Facebook Goes Icon Alone

Apple’s done it, Nike’s done it, Twitter’s done it, and Microsoft’s sorta done it. Is it Facebook’s turn? Is it testing out an icon-based logo?

At today’s event, Facebook unveiled what it has been working on for sometime: Graph Search. This third pillar of the Facebook ecosystem – the other two being the news feed and timeline – allows for users to search their social graph in its entirety. This includes friends, places, photos, and interests. However, the overall feature required an overhaul to the social network’s signature floating nav bar.

The upcoming nav bar features a few changes to accommodate for Graph Search. The three icons on the left of the old search bar (friend requests, messages, and notifications) have been moved to the left of your profile picture, and the new search bar has been stripped of its white input box to blend in with the background. The user’s name has been dropped (we should know it by now), and the blue background has been cleaned up a bit. But most importantly, the  “facebook” logotype that has been used since 2004 has been removed.

The new design brings a modified “f” logo, as it’s called in Facebook’s Brand Guideline. I call it a simple flat icon. And considering the magnitude of the company’s brand, this will work just fine.

Of course, Facebook is still going by its logotype everywhere else. Even the Graph Search’s promo video ends with the traditional ‘facebook.’ Still, it’s interesting to see this seemingly small change. Even if Facebook didn’t speak about it during the event.

This raises the question, is Facebook preparing to go icon alone? After all, the ‘f’ has become synonymous with the social network. It’s visible everywhere from billboards, to the back of your McDonalds bag. It’s time for the company to make the move and join the ranks of the world’s elite brands. Twitter beat it to the punch. Even Microsoft made an attempt mid last year, but didn’t have the grit to go naked and drop the logotype.

So what do you think? Is the new flat icon just for simplifying the navigation bar’s design? Or could we see an eventual company-wide switch? After all, icon-based logos are becoming another trend. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Jumpstarting a Design Community

Understand Your Compensation

Designer Monoculture

The State of Design Leadership

The Science of Product Design

Interview with Michael Flarup: Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Robocat

The Importance of Design Conventions