Johnson Banks unveils Mozilla rebrand final route, chosen through open design process
- Jenny Brewer
- 18 January 2017
Branding agency Johnson Banks has unveiled the final route for its rebrand of Mozilla, the non-profit, open-source software company. In the spirit of the brand’s ethos, Johnson Banks announced last year that it would be developing the project in the open, regularly publishing updates on the design development and inviting feedback on its blog. In September, it revealed the four shortlisted concepts, and it has now chosen the winner: Protocol 2.0, a typographic logotype that uses the :// of website urls within the company name.
“After the second round of designs, the idea using the ‘://’ device and the typographic dinosaur head were clear favourites across most audiences,” explains studio founder Michael Johnson. The final decision was based on that feedback, taking into account the preferences of the “Mozillian” community and the client.
“We always liked this idea and enjoyed the ‘Dino’ route. But the use of an extinct creature wasn’t perhaps sending the clearest message, especially to those who didn’t know Mozilla’s back story, so our design task became to reboot the ‘://’ idea and borrow some of the chutzpah of the other routes.”
According to Michael, the use of the internet keystrokes in the logo resonated with the client and users, and once his design team pushed the idea, it evolved into a flexible system. “We were able to make the coloured bars allude to internet browser bars and we discovered that we could fill the bars with both type, messages, images, or a combination of all.
“Plus we had always enjoyed the thought that this was a logo you could type, as in moz://a.”
Johnson Banks worked with Typotheque for the font, chosen because “they had several slab fonts already that could be adapted, and [Peter Bilak’s] type foundry has a long and distinguished link to some of the earliest web fonts,” says Michael.
The final font is an adapted version of one that already existed, where the team has tweaked the angles and serifs to match the logo. It is based on a slab serif, chosen because “much coding is still done in typewriter-style fonts that have slab serifs,” and to move in a different direction to many of its competitor companies, which Michael says have moved to humanist sans serif fonts.
Image-wise, the design route moved from a mixture of pictograms and photographic, to a fusion of the two, described by Michael as a “digital collage” that represents “humanity, technology, connections, open-source, privacy,” and “the wonder, width and craziness of the web.” This was built from an online gallery of Mozilla imagery.
Now, Johnson Banks and Mozilla are sharing the chosen route as part of the open process and will be listening to feedback before finalising the design. “The guidelines haven’t started in earnest, the final logo’s haven’t been released, yet. I think it’s pretty much done – but – if some of the feedback pushed hard in one direction or another, they and we would react.
“It’s been fascinating process, involving thousands of views and opinions worldwide – the world’s first genuinely open-source rebrand. So we’ll be listening, and taking notes. Our next steps over the next few weeks are to turn it into a working design scheme and to partner with the US team on the roll-out.”
About the Author
After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.
Jenny is currently on maternity leave.