Facebook has launched a new company brand of the same name (this time in capitals) to differentiate the company from the app, which will continue using its current logo and branding.
The new branding aims to make Facebook’s ownership of other apps and products – including Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus and Portal – clearer to users. This follows a decision made in June to add the tagline ‘from Facebook’ within all of Facebook’s apps and services.
The new identity includes a capitalised wordmark in a bespoke typeface and an ever-changing colour palette that will adapt depending on the product it appears on. It was carried out by Facebook’s internal design team in collaboration with UK-based type foundry Dalton Maag and brand consultants Saffron.
Over the coming weeks, Facebook will start using the new brand within its products and marketing materials, including a new company website. In a post on Facebook’s blog, Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer said: “This brand change is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services.”
In another article explaining the thinking behind the new look, Facebook’s design team said the rebrand was built on three “design behaviours”: ‘clarity’, ’empathy’ and ‘creating space’. The aim – according to the team – was to create a brand that “simplifies and builds understanding”, is “respectful of context and environment” in which it operates and creates space for sharing people’s stories.
With its use of capital letters, a custom font and rounded corners, the word mark is designed to make a clear distinction between company and app, which uses a lower case word mark in a bold sans font.
“We designed the new company wordmark with clarity and openness in mind. It’s built on a stable structure through the use of consistent stroke width, harmonised capital letters and a horizontal emphasis. The generous spacing and open letterforms allow clarity at small sizes, and the subtle softening of corners and diagonals adds a sense of optimism,” said the team.
Art direction will see the new logo appear alongside photography which captures a sense of “emotional connection”, with examples showing people of various ages, from kids to teens and older adults.
While it’s a positive step to help users understand Facebook’s structure, the rebrand is also a reminder of the huge reach and power that Facebook has.
The identity has launched at a challenging time for the company: last week it was announced that Facebook was being sued over the logo design of its currency platform, Libra, and the Federal Trade commission imposed a $5 billion fine on the company over its handling of data in July this year. Facebook has also been under increasing pressure to review its policy regarding political ads following Twitter’s decision to ban them.
Campaigners in the UK published an open letter urging both Facebook and Google to suspend political ads ahead of the general election on December 12, and the New York Times published an open letter to Zuckerberg by the writer Aaron Sorkin last weekend, in which he criticised Zuckerberg’s comments that banning ads would limit free speech.
The rebrand certainly helps distance Facebook the company from Facebook the app on a visual level and signals a fresh start and a move towards greater transparency. Whether it will have much impact on people’s feelings towards Facebook the brand – and stop people confusing the app with the wider company – remains to be seen.