In the 15 years since Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, the platform has undergone more than a few costume changes. It has grown from bedrock clusters to measure the relative hotness of Harvard students to the electronic lectern for American politics. When Facebook applied for publication in 2012, Zuckerberg explained that Facebook was never intended to be just an app, or even just a company . Instead, it was built to do something much more ambitious: “to make the world more open and connected.”
The scorecard for that mission is plotted. But today, at least one thing is clear: Facebook, the company, is much more than just Facebook, the app – and it wants you to know it.
Facebook today introduced a brand design that will extend across the company's many products, such as a set of matching outfits for a family portrait. The Facebook logo now shines with new typography and an "empathetic color palette" ̵
“The new brand was designed for clarity,” writes Antonio Lucio, Facebook's head of marketing, in a blog post introducing the new designs. Another blog post about the company's design hub goes into more detail on how the team used "custom typography, rounded corners, open tracking and capital letters to create a visual distinction between the company and the app." This apparent belief in the world-changing power of a good font will be familiar to anyone who has ever read design design. "The subtle softening of corners and diagonals gives a sense of optimism," the reader is told, though it is not specified what we should be optimistic about.
All these design customizations provide a clear takeaway: Facebook is more than just Big Blue. It is the social technology that controls your life, from WhatsApp and Messenger and Instagram and Threads and Oculus and Portal and Workplace. Soon, if the company can navigate through a maze of regulatory and public perception challenges, it could also include Calibra, the digital wallet for its new cryptocurrency, Libra; one day it may even include a Facebook-branded brain-computer interface. In the future, who knows what else Facebook will swallow up. Whatever it does, you won't forget that it was built by Facebook.
Zuckerberg has referred to his empire as a "family" of apps for years, but recently, after a difficult couple of years at company, those family ties seem tighter than ever. Rebranding follows Facebook's plan, from January, to integrate the various messaging services on the backend, which would stitch together communications on Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. This summer, the company continued this assimilation by adding the Facebook name to several of the products it owns. Instagram became "Instagram from Facebook", as a designer collection sold exclusively by a large box office.
It was a curious time for a company currently facing several separate antitrust investigations, from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and 47 attorneys general across the United States. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has made phasing out Facebook's various acquisitions a big part of her platform. Even Chris Hughes, Facebook's founder, has asked regulators to break up the company, and has launched his own fund to support academic research and policy in antitrust matters.