Reticulating Splines
Aug112014

What is a Living Brand?

Today, we’re starting the Mozilla ID project, which will be an exploration into how to make the Mozilla identity system as bold and dynamic as the Mozilla project itself. The project will look into tackling three of our brand elements – typography, color, and the logo. Of these three, the biggest challenge will be creating a new logo since we currently don’t have an official mark at the moment. Mozilla’s previous logo was the ever amazing dino head that we all love, which has now been set as a key branding element for our community-facing properties. Its replacement should embody everything that Mozilla is, and our goal is to bake as much of our nature into the visual as we can while keeping it clean and modern. In order to do this, we’re embracing the idea of creating a living brand.

A living brand you say? Tell me more.

mtv4

Image from DesignBoom

I’m pleased to announce you already know what a living brand is, you just may not know it under that term. If you’ve ever seen the MTV logo – designed in 1981 by Manhattan Design – you’ve witnessed a living brand. The iconic M and TV shapes are the base elements for their brand and building on that with style, color, illustrations and animations creates the dynamic identity system that brings it alive. Their system allows designers to explore unlimited variants of the logo, while maintaining brand consistency with the underlying recognizable shapes. As you can tell through this example, a living brand can unlock so much potential for a logo, opening up so many possibilities for change and customization. It’s because of this that we feel a living brand is perfect for Mozilla – we’ll be able to represent who we are through an open visual system of customization and creative expression.

You may be wondering how this is so open if Mozilla Creative will be doing all of the variants for this new brand? Here’s the exciting part. We’re going to be helping define the visual system, yes, but we’re exploring dynamic creation of the visual itself through code and data visualization. We’re also going to be creating the visual output using HTML5 and Web technologies, baking the building blocks of the Web we love and protect into our core brand logo.

OMG exciting, right? Wait, there’s still more!

In order to have this “organized infinity” allow a strong level of brand recognition, we plan to have a constant mark as part of the logo, similar to how MTV did it with the base shapes. Here’s the fun part and one of several ways you can get involved – we’ll be live streaming the process with a newly minted YouTube channel where you can follow along as we explore everything from wordmark choices to building out those base logo shapes and data viz styles. Yay! Open design process!

So there it is. Our new fun project. Stay tuned to various channels coming out of Creative – this blog, my Twitter account, the Mozilla Creative blog and Twitter account – and we’ll update you shortly on how you’ll be able to take part in the process. For now, fell free to jump in to #mologo on IRC to say hi and discuss all things Mozilla brand!

It’s a magical time for design, Mozilla. Let’s go exploring!