Mozilla Rebranding – Feedback on “Protocol”

Note: If you are not aware that Mozilla is currently undergoing an open rebranding process, check out my previous post.

September is here! Apart Back to School we also expected news from the Mozilla Rebranding front. Out of the original 7 proposals, we are introduced with 4 revised ones, reflecting the feedback from the first round. I won’t cover this part too much as our friends from johnson banks did that already. Instead I will chime in with my feedback regarding the new proposals.

Filtering out

As many others might have pointed out as well, I am a strong fan of the Protocol proposal. I believe it has a lot of potential if used right and offers a lot of flexibility. More to this later.

  • Dino 2.0? Nice to have a little trip down memory lane, but let’s not bring it back to life again, shall we? It’s also way too playful in my book.
  • Burst & Sparks? Sorry, but I don’t get this here. Its idea is far-fetched and its implementation is really disadvantageous. Let’s strike this off.
  • Pixel Flame? Interesting! While I do think it’s a bit too detailed (maybe less dots) people have pointed out that it resembles the Tinder logo. I can understand that, but at the same time… it’s a flame. Society has a problem when the first thing you think about when seeing a flame icon, is Tinder. I like also the idea here about the Flame (although a bit too overused). I think the execution could be improved here as well (let’s not forget we are creating stuff for the web here, not exclusively Print. And well, sometimes the web is on your smartwatch. Sometimes your smartwatch is really small as well!). The font choice for the wordmark seems also pretty random here. In overall, a good proposal but lacks quite a few things to be considered yet.

For me personally it’s clear that the Protocol route will be the one we should pursue here. True, there is quite a lot to evaluate and adapt here, but we can get there. Let’s have a look.

According to Protocol

So let me give you a few reasons why the Protocol route can work out as a concept:

  • It is a reminder of our early internet roots
  • It speaks to our early supporters
  • It’s enough tech-y for a mainstream audience (the wordmark looks as if it’s typed out)
  • The play on the :// is brilliant
  • The stroke background for letters look like building blocks in longer words. Really good.

Having said that, there are various concerns I have with the design at this stage. Let me summarize them here:

  • I still don’t understand the obsession with fully saturated colors. It might make sense for an old computer blue screen but otherwise? No, I’d rather not.
  • Technical people might point out the fact that the M should be lowercase (according to protocol names). This might help with consistency from our previous Mozilla Wordmark (which was lowercase) but might be a little bit annoying as there will be no height difference in the m anymore, to offer some variation in the letter’s stroke. Not a deal-breaker though.
  • The font used here is not open source. Now THIS is a deal-breaker. We moved from Meta to Fira Sans in 2013 in order to switch to an open font (Meta is proprietary). If we would go back to a proprietary font now, we would basically toss Fira Sans in the trash bin. I don’t know about you, but I love Fira Sans and don’t want it to go anywhere yet, especially when it’s supposed to leave its spot to a proprietary font

So I decided to try my hands on it, keeping these points in mind. While this is nearer to our old identity, I believe it is a good mix between consistency and a new face.mozprotocol-01 mozprotocol-02 mozprotocol-03 mozprotocol-04 mozprotocol-05

But wait, there’s more! I also drafted out a proposal using a Slab Serif font (to match the font style of the proposal by johnson banks). I used Aelo here, which is an open font, but same principles apply here as well. I do think that a Slab Serif font might be a very nice direction for the Mozilla brand, there are however some technicalities which need to be dealt with (upper or lower-case M, extended character set, etc). Also, there aren’t any open Slab Serif fonts out there with the quality of Fira Sans. Would be exciting if Mozilla decides to change this. Fira Slab anyone?

mozprotocolslab-01 mozprotocolslab-02 mozprotocolslab-03 mozprotocolslab-04 mozprotocolslab-05


So this is my rough take on it! In true open source style, remixed from the original proposal with changes I see fit. Obviously, this is a small part of what’s possible with the direction, but it should be enough to wake your gut feeling. What do you think?