After years of not having a definite brand identity, Mozilla rebranding is now ready to unfold; to capture what the free-software community is about and what it can do. Years of research to come up with a solid identity has not been easy, but they are now making a bold step in terms of rebranding.
The Mozilla creative team has been busy since June 2016 going through several suggestions provided by the community and its users. After months of deliberation, Mozilla has released the top designs from which they will choose one that will represent the brand for years to come.
Why the need to rebrand Mozilla?
Mozilla wants to take bold steps in all of its endeavors, and the community movers are hoping that the rebranding campaign would encourage more online users to be part of their community. Without any clear branding, the community has become content with the different logo variations that Mozilla has been associated with, but the identity wasn’t stable.
Besides, how can any company or group survive without a clear visual identity of what it is?
The Mozilla Rebranding Process
Rebranding can be a daunting task to undertake. However, it can breathe new life into the business or product but it should be made with utmost focus on strategy, a clear vision on the process, and (most importantly) the right reasons.
In these points, Mozilla may be stepping into the right direction when it decided to finally do something and keep abreast with its competitors.
Not all of the Mozillians share the same reaction when they knew about the community’s intent to rebrand. However, Mozilla felt that it was time to take that crucial step in making the necessary changes that would make them come out strong in the end.
At the start of 2016, Mozilla has taken the initiative to start their rebranding process by documenting every step of the campaign online. Its Open Design blog lets everyone join in discussions and share suggestions that Mozilla may use for the rebranding. This has prompted thousands of comments and hundreds of tweets which Mozilla has taken seriously.
Unfortunately, the process of receiving and reviewing feedback coming from the community and the general public is taking quite some time to complete. Nevertheless, the people behind Mozilla believe that there really is no point in cutting the process short because of the need to sort through the boatload of suggestions and pinpointing which ones can work and which ones will probably not.
The rebranding process of Mozilla has encouraged people from all over the world to take part and share their thoughts on how the community should be branded. From its developers and Mozillian community members to its casual users – practically everyone was given the opportunity to share their opinions on the rebranding process.
This focus on feedback and community engagement is an unusual way for any company to pursue a rebranding process, but the people behind Mozilla are very hopeful that with the design process being publicly known, the comments and suggestions from the community can be of great help in finally deciding which branding to choose.
Being a non-profit community, Mozilla believes in an open-source Internet. Making the rebranding process public and transparent seemed to be the perfect way to start the rebranding ball rolling. The rebranding process is focused not only on the logo but also the entire visual system that will ultimately provide a more cohesive system to enhance user experience.
Elements of the Proposed Mozilla Brand
The seven brand attributes that Mozilla would like to be associated with their brand are the following: Activist, Inclusive/Welcoming, Innovated, Opinionated, Trustworthy, Unique, and Appealing.
People from different parts of the world took part in the survey on ranking the brand attributes, and evaluated each of the top four brand identity designs against each of the seven brand attributes. End users chose TRUSTWORTHY and WELCOMING as their preferred attributes.
Final Four Branding Options For Mozilla
Are you excited to know which ones made the cut? Here are the top four branding options – or what Mozilla calls as “routes” – for the community:
This design depicts the classic Internet imagery and revolves around the number 5, which signifies the five areas of “internet health” from which Mozilla is currently collecting data from. The design is made of 5 interlocking spherical shapes that create the letter “M” when connected together.
Among the four brand identity design systems, Burst came out as the top choice the initial survey. Its colorful design and rounded forms suggest the idea being “connected to one another”, which may have attracted more voters.
However, Mozilla developers and active members of the community did not have Burst as their top choice. One probable reason is that more than wanting to have a logo to represent Mozilla, the brand needs to demonstrate what the community is about and what kind of service it can provide.
Now on its second iteration, Protocol 2.0 uses a colon and two forward slashes, and represents Mozilla’s role as a “building block of the web”.
Mozilla says that incorporating the symbolic lettering of the Internet into the logo “creates a type-able word mark” and points out Mozilla’s online role as one of the pioneering browsers. The color blue has been changed since the original version to a much darker shade of navy blue, which is a reflection of the Internet when it started so many years ago.
Designers of this particular route are in the process of devising ways to make use of emojis and other letters to swap out characters.
Protocol 2.0 scored the highest among more than 700 developers and 450 Mozillians surveyed. These people know what Mozilla really stands for, and they say Protocol captures that essence perfectly. It clearly defines how Mozilla became one of the Internet pioneers, and the brand seems to preserve its history and legacy.
While this may be the exact image that active Mozilla members want to portray for the community, Protocol 2.0 lacks the warmth and humor that Burst has. The design of Protocol 2.0 may be more appreciated by tech-savvy users because they know what the design represents. However, for the eyes of a casual user, it may not be as appealing.
Compared to Protocol, Burst feels more modern, fresh and alive, and it seems to represent endless possibilities and connections. From the Mozilla creative team’s point of view, when the word “Mozilla” is taken out of the design, it may leave people to think what the design is all about and what it stands for. While Burst could be having the highest points with regards to appeal, the final design should clearly be identified to Mozilla.
Merging Protocol and Burst in a way that it can provide all the elements that Mozilla wants is an idea that the creative team is contemplating. Nevertheless, the team is still open for other options.
Flame is a design that shows a pixelated flame with the letter M acting as the symbol of Mozilla’s “determination to remain the beacon for an open, accessible and equal internet for all” and something that a community gathers around for warmth. The animated flame design can change and adapt to incorporate flags from different countries. There are variations of this design wherein the pixelated dots can be replaced by a code.
Dino 2.0 shows the defunct dinosaur logo of Mozilla, with the eye (like a reptile’s eye) created out of the “O” in Mozilla. What makes the eye attractive is that it blinks. Meanwhile, the jaws can move to add the animated theme of the design scheme.
Another variation has a more obvious image of the dinosaur’s head. Different colored chevrons may be used to signify that Mozilla is for everyone to use.
Neither Flame nor Dino 2.0 provided the right message that Mozilla would like to relay to the virtual world. Mozilla wants to be known exactly how the logo would represent the brand without any second thoughts that it is intended for something else. Because of this, Mozilla is not pursuing with either Dino or Flame.
This is one big design project that a lot of people are looking forward to. Mozilla is expectant that with this change, it will come out stronger and that they will be able to relay to the users who they are and how much different they are from their competitors.
All of the designs will be refined in the coming weeks before it goes out to consumer testing. The brand identity re-emergence is expected to come any time soon, hopefully before the year ends.
[All images come from the Mozilla Open Design blog.]