After 12 years, Youtube’s art department has decided to change the look of one of the world’ top website, and innovator in the world of streaming videos and social media.
The new logo is taking the emphasis away from the word Tube – which originally referred to old TV systems with vacuum tubes – by simply becoming a play button. Much more appropriate to the video streaming internet platform that youtube is.
The website is also getting a makeover in terms of color schemes and functionalities for both the desktop version and mobile app.
The company is taking advantage of the attention gained by innovating its logo, by presenting a bundle of new features. After all, Youtube’s biggest challenge concerns remaining relevant in a world in which a new app or website might completely eradicate your fan-base, no matter how strong you are (just think about Instagram takeover of Snapchat). What started in 2005 as a single website, is now a family of different apps stretching across multiple platforms and collaborating with several companies and different services.
Youtube is branching out big time, and has done so over the past few years: YouTube Kids, Gaming, Red, TV, Music. Youtube couldn’t just stick to a tube centered “pun-like” logo, and had to come up with something more appealing that could apply to the variety of services and features it now offers.
The play button had been a significant element for Youtube for several years, before the company decided to make it its actual logo. “It’s an evolution, not a revolution” said Bettig who’s led the work into rethinking the logo. “Over the years, organically, that play button, that UI element that is front and center on every video, became a brand ambassador, an unofficial shorthand. […]“This thing has taken on a life of its own.”
After deciding on the new logo, the team went on to change the font YouTube was written in, by making it different and unique. “We wanted to keep the history, and the tension of a media typeface that was made in 1903 to be typeset manually with a digital platform that reaches farther than any newspaper of the time could ever conceive of.” And finally they chose a color-scheme based on red.
The goal of all of this is to make users immediately recognize when a service or app is part of the Youtube family, or directly powered by Youtube, which, nowadays, is often featured on a large number of third-party services.
Another important figure in the Youtube hierarchy, Manuel Bronstein, vice president of product management, is responsible for innovating the platform when it comes to better implementing formats such as 360 videos or transforming the video player so to automatically adjust to vertical videos, without leaving black bars on the sides.
Youtube is also experimenting with swiping: offering the possibility to swipe left to the next video chosen for you by their algorithms. And you can always swipe back to the right if you change your mind and decide to watch the previous video.