Twitter at 10 and the evolution of the Twitter logo

@jack's sketch


The first tweet

Co-founder Dorsey sent the first tweet, on March 21, 2006 which said “Just setting up my twttr”. You will note that the original name for Twitter was Twttr.
(Image source:



The Twitter Logo

To date the Twitter logo has had three iterations. Initially when Twitter launched in 2006, the Twitter bird did not feature at all. This was introduced in 2010 alongside the written name.

Twitter logo

July 15, 2006 – September 14, 2010.

Twitter logo

September 14, 2010 – June 5, 2012.

Twitter logo

June 5, 2012–present

However in 2012, Twitter as a brand were firmly placed as one of the top social media alongside the likes of Facebook. The bird had become synonymous with Twitter and the decision to drop the text and just use the bird as the logo was made. The Twitter bird also lost it’s quiff, has fewer feathers and looks up with an open beak. For me this current iteration symbolises that Twitter empowers all users to have a free and open voice.

Twitter describe the new logo as follows:

“Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.”


The video demonstrates both simplicity and clarity.  Twitter says the new bird is “crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends.”

The current icon can be seen on the sign outside Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco.

Twitter Headquarters

“Twitter’s San Francisco Headquarters” by MatthewKeys. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia


Does the Twitter bird really have a name?

Rumour has it that the Twitter bird did have a name and this is Larry. The Twitter icon now recognised across the globe, may have been named after former NBA player, Larry Bird, who played for Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s home-state team, the Boston Celtics. Ryan Sarver a former Twitter employee shared this tweet:

Twitter themselves have also previously made reference to the name Larry:



The Twitter bird has become the focal point of Twitter’s branding and is for many instantly recognisable. It stands with the likes of Apple and Nike who also have no text in their logo. Today the Twitter brand policy guidelines are fastidious about the way the Twitter name and logo should be used.


• Use our official, unmodified Twitter bird to represent our brand.
• Make sure the bird faces right.
• Allow for at least 150% buffer space around the bird.

There are also guidelines on the colour palettes. The font used is primarily the Gotham Narrow family.

colour swatchescolour palettes


• Use speech bubbles or words around the bird.
• Rotate or change the direction of the bird.
• Animate the bird.
• Duplicate the bird.
• Change the colour of the bird.
• Use any other marks or logos to represent our brand.

logo donts

Celebrating 200 million active users

In 2013 Twitter created a video caled ‘Celebrating #Twitter7’ for Twitter’s 7th birthday. This provides a nice visual history of key developments and ways Twitter has been used.

Since @jack first tweeted in 2006, Twitter has become a global town square. Thanks to all of you, our open, real-time platform is thriving: well over 200 million active users send more than 400 million Tweets every day. Here’s to your creativity, curiosity and experimentation on our platform. We’re gratified that so many millions of you have made Twitter yours. Thank you.

Twitter at 10 2006-2016

Over the last 10 years Twitter has definitely taken flight and is now used across the globe. Again Twitter capture key moments and these demonstrate the diverse ways the communication tool has been used.


 Other Twitter icons

Early users of Twitter will be familiar with the ‘Whale Fail’ icon that came up on the screen when Twitter went down due to technical issues.

Twitter fail whale

Twitter fail whale

More recently and less frequently the image below appears when Twitter is down

Something is technically wrong

Something is technically wrong


More about Twitter

Twitter blog:


Jack Dorsey:


About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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1 Response to Twitter at 10 and the evolution of the Twitter logo

  1. Pingback: Clairemont Communications | On the Record: Leveraging Twitter for PR

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