Twitter users around the world woke up on Thursday to the fact that the look of the microblogging site changed. The text not only appears in a brand new font, named after the iconic logo of the company, but other design changes have led to a host of complaints and confusions.
Chirp, Twitter's proprietary font, is developed by Grilli Type Foundry, a Swiss indie brand specialising in making typefaces. The plan was announced as early as January by Donna Lamar, the executive creative director of the company, in a blogpost. "Chirp strikes the balance between messy and sharp to amplify the fun and irreverence of a Tweet, but can also carry the weight of seriousness when needed," she wrote.
Indeed, Twitter is already going hammer and tongs with marketing Chirp, but it may still not cut it with a large section of its user base. As the blogger and app researcher Jane Manchun Wong noted,
A cursory scroll through the microsite confirms that the overwhelming mood on Twitterverse isn't exactly jubilatory. Since Thursday morning, irate tweeple have not only dissed the new font but also complained about the changes in design and colour template.
The new Follow button, for instance, appears against a black background, while the Following option is in white. Intuitively, this is making users unfollow some of the handles they are already following and following others they do not wish to. The design team at Twitter seemed to have quite another perspective on the matter when it implemented this change, though.
Our new buttons are high contrast too.— Twitter Design (@TwitterDesign) August 11, 2021
Now the most important actions you can take stand out. Yes, the follow buttons look different, but they’ll help you see what actions you’ve taken at a glance.
Unfortunately, the new colour schemes are also not ideal for those who are visually challenged or even for heavy users of the platform. Not only the font and colour templates making legibility difficult but also causing eye strain and headaches in some.
This is the opposite of accessible. I guess people with visual impairments are just expected to not use Twitter now? Please give us the option to change fonts in accessibility settings because we literally cannot read sentences without getting eye strain and headaches.— Janzuun (@Janzuun) August 11, 2021
While many have volubly spoken against these alterations in ust outrage, some chose a succinctly visual mode of disapproval.
Typography is crucial to a brand for establishing its distinctive identity and building up its user base. Twitter with its new look may score in terms of its instant recognisability, but not in the way it really wants to.