The Twitter Bird Logo: Things You're Forbidden From Doing to Larry

Are you misusing the Twitter bird? Probably

Colored birds
via PhotoDune

After researching this article, we're not even sure we're allowed to use the Twitter bird logo at all, so we're just going to start this off with some pretty, colored, non-Twitter birds. (We cool, Twitter?) Or, crap . . . since it's an article about the Twitter bird, do we have to use it?

Anyway, like most companies, there are copyrights abound at Twitter. Some companies have internal stylesheets that reflect how they want you to speak about the company, and how images are displayed, and even how you can reference another business or human. Twitter has public ones.  Rules, rules, rules, right?

It's all good, though – if you put something out there publicly, people are bound to misuse it. They will also use it properly, but let's be honest – abuse will occur.

That's probably why Twitter, a pretty darn public and easily abused company, has a few rules of their own. To start, you've gotta capitalize the T in Tweet. Did you know that? Most people don't!

But when it comes to Larry the Twitter bird, 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. Twitter now goes by a symbol, like Prince, and it's pronounced "Twitter."

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:

  • Blue or white, that's it. Don't even think of making it red or green for Christmas, Larry doesn't believe in Santa Claus. Nope.
  • Don't bump the bird up against anything else. Twitter requires you "maintain a safety space that equals 200 percent the size of the square around the bird." Personal space ya'll.
  • Don't suggest a relationship. Unless you are affiliated with Twitter in any way and have their permission, don't you dare suggest Twitter has anything to do with you! Don't put your logos near each other, don't add it to contest pages suggesting Twitter endorses it, just keep that logo away from everything of yours.
  • Keep the bird upright. Twitter has easy to download files of the Twitter logo for you to use. But don't rotate it, for gosh sake.
  • Don't invite any feathered friends. Don't stick the Twitter bird in a flock of other birds. He especially dislikes penguins and crows.
  • Don't animate the bird. Larry doesn't fly, stop trying to get the guy to flap his wings!
  • 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.
  • 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.

Talk about micromanagement, eh? Just kidding, we totally get their angle. 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.

They're 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.

On the plus side, Twitter does want you to be able to promote them, so they 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.

But yeah, one more thing:

  • 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.

And that's more or less it. Want to know if you're screwing something up, according to Twitter? The answer is probably yes. Sorry.