Established in 2011, Twitch is a live streaming video platform for gamers that fulfilled a need the world didn’t know it had: on one end, the ability to stream your video-game-playing and, on the other end, the ability to watch other people play video games in real time (or after the fact). I think a lot of other things happen on Twitch but I would have no idea since I don’t use it but, OMG, 15-year-old-me would have loved whatever it is that is happening there now. Owned by Amazon since 2014, Twitch has, as of March 2019, according to one source, 2.2 million broadcasters monthly, 140 million monthly unique viewers, 15 million daily active users, and 241 billion minutes of gaming content that has been live streamed. Today, Twitch is introducing a new identity designed by COLLINS in collaboration with their in-house design department.
We started with color. Twitch is well known for its beloved purple palette. We aimed to build on this recognition by layering a flexible system of vibrant hues to showcase the expanding diversity of talent and audiences that are joining the platform.
Amplifying the uniqueness (and quirkiness) of their wordmark, creating a custom typeface, adding the graphic language of emotes and icons, as well as a photography style visualizing a “level up” approach to Twitch Creators, we aimed to invite viewers to enter this new world and be part of it.
COLLINS project page
Keeping the logo basically the same in this update is mostly a no-brainer: the logo is already unique, a little weird, and has a timelessness anchored in the clunky, low-resolution days of video gaming that make it, well, timeless and serves as a sort of common denominator no matter the genre of game. The blocky typography, paired with the hard shadow gives it that click-able sensation of pushing a digital button down that is passé in today’s UI trends but there is something very digitally primeval about it. All this to say, yes, the logo could have changed but it makes sense it didn’t. Also, can you imagine the uproar of 15 million daily active users reacting in unison to a new logo? No, thank you.
The new logo comes with various, beneficial updates that make the logo so much better. The main change being the tighter counterspaces of the letters that now so pleasantly also match the thickness of the stroke around the letters. The characters are a bit wider and bolder creating a stronger impression of the name. The angled notches on the bottom of the “w”, “t”, and “c” are all now in the same direction, giving the logo better rhythm. And, finally, the shadow is a little deeper, which I’m fine with our without the update. Overall, it’s simply a better executed iteration built for the next 500 billion minutes of live streaming.
The shadow can extend to include vibrant gradients that come in combinations that we’ve all seen plenty of times but when paired with the blocky logo, they take on a fun 1980s VHS tape vibe in static form while the animated version is like a little, 1-second gradient orgasm. #SorryNotSorry
It’s funny that even though the majority of games played on Twitch are these graphic-intensive, super-smooth pieces of gaming engineering nothing quite says “video game fun” like some innocent beeps and bloops along with some purposely crude animations.
The typeface choice is fine. Fairly straightforward with a few quirks here and there. For the flat-curve look I would favor Commercial Type’s Styrene but Roobert is a funnier name and probably slightly lesser used.
Here is where I start getting lost, not out of the fault of the identity but because nothing here has a lot of meaning to me. I mean, I understand these are user’s names and their avatars which I believe I understand they play a big role in the experience but, yeah, I start to show my age and not know what’s going. Still, fun.
There is really not that much in terms of actual applications… for now, it’s a lot of visual language and tone of voice. I would love to see how this applies to something menial like a business card or cover page of a PowerPoint deck but it doesn’t take too much imagination to picture it: lots of gradients, lots of purple, big logo, boom. Which is what we have so far, with the posters and social media posts being the closest to applications, and it’s all good. Twitch’s new About page packages all the new things one place too. Overall, I think the best compliment I can give this is that this looks the way the word “twitch” sounds: a little weird, a little techie, and a whole lot of either you get it or you don’t and while I do think I do get it I can’t help but also think “You kids get off my lawn!”, LOL. (I’m using LOL correct, right?)