Mozilla rebrand: seven design routes released for debate

In the next stage of its unique ‘open’ redesign process, Mozilla and design studio johnson banks have released seven possible design routes for the group’s rebrand

As we reported here, Mozilla, the not-for-profit organisation behind the Firefox web browser, has entered on an intriguing rebranding process whereby each step will be shared publicly. Earlier this summer, Mozilla posted a series of articles introducing seven possible themes for its new positioning. Each post outlined a different theme, with sample copy and a series of brand statements.

Johnson banks and the brand then gathered feedback online and at the Mozilla All Hands conference in London which helped refine the themes down to five (which are detailed here).

Using those verbal themes, johnson banks has now created seven possible design routes. They are:

Verbal theme 1: The Good Fight

Right from the off there’s been a desire to play to Mozilla’s non-profit strengths, amplify its voice and turn up the volume,” johnsn banks say. “Previously this overall direction was more about what Mozilla was fighting against – we’ve turned this to be more about what they are fighting for.”

 The verbal theme has been translated into a graphic route named The Eye (see above).
“Even though Mozilla’s old Dinosaur logo is only used internally, not externally, there’s still a lot of love in the community for all things ‘Dino’. What if we could find a way to use just part of a reptile in a dynamic new design?” say johnsonbanks.

Verbal theme 2: For the Internet of People
This theme is rooted in Mozilla’s belief in giving “people the power to shape the Internet” and to keep the internet open, always.

It leads into a proposal named The Connector

“Typographic experiments with the ‘Mozilla’ name led to this route – where the letters are intertwined around each other to create two interrelated marks, inspired by circuitry and tribal patterns,” johnson banks say.

Verbal theme 3: Choose Open
Again, this theme taps into Mozilla’s belief in the open web and the role its community plays in that

It is expressed in The Open button (see above)
“Mozilla stands for an Internet that’s open to all on an equal basis – but most people don’t realise that certain forces may divide it and close it off. How could we communicate ‘open’, quickly and simply? Could we find a current symbol or pictogram of ‘open’ and adapt it to our needs?” johnson banks say.

Verbal theme 4: With you from the start

This theme refers to Mozilla’s history as a champion onf the open web and its ongoing commitment to the founding principles of the internet.

It has been expressed in two possible routes. The Protocol (below) uses the URL language of a colon and two forward slashes to refer to Mozilla’s role as a “building block” of the web

While Wireframe World (below) looks at “a way to hint at the enormity of the internet, yet place Mozilla within that digital ecosystem”.

Verbal theme 5: Mavericks, united
“We bring together free thinkers, makers and doers from around the world,” say Johnson banks of Mozilla. “We create the tools, platforms, conversations, and momentum to make great things happen. We’re not waiting for the future of the Internet to be decided by others. It’s ours to invent.”

This theme also led to two possible routes.


The Impossible M
“We wanted to show the collaborative aspect of the maker spirit in a simple typographic mark. Inspired by both computer graphics and optical illusions, an ‘impossible’ design developed that also revealed a cohesive design approach across all applications.”

Flik Flak
This route was developed in parallel with The Eye “as we searched for animalistic solutions, but built characters out of consistent isometric shapes,”johnson banks say. “The more we experimented, the more we realised we could construct a character that also spelt out the words, Mozilla.”

All these routes – which are very much work in progress and not finished designs – have now been posted on Mozilla’s Open Design blog and, as you might expect, are receiving some robust critique from the community. “We have our opinions about these paths forward, our early favorites among the field. But for now we’re going to sit quietly and listen to what the voices from the concentric rings of our community—Mozillians, Mozilla fans, designers, technologists, and beyond—have to say in response about them,” says Mozilla’s Tim Murray.

He is asking users to tell Mozilla “Which of these initial visual expressions best captures what Mozilla means to you? Which will best help us tell our story to a youthful, values-driven audience? Which brings to life the Mozilla personality: Gutsy, Independent, Buoyant, For Good?”

Murray then explains how the process will work from here: “We’ll reduce these seven concepts to three, which we’ll refine further based partially on feedback from people like you, partially on what our design instincts tell us, and very much on what we need our brand identity to communicate to the world. These three concepts will go through a round of consumer testing and live critique in mid-September, and we’ll share the results here. We’re on track to have a final direction by the end of September.”

We will be following up on the next stage of this fascinating process in September.

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