For the past years, ever since it was first launched, the official logo of YouTube has been a pair of words wrapped within each other. According to Christoper Bettig, the YouTube art department’s head, they have put the word “tube” inside a tube, a slang word for a television set, which was used to be powered by vacuum tubes. However, none of the tubes or TVs are related to now the world’s second-largest search engine next to Google. Now, it has more than 1.5 billion active monthly users.
But the video-sharing platform had its major aesthetic makeover. YouTube’s logo has been redesigned. The emphasis on the word tube has been shifted onto the familiar play button, the iconic shorthand of the company. Apart from redesigning the brand logo, its interface will also be having a makeover. It will have a new color scheme as well as significant changes in terms of the overall look, feel, as well as the functionality of both its desktop and mobile app.
A sneak preview at another vectorized logo draft we've been working on. Looks like we're getting closer to the final version… 👀 pic.twitter.com/13M8tC7Uyh
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While the change of logo is the most significant in the history of the video-sharing platform, it cannot be considered as a complete transformation. Betting would like to call the change an evolution rather than a revolution. In addition, the company announced that it will be getting a bunch of new features, planned changes, as well as ongoing experiments. YouTube’s new look serves as the ribbon that ties these moves together, emphasizing the company’s significant shift from being a unique website to a family of various apps that reaches multiple platforms.
YouTube’s design and interaction team faced a challenge when they first launched the redesigned version of the platform years ago. They were not sure how a host of products with diverse audiences and uses would be tied together. Still, what was once a unique website that can only be accessed by desktop users now has its own mobile app that is accessible in tablets, phones, and even smart TVs. In addition to this development, YouTube is no longer a singular brand. Instead, it now has a family of services– YouTube Kids, Gaming, Red, Music, and TV.
According to Bettig, they have felt as if they were missing the mark because of all the growth that happened. For this reason, they wanted to create a visual language that would represent YouTube in a way that individuals would easily recognize.
Bettig, a Frenchman who once joined Google, was in charge of redesigning YouTube’s logo. Because the video-sharing platform was becoming an entire family of services along with its adaptation to every screen and video format, Bettig, along with his team, experimented with a dynamic brand. Bettig and his team had a symbol that loosely reminds them of the letter Y. However, it would always be changing, animated, and will pull color samples from whatever video one is watching. All these dynamic elements would intersect.
The approach mentioned above worked well when the design team mocked it up on a white wall inside their studio as well as in their simple prototype apps. However, when used in the actual product, the designers found out that the approach is not going to work. In the end, they have decided to keep things simple. They redesigned the logo yet relied on its existing iconography that already signifies the brand.
So, the team decided to keep YouTube’s iconic play button and wordmark. Still, they agreed to modernize it. It can be recalled that the typeface of the old logo was an alternative gothic number two from 1903 that has been manually tweaked. The U in the Tube is different from the U in the U, so they do not precisely line up when overlayed. But now, Bettig’s team had the chance to clean things up.
Bettig’s team disregarded the old typeface and designed a new one of their own. They experimented with fonts that are based on several styles from the VHS era, classic television, and some more modern looks. In the end, they came up with something that allowed them to retain the essence of the print.
Also, the design team updated the color of the iconic play button and tried to look for something that would tie to the videos. So, they settled to use the #FF0000, a pure red that goes along with the RGB of video.
This new font, color, and logo are what YouTube users see today in both the desktop and mobile apps. In addition to the new logo, the desktop and mobile apps were also updated to line them up with the Material Design aesthetic that Google’s properties, such as Android, Docs, and Search, have. According to the design lead for video viewing and navigation Robert Thompson, moving YouTube to the Material means that there will be fewer boxes, shadows, and forms on every page, making the site more comfortable and improving its readability. The move to Material also aids in weaving a common design language across the universe of apps that continuously expands.
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Along with the logo and design, improvements are some added features. YouTube now has different speed playbacks for the mobile app. The mini-player, which allows you to browse over the list of videos while the current one is playing, is only accessible through YouTube’s mobile app. However, the team decided to integrate this feature into the desktop web browser as well.
In addition to these features is the one that lets users rewind or fast forward by double-tapping on the screen. YouTube also experimented with a new approach when it comes to mobile browsing. Users can simply swipe left to go to a new video based on the platform’s video recommendation algorithm. And if users want to watch the last video they have finished viewing, they can simply swipe right to find it again. Needless to say, the people behind YouTube are finding ways to make the platform more comfortable for users.
Date: May 8, 2020 / Categories: News, / Author: E O