The Surprising Things You Can't Do to the Twitter Logo

Are you misusing the Twitter bird?

Cartoon birds with speech bubbles on wire
SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

Like most companies, copyrights abound at Twitter. The social media channel has set rules regarding how others can use its famous logo.

Brand Guidelines About

Some companies have internal stylesheets that reflect how they want you to speak about the company, how images are displayed, and even how you can reference another business or human. Twitter has public rules. As we all know, if you put something out there publicly, on some level misuse and abuse will occur.

This is why Twitter has a few rules of their own. To start, you must always capitalize the T in Tweet.

When it comes to Larry, however (yes, the Twitter bird has an official name), things get even more serious. After all, “Twitter is the bird, and the bird is Twitter,” Twitter wrote on their blog after their 2012 rebranding.

So, here are the rules, if you're ever brave enough do something with their logo (which you may not be after getting through this list).

Twitter's Icon Usage Rules and Regulations

  • Blue or white. Don't even think of making it red or green for Christmas. Some limitations with color printing may apply. With prior permission from Twitter, the logo is permitted to be displayed in black. Never fill it with patterns or multiple colors.
  • Don't bump the bird up against anything else. Twitter requires you to maintain a clear space of at least 150% of the width of the logo.
  • Don't suggest a relationship. Unless you are affiliated with Twitter in any way and have their permission, don't even suggest Twitter has anything to do with you. Don't put your logos near each other, and don't add it to contest pages (this can suggest that Twitter endorses it).
  • Keep the bird upright. Twitter has easy to download files of the Twitter logo for you to use. But don't rotate, alter, or modify it, for goodness sake. You also cannot skew, rotate, stretch, or change the orientation.
  • Don't invite any feathered friends. Don't place the Twitter bird in a flock of other birds, or any other creature, for that matter. Don't stack multiple logos, multiply, or contain in a shape, either.
  • Don't animate the bird. Larry doesn't fly — so don't try to get the guy to flap his wings! No talking or chirping, either. Don't apply outlines, drop shadows or gradations. Don't add anatomy (such as another wing or feet) or add elements, such as word bubbles.
  • Don't use any ancestors. Twitter requests that you also forget any and all other logos and birds previously in use by Twitter. Do not publish them ever. Only use the most current version of the Twitter bird.
  • Don't put the bird on the cover of your book. Even if it's about Twitter, don't use the logo. This also applies to other publications, such as education, instructional publications, guides, and conference publications. It also goes for any merchandise.
  • Don't emphasize Twitter's play in your promotion. Don't make Twitter's bird larger than your own logo.
  • Don't use the bird as your background. They know you love Twitter and all, but one bird is enough, and it's right in the top-center of your Twitter homepage.
  • Don't create your own "Tweet" and "Follow" buttons — Twitter says that unless technically necessary, you should be using the buttons they've created for you. And if you have to, use this version of the Twitter bird.

It may seem like micromanagement, but if people go around posting old versions of their logo, the internet will get confused. If people start using Twitter's logo within their own logos, Twitter apps will start getting more downloads than the native app. In short, they're simply protecting their brand. We don't know if they really follow up and scold people (except, probably, businesses-making Twitter apps) but the rules are in place for a reason.

Acceptable Usage Guidelines

On the plus side, Twitter does want you to be able to promote them, so they do have some "yes this is totally cool with us" guidelines:

  • Equal sizing — In print, you're allowed to use the Twitter bird next to your @username or say "follow us/me on Twitter." However, the logo must match the same size as your # or @ symbol.
  • Attribution — If you want to source a Tweet in print, you can do so by formatting it to look like a Tweet and putting the small Twitter bird logo next to the @username. The bird should be the same size as the text. Online, just embed the Tweet.

And that's more or less it. If you ever wanted to know if you're screwing something up, according to Twitter, the answer is probably yes.