When is a bird not a bird? When it’s a trademark that has been manipulated and falls outside of the branding guidelines established by the trademark holder. In this case, Twitter.
Birds of a feather? Not for that poor Twitter bird: perhaps no other icon in modern business is both better known and abused well beyond the company’s style guide. Even more than the a couple of weeks ago, the icon for the social-media site Twitter comes in all shapes, sizes, and numbers − almost none of which are official or legal. If you want to have a good relationship between your organization and the folks at Twitter who have done so much to get news of your organization out to their millions of users, you best check out their corporate style guide.
One of but a few variations
The folks at Twitter offer one of the clearer online style guides in that they offer the only official Twitter icons and buttons one should use, and they list a group of Dos and Don’ts for each of the icons and buttons. For example, on promoting one’s Twitter account:
- Use one of the Twitter buttons as a link to your account online.
- Use one of the Twitter bird logos with your @username nearby in print.
- Write out Follow us on Twitter with your @username nearby when you’re unable to show the Twitter bird.
- Manipulate the Twitter bird.
- Use any other artwork from our site, such as the verified badge.
- Create your own buttons or images using our logos unless technically necessary, such as in signature bars. If you do, use this.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the branding guide is that it points out that all those icons of the letter ‘t’ that populate websites all over the world are icons non gratas. Even the ubiquitous ‘twitter’ word/icon is considered a breaking of the guidelines. And − like most any other social-networking platform − when you clicked the box to agree to the Terms of Service for your account, you agreed to follow the branding guidelines.