The Making of the TweetBacks Logo

So around 4:30 pm yesterday, I had originally planned to catch up on my emails and starred items in my Outlook. I had been meaning to do that for a few days now. However, that didn’t happen. Such is the case just about every day, I was easily distracted by something more urgent that I had not planned for in advance. What I will tell you is one of the strange coincidences that you’ll find working as a designer these days.

Around midday, multiple twitter friends posted about this new wordpress plugin called “Tweetbacks” so I checked it out and thought it was quite a nifty idea. The plugin basically adds “trackbacks” to your post from people who link your post on twitter. And it also tracks all the people that ReTweet it too. The plugin was created by Dan Zarrella in response to a Mashable article about how Twitter will change blog design in 2009. I followed Dan on twitter and gave him props on the plugin and wanted to give him a few suggestions. He gave me his AIM screen name and we chatted about how it could be improved. He asked me if I would be interested in doing the logo for him. I said of course!

Normally, when I design a logo for someone, I try to get inside their business and see what it is THEY see; what they envision. I have them write me some points about their target market and all that. But when I asked Dan those questions, he simply said “you are the expert at that stuff.” So then I looked at the time and it was nearing 5:00 pm. I had only 1 hour left in the work day and I decided not to make this a big production. I just wanted to bang out something quick and send it off to him. I already had the idea he wanted a classic “cartoony” twitter bird with a symbol that stood for “TweetBacks.”

This meant that I had to think fast. There wasn’t time for showing 3 logo concepts and explaining in any detail what they stood for. And this wasn’t your typical paying job. I was doing it as a favor in support of the plugin and he was going to credit us for the design and link to our site. So, I opened up Illustrator and started putting some stuff together. I knew that the way WordPress displayed trackbacks was with the characters […] surrounding the link […] like that. So I was going to do a spin off of that.
sq-almost-doneI decided to use {…} curly braces and make the dots sort of form a smile to add to the friendliness and social nature of Twitter. I chose the typeface Mercury Bold for my {..} because I just love the way it makes those curly braces.

The bird was just a few vector shapes pieced together and the color scheme was taken from the blue twitter bird he already had on his site.

I surrounded the artwork with a square box to make it more iconic that could fit well anywhere. At first it was just a blue box, but I wanted to add a second color, just in case he wanted to build a dedicated website around TweetBacks in the future, he could pull from my secondary color to accent various parts on the site. So the second color turned into a grassy hill under the blue sky.

And I chose the font Mrs. Eaves Petite Caps for the word “TweetBacks” because it fit nice under the square. I had the idea of using a solid serif typeface the whole time, so I didn’t put a whole lot of thinking behind it, other than it looked nice.

In the meantime, while I worked on his logo, Dan was busy wrangling lots of big blogs to post about it. He told me ProBlogger posted it and he was scheduled on Smashing Magazine the following day. I had better act quick if I wanted to get this logo up on his site for maximum exposure! So I saved out a proof and sent it off.

He loved it immediately! Whew, no revisions. It was 6:00 pm and my wife Kim, who works as office manager here, was just about ready to go. Dan said he Mashable was going to post about TweetBacks and he needed a black and white version of the logo. So I went back into Illustrator and made both a grayscale and black and white version and send the vector files off to Dan. It was 6:20 pm and Kim was patiently waiting for me. Thanks Kim!


So later that night I checked Dan’s blog and he had posted the logo and gave credit to Go Media as planned. So, that’s how a crazy logo design process can work sometimes. It was needed in an absolute hurry and he wanted something cool and sophisticated that represented his plugin well. It was my pleasure to be able to offer him my idea and carry it out. I like how it came out and I’m really excited to see it being used.