The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (2024)

By Joe Foley

last updated

From the wild original Twitter logo to Elon Musk's much-mocked X logo.

It might seem that the Twitter logo in its current form has been around forever. The blue bird design is well known and has even survived Elon Musk's takeover of the social media platform – at least for now. But the original Twitter logo was very different indeed.

While Twitter is now synonymous with blue – in more ways than one after the rollout of the Twitter Blue paid verification service, the brand's colours were almost a soapy, slimy green complete with a water droplet effect, for some reason. Here we take a closer look at the Twitter logo history from 2005 right through to the present day. To learn more about logo design, see our guide to how to design a logo. And for more social media logo histories, see our pieces on the YouTube logo and the TikTok logo.

The first Twitter logo: 2005 – 2006

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (1)

Is this the logo for a detergent? A sewer-based platform video game maybe? No, bizarrely this is the first Twitter logo. Quite a few of the tech and social media giants we know today had very different logos before they came to be well known (just see the Google logo for another example). The Twitter logo is another such example. This logo never made it into public use, and we think that's just as well.

Twitter was founded by Noah Glass and Evan Williams, who ran the San Francisco-based RSS-syndicated audio and video directory Odeo, Biz Stone and Odeo employee Jack Dorsey, who came up with the idea for what was originally planned as an internal messaging system for the company.

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (2)

One surprise in the early logo designs – apparently created by Stone himself – is the name. Originally Twitter was going to be called Smssy (yes, really), and then Twttr. Several designs had the tagline 'An Odeo thingy'. The first tweet posted on March 21, 2006, was a message from Dorsey that read “Just setting up my twttr".

The first official Twitter logo: 2006 – 2010

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (3)

The first official Twitter logo to reach the public showed the final name “Twitter” in light blue. The font was designed by Linda Gavin, with smooth, rounded sans serif shapes that merge together, with a white outline creating a bubble-like effect. It was very much of its time. The company also bought a small graphic symbol of a light blue bird from Simon Oxley on iStock for $15. Named Larry after the basketball player Larry Bird, this wasn't part of the logo initially (something prohibited by iStock), but it did appear as an icon on the website (see the evolution of the Twitter bird in the tweet below).

History of Twitter logo: “Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter,” says @stop #socialmedia 29, 2014

The Twitter logo evolution: 2010 – 2012

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (4)

Based on the existing bird image, Biz Stone designed a bird that Twitter could call its own. It had wings, a large white eye, and a sharp tail. He passed the idea on to designer Philip Pascuzzo, who took it up and, along with Douglas Bowman, refined the design, creating a bird that Twitter could add to its logo. The logotype was also updated and simplified with the slightly childish-looking white outline removed from the type.

Get the Creative Bloq Newsletter

Daily design news, reviews, how-tos and more, as picked by the editors.

The Twitter logo today: 2012 – 2023

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (5)

Finally, by 2012, the Twitter bird logo had become so well recognised that the company decided it could stand alone. It had reached the status of the Nike swoosh. The word 'Twitter' was removed from the logo, the blue colour was changed to #1da1f2 and the bird was refined by Martin Grasser in what was one of his first jobs after graduating from the Art Center College of Design.

Grasser is said to have drawn at least a thousand birds before achieving the proportions and simplicity he wanted. He sent Jack Dorsey 24 sketches, and Dorsey chose the winner (numbered '5CS', apparently) without a moment's hesitation. The Twitter logo design does not represent any specific bird, but Grasser has said it was inspired by a hummingbird beating its wings.

The shape is much more circular than a real bird – in fact, the design was formed by 15 circles superimposed in layers on top of each other, creating perfect curves in the beak, head, wings and chest. The bird is looking upwards, to represent hope, freedom and development, while the circles used to create it are said to represent connecting people and ideas.


The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (6)

After Elon Musk's Twitter takeover, he changed the logo – and it couldn't be more different from that friendly little bird. A stark 'X' has taken its place, signifying the end of the Twitter brand.

Musk chose the font from submissions made via Twitter. It appears to have been submitted by Sawyer Merritt, who says it was based on a font found online. In fact, it looks very similar to a glyph from the Special Alphabets – Unicode Mathematical Double-Struck Capital X.

Where the old logo was entirely based on circles, this is all lines. And with the bird and the Twitter name gone, we don't even known what to call tweets anymore. Time will tell what's up next for Twitter, both as a brand and a platform, but the X certainly brings a very different energy from what came before. It's 'very Elon Musk', as noted in our original article about the X logo design.

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (7)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (8)

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (9)

Joe Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news, features and buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment and software for creatives, from video editing programs to monitors and accessories. A veteran news writer and photographer, he now works as a project manager at the London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives. There he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing visual content and design assets for the hospitality sector. He also dances Argentine tango.

Related articles

  • The new Quiet Place movie posters are a huge improvement
  • Corona beer turns stock photos into clever optical illusion ads
  • The WNBA's Valkyries logo is full of clever design details
  • “Insane but not surprising”: banned breastfeeding billboard sparks heated debate
The history of the Twitter logo (and the X logo) (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jamar Nader

Last Updated:

Views: 5255

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jamar Nader

Birthday: 1995-02-28

Address: Apt. 536 6162 Reichel Greens, Port Zackaryside, CT 22682-9804

Phone: +9958384818317

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Scrapbooking, Hiking, Hunting, Kite flying, Blacksmithing, Video gaming, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Jamar Nader, I am a fine, shiny, colorful, bright, nice, perfect, curious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.