It’s a new era at Facebook: On Nov. 4, the tech giant unveiled its first-ever corporate logo, a wordmark meant to represent the company as a whole, including all of its subsidiaries—among them Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus—as well as, of course, the social media platform.
Facebook CMO Antonio Lucio said the idea of creating a unified corporate identity has been in the works since he started at the company, about a year and a half ago. Some of his earliest conversations with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were about “the need for the corporate entity, for Facebook the corporation, to have its own narrative, its own look and feel separate from the app.”
“The type of conversations that we need to have are topics of world relevance that transcend each and every one of the apps,” Lucio said. “Topics like election interference, information privacy, data management, but also issues like the positive impact that social media has on the world as well as the vision that Mark and this company have for the internet with the convergence of people, technology and information.”
Facebook announced the news of its new corporate identity to employees in a post on its internal Newsroom page, but many in the company—as well as users—were consulted during the process of creating the new wordmark.
Lucio described Facebook’s marketing strategy as threefold: The first priority is to rebuild the corporation’s reputation and public trust; the second, to “ensure that each and every one of our individual apps has the right voice with its right user base, with comprehensive experiences that people want;” and the third is for users to understand that “all these offerings brands are coming from the from the same place.”
Differentiating Facebook the company from the platform
Perhaps one of the biggest drivers in molding what the wordmark would look like is the desire to differentiate the overall Facebook company from the social media platform. Now a multibillion-dollar corporation with plenty of other properties under its umbrella—besides the aforementioned, there’s also the smart display device Portal, the Libra cryptocurrency and Workplace, its office collaboration tool—Facebook wanted to be able to have a separate identity that spoke solely to Facebook as a corporate entity.
“Our hope is that we will help people to develop a relationship with the Facebook company overall,” said Luke Woods, vice president of product design at Facebook and one of the designers behind the new visual identity. “We can help to provide people with clarity as they’re using various products, like WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus, that these are all part of a larger Facebook company.”
While this new wordmark is meant to differentiate Facebook the company from Facebook the app, it’s also meant to help people develop a connection with Facebook the company, rather than simply its standalone products—and to realize that all those products are in fact owned by Facebook. It’s a mindset that makes sense for a business that’s taken quite a beating in the public eye in recent years, thanks to numerous scandals, primarily centering around data privacy.
Using it across Facebook’s products, said Lucio, is an effort to create greater transparency for the average user of Facebook’s services, who might not realize that, say, Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook, the way legislators, Facebook’s clients, journalists and others would.
“The only group that has been a bit left out of this conversation was our people, our users,” he said. “Given the need for more transparency, the need for more authenticity, it was the right time to actually bring them into the fold as well.”
Creating a unified wordmark
The new wordmark is sleek and simple, putting “Facebook” in all capitals in a custom sans serif typeface. Every element of that typeface was designed to distinguish it from the iconic Facebook wordmark that is known around the world.
The new wordmark uses capital letters, while the Facebook app wordmark is lowercase. The new wordmark has rounded corners, while the app’s has sharper edges. The new wordmark has letters with a good deal of space between them, while the letters in the app’s wordmark are close together.