The History and Story Behind the Facebook Logo

Social media is a very new invention in the grand scheme of things. After all, the Internet was popularized in the 1990s, which made a number of forerunners to social media services possible. One excellent example would be AOL’s member-created communities that came complete with member-created profiles. Eventually, Classmate.com showed up in November of 1995 before being followed by a succession of sites that bore an ever-increasing resemblance to the social media services of modern times. Of particular importance was the early 2000s cohort that included Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Friendster.

The exact way in which Facebook came into existence is a topic of much controversy. For those who are curious, Mark Zuckerberg was the one who wrote the code for Facebook, which was supposedly because the students at Harvard University were talking about a universal face book in those times. Soon enough, he was sued by three students who claimed that he had gotten the idea for Facebook when he was hired to write the code for a social media site for them, with the result that he stalled on their project so that he could get his competitor out before them. It seems safe to say that we won’t be finding out the full details anytime soon because the two parties eventually settled the lawsuit. However, there are messages that suggest that the whole thing was very much intentional on Zuckerberg’s part.

In any case, while Facebook started out as something limited to students of Harvard University, it wasn’t too long before it started spreading to other students at other schools in the United States and beyond. By September of 2006, the social media site had been made available to anyone who was at least at the age of 13, which caused the number of its users to further explode. Unsurprisingly, that kind of popularity brought in investor interest. Something that made it possible for Facebook to grow further until it became profitable in 2009 thanks to advertising revenues. Nowadays, while Facebook is far from being the sole social media service that can be found out there, it can be considered one of the most established examples, seeing as how it has managed to outlast more than one of its competitors.

How Has the Facebook Logo Changed Over Time?

Facebook is named for face books. In short, face books are directories put out by some universities in the United States that contain the names of students, the photos of students, as well as other limited kinds of biographical information. Primarily, face books are put out for the purpose of helping interested individuals getting to know one another, which can be rather difficult for students. By the 2000s, some face books were online rather than offline, thus offering their intended users more convenience than ever before. Facebook is called Facebook because it was supposed to be an unofficial version of a campus-wide face book, which saw interest because the official version had been delayed by privacy concerns.

Moving on, the Facebook logo has remained very consistent over time. The first version said “thefacebook” because that was what it was called in those times. However, it wasn’t too long before it had been switched over to something much more familiar in the form of “Facebook” in white letters enclosed within a blue rectangle. In more recent times, there has been a slight change to the appearance of the “a” in “Facebook,” but besides that, the Facebook logo has remained the same.

Color-wise, the Facebook logo has been using blue and white since the start. The choice of blue is interesting because there seems to be a couple of reasons why it was used. One, blue has a sense of cleanliness that is professional but not in a stuffy way, which makes it very well-suited for tech companies. Two, Zuckerberg has deuteranopia, which is a kind of color blindness that makes it difficult for sufferers to distinguish one color from another. Blue is an exception to this rule because it can be distinguished very quickly by people with deuteranopia, which presumably played a part in its eventual use. Meanwhile, white is a color of peace, of purity, and of cleanliness in western culture, which makes it a natural pairing for its blue counterpart.

As such, the two colors of blue and white show their greatest effect when they are used in combination rather than on their own. First, they give off an impression of youthful purity. Second, they create the impression that something is both free and uplifting. Third, they have strong connotations of brightness as well as lightness. Some people might be confused by that. However, it is important to remember that blue and white are the colors of the daytime sky, which possesses an outsized presence in the human imagination for excellent reason.

Text-wise, it is no coincidence that the Facebook logo uses lower-case letters rather than upper-case letters. This makes sense because lower-case letters have a very casual feel whereas upper-case letters have a very formal feel. Facebook is very much supposed to be the former rather than the latter when compared with something like, say, LinkedIn, seeing as how it is supposed to be used for light entertainment as well as for more casual forms of contact with both friends and family members. Under those circumstances, the lower-case letters are the most suitable choice for the Facebook logo.

Together, these elements have created a Facebook logo that works very well for what the social media service wants to be. On the one hand, it is casual and free-spirited, thus making it an appropriate choice for people seeking such an atmosphere; on the other hand, it is neat and well-organized, meaning that it stops short of the point of crossing over into sloppiness. The Facebook logo isn’t very complicated. However, it is exactly that sense of simplicity that enables it to communicate its intended meanings so well. Thanks to that, it is very likely that the Facebook logo will continue to remain more or less unchanged for years and years to come in much the same way that it already has. After all, every single change of import means a loss of recognition that will have to be built back up, so it is hard to imagine something new that will be worth such a huge hassle.


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