In the 15 years since Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, the platform has undergone more than a few costume changes. It is a branch of Hong Kong dorm rooms to measure the relative heat of Harvard students and the online pulpit of American politics. When Facebook went public in 2012, Zuckerberg explained that Facebook was never just an app or even just a company . Instead, it was created to do something much more ambitious: "to make the world more open and connected."
The scoreboard for this mission is ticked. But today at least one thing is clear: Facebook, the company, is much more than Facebook, the app – and it wants you to know.
Facebook today introduced a redesign of the brand, which will extend to many of the company's products, as a set of matching family portrait outfits. The Facebook logo now shines with new typography and a "compassionate color palette" ̵
"The new brand was created for clarity," wrote Antonio Lucio, Facebook's chief marketing officer, in a blog post presenting new designs . Another blog post at the company's Design Center describes in more detail how the team uses "custom typography, rounded corners, open tracing and capitalization to create a visual distinction between the company and the application." This apparent belief in the changing power of the world of good font will be familiar to anyone who has ever read a design resume. "The slight softening of corners and diagonals adds a sense of optimism," the reader says, though it is not specified what we should be optimistic about.
All these design changes add to one clear departure: Facebook is more than Big Blue. It's the social technology that drives your life, from WhatsApp and Messenger, Instagram and Threads and Oculus, Portal and Workplace. Soon, if a company can navigate the maze of regulatory and public perception challenges, it may also include Calibra, the digital portfolio for its new cryptocurrency, Libra; one day, it may even include Facebook-branded computer-brain interface. In the future, who knows what else will swallow Facebook. Whatever you do, you won't forget that it was created by Facebook.
Zuckerberg has described his empire as an "app family" for years, but recently, after a difficult few years in a company, these family ties seem narrower than ever. The rebranding follows Facebook's January plan to integrate its various back-end messaging services, which will link communication to Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. This summer, the company backed that assimilation by adding the Facebook name to more of the products it owns. Instagram has become "Instagram by Facebook" as a designer collection sold exclusively by a large department store.
It was a curious time for a company that is currently facing several separate antitrust investigations by the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and 47 attorneys general in the United States. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has made various Facebook acquisitions a major part of her platform. Even Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, called on regulators to split the company and set up its own fund to support academic research and policy on antitrust law.