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Mozilla rebrand enters design development stage

Possible design routes for Mozilla's new logo and visual identity
Of the seven design routes initially put forward by johnson banks and Mozilla, four have been scrapped, two have led to new ideas and one (circled) has been developed further

Mozilla announced it would be rebranding back in June and has taken the unusual step of documenting the creative process online. The company has set up an ‘open design’ blog and has been posting content at each stage of the rebrand, inviting discussion and critique from Mozilla’s community.

In August – after inviting feedback on possible themes for the new branding – the company announced seven possible design routes (which we covered here). Of these, four have now been scrapped, two have led to new ideas and one has been developed further.

Writing on johnson banks’ blog, Michael Johnson says Mozilla’s post on the seven possible routes prompted “hundreds of tweets, thousands of comments and perhaps hundreds of thousands of words of feedback. Plus many rounds of meetings at Mozilla offices across the USA.”

“Some of the critique has been pretty robust. But we expected that. So, we went away, regrouped, licked our wounds, decided what was useful feedback, what wasn’t, and moved forward,” he writes.

Tim Murray, head of Mozilla’s creative team, says the final four concepts were chosen based on feedback on the seven initially put forward, as well as “principles of good design” and Mozilla’s overall brand strategy. Protocol 2.0 is the only surviving option from the previous round – it uses a colon and two forward slashes as a reference to Mozilla’s role as a ‘building block of the web’.

protocol_type_swap

“By putting the internet http:// protocol directly into the word – Moz://a – it creates a typeable word mark, and by doing so alludes to Mozilla’s role at the core of the Internet (and hence the ‘Pioneers’ positioning). We’ve also beefed up the blue to the classic RGB #0000FF (as used by Netscape) to further enhance its ‘roots of the web’ credentials,” writes Johnson.

The typographic word mark could also be expanded into a typographic and pictogrammic visual language with characters swapped out randomly for other fonts and emoticons.

Protocol 2.0 uses a colon and two forward slashes as a reference to Mozilla's position as a 'building block of the web'

The Flame is a new design route which combines a pixellated flame with the letter M. Johnson says the flame acts a symbol for Mozilla’s “determination to remain the beacon for an open, accessible and equal internet for all [one of the key aims of the rebrand is to better reflect Mozilla’s internet advocacy work] and something that a community gathers round for warmth.” Pixels can be swapped out for code and the flame can be adapted to incorporate flags from various countries.

The Flame merges an 'M' and a pixellated flame The Flame could also be adapted to incorporate national flags

Burst is also a new concept. Jonson says it is inspired by Mozilla’s role in “recording and advocating the health of the internet” and experiments with data-led ideas. It is also loosely inspired by Wireframe World – one of the initial design routes put forward.

“As we looked harder at data sources we realised that five was a key number: Mozilla is collecting data around five key measurements as we type (and you read), and there are five nodes in a capital ‘M’. So we combined the two thoughts,” he writes.

“This creates a very beautiful, almost fragile idea that we know has great potential in online and animated forms. It also lends itself well to a set of interlinked images for Mozilla’s many initiatives.”

Bursts can be adapted to create symbols for sub-brands and different projects Like The Flame, Burst can be adapted for different regions

The final option, Dino 2.0, provides a link with the company’s now defunct dinosaur logo (a design that is no longer used externally but one that Johnson says there is “still a lot of love for” among the Mozilla community). The design builds on initial design route The Eye (pictured top), which has since been discarded, and uses a chevron and white type to suggest a ‘zilla’. The eye can blink and jaws can chomp, adding animated elements to the design scheme:

Design explorations using the idea of a 'zilla The Dino mark can be used to create a range of symbols for sub-brands The design combines a red chevron and white type

Murray says all four options will be refined over the next two weeks before being put through consumer testing. “We expect a brand identity recommendation to emerge in October,” he writes on Mozilla’s blog.

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