Indu Balachandran/Deccan Herald
July 27: Elon Musk sent all of Twitter aflutter, announcing his sudden change of logo. The famous little bluebird we loved since 2010 is being replaced by a mysterious X.
Not that Musk cares much that 200 million Twitter users worldwide have got somewhat attached to little blue Larry. After buying out Twitter last year for $44 billion Musk decided to kill two birds with one stone, streamlining his acquisition— chopping out 75% of his employees, and chopping down our daily quota of free Tweets. So killing off another bird is no big deal.
Disgruntled Tweeters are attaching negative significance to the X (Error/Danger/Death!) but Musk’s logo simply reflects his obsession with the 24th alphabet. His car is Tesla X. His spacecraft company is SpaceX. His AI company is xAI. His son’s nickname is X.
There are always interesting back stories of famous logos— who created them, and why. But mystery drives curiosity; the less said about a logo, the more people find meanings in the design. One famous internet-related logo which sparked multiple interpretations— intellectual, logical, or even biblical—is Apple’s apple.
When revealed, the Apple logo was seen as homage to Alan Turing, the father of computer science and AI. Despite his extraordinary genius, Turing was humiliated, prosecuted, and nearly imprisoned for being a homosexual. A depressed Turing was found poisoned and dead, just before his 42nd birthday— presumably suicide—with a half-eaten apple, laced with cyanide, lying at his bedside. The Bitten Apple logo seemed like a fitting gesture to the internet hero.
But another theory emerged: Newton and his apple, a story of inspiration and discovery. The first Apple design had rainbow colors but in random order; complementing Apple’s tagline: Think Different! And the bite? It stood for ‘byte’ of course, a popular computer term. Or was it all a profound biblical analogy: the Apple being Man & Woman’s first temptation to seek the unknown?
Well the real story is this. Steve Jobs was in the middle of an all-fruit diet, and simply decided on the fruit he loved the most. He briefed a logo designer, who created the graphic. But felt the apple may be mistaken for a cherry, and said: let’s add a small bite. Simple as apple pie!
Logos apart, with famous Internet brand names turning into verbs (‘Let’s Google it and find out’; ‘I’ve WhatsApped you the pictures’ ‘She’s been facebooking me’) it’s going to be hard not being able to say ‘He Tweeted the news today’. According to Elon Musk, from now we’ll be X-ing this or Re-X-ing that. Certainly doesn’t fly as easily as our good old Larry the Bluebird did.