion, this rebrand did a good job refreshing the Facebook brand, updating it to be mobile-friendly while retaining its original character. In addition, the custom logo font was optimized for mobile due to increased counter spaces. When the rebrand launched, the difference was small but noticeable, generating additional marketing buzz.
That’s it for now. Next week, we’ll go back to our regular Font of the Week Series. What do you think of this rebrand and our new series? let me know via email or comments!