At a time when pretty much every aspect of digital design is shifting toward flatter, more abstract designs, Italian designer Roberto Manzari has released a proposal to vastly simplify the Twitter logo by reducing it to just a few geometric shapes.

The way that Manzari reduces the Twitter logo to just three shapes--two concentric circles, overlaid by a square--and yet still manages to evoke the look of a bird with its head slightly cocked is clever. But maybe it's too clever.

The problem with Manzari's Twitter redesign, though, is that it overlooks two of the core elements of Twitter's brand: whimsy and a sense of approachableness.

That's what makes Twitter's identification with a bird in both its name and its logo so brilliant. Comparatively, Manzari's logo is only a bird if you know to look for it.

It's not a logo that brings to mind a bird tapping upon your window; at best, it's an icon that brings to mind the staring eye of a bird that has frozen to death.

This Twitter Logo Redesign Takes Simplicity Too Far

Simple, flat digital design is in, but you can take those things too far. Case in point: this conceptual makeover of Twitter's cheery blue bird.

First launched in 2010, Twitter's icon--a cheery blue bird--has become an important part of the micro-blogging service's visual identity. At a time when pretty much every aspect of digital design is shifting toward flatter, more abstract designs, Italian designer Roberto Manzari has released a proposal to vastly simplify the Twitter logo by reducing it to just a few geometric shapes. But is such a vastly simplified logo really right for Twitter's brand?

"The main idea of this logo is simplicity," says Manzari on his Behance page. "As Twitter simplifies our ways of communicating, this logo reflects the value of Twitter giving it a recognizable and strong identity."


It's certainly a simpler design, so from that perspective, Manzari's effort is a success. In addition, the way that Manzari reduces the Twitter logo to just three shapes--two concentric circles, overlaid by a square--and yet still manages to evoke the look of a bird with its head slightly cocked is clever. But maybe it's too clever.

Generally speaking, the instinct to simplify a logo down to its core elements is a good thing. Good design, after all, is primarily an exercise in reducing an idea to its simplest, most elegant form. The problem with Manzari's Twitter redesign, though, is that it overlooks two of the core elements of Twitter's brand: whimsy and a sense of approachableness. Twitter isn't branded the way it is for nothing. The name is meant to evoke the feeling of hearing a flock of sparrows peeping outside--this idea that there is a joyful background conversation happening, and that you only need to open a window to be a part of it.

That's what makes Twitter's identification with a bird in both its name and its logo so brilliant. Comparatively, Manzari's logo is only a bird if you know to look for it. It takes the whimsy and approachableness of the original and crushes it into a mathematical abstract of flat geometry. It's not a logo that brings to mind a bird tapping upon your window; at best, it's an icon that brings to mind the staring eye of a bird that has frozen to death.


In his pitch on Behance, Manzari quotes Leonardo Da Vinci as saying, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Sure, but what does simplicity mean when it is applied to design? Simplicity in design is the purification of intent, not its destruction. Which is what makes Manzari's logo almost genius, but ultimately a failure. Twitter's logo should always be as identifiable and as approachable as a blue baby bird.

You can see more of Manzari's design portfolio here.

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37 Comments

  • Is it normal to pick up a design off of a random designer's behance page and present it as news? This redesign has literally nothing to do with Twitter's actual design decisions, it's just a hypothetical redesign this guy decided to do for kicks. I hate to think that every made-up project solution posted on behance is fair game for being shredded on fastco...

  • The twitter logo is already perfectly simple. It's just a bird in a single color. This logo just blends in with the thousands of other logos that startups and apps are using these days.

  • It's not an oversimplification. It's just a head that's not even really the bird's head from the side. It looks like the bird's head from a birds-eye view. Which is idiotic. Everyone knows the Twitter logo, this redesign is too much of a stretch. It's easily unrecognizable.

  • Twitter's current logo works just fine, as it's already been simplified to the max. I agree with Ari Herzog in that this looks like a Google Maps marker turned on it's side. Though props to Roberto for proposing a more simplistic design, however I personally think it's too ambiguous.

  • First, I'd argue the current Twitter logo is simpler than this re-design and it is IMMEDIATELY recognizable (unlike the re-design). Second, the Twitter bird is a lot lot the Nike swoosh - there is no confusion on the logo, the brand or the product/service.

    If I'm the CMO at Twitter I'd want to think really long and hard about exactly why the current logo needs to be changed...and on no planet or plane of existence would I pick this particular design over the current Twitter logo.

  • Greg Osborne

    I'm a designer and It took me about three seconds for my eye to see a 'bird'.

    Way too long.

  • Ram Kanda

    It's kind of awful. Let's remember that a rationale shouldn't supersede aesthetics when it comes to logo design. Reducing the shapes here is a scholastic endeavour – nothing more. The current Twitter logo is a recognisable a single colour. There's no problem that the new design is solving. The bird has been made more obscure and the playfulness removed.

  • A bit more contrast would help in my opinion. I'm all for simple redesign but instead of just keeping the idea of the bird I'd save the proportions of the old bird

  • Henrik Nielsen

    If they were to use this redesign, then they should defenitely move the middle dot a bit up to the side. In that way it would look more like an eye.

  • I instantly recognized a bird in the logo, but I must agree that's its too abstract and seems too cold compared to what Twitter wants to be about. It's an excellent exercise in style, but nothing more.

  • Visakan Veerasamy

    A thing should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. This seems a little oversimplified. Also, it requires 2 colors. The bird requires only one. So depending on how you measure simplicity... the bird might still be simpler.