About a week ago, I was browsing through a salon and hair product shop at a nearby outlet mall, when a very familiar design caught my eye. The Twitter bird was part of the design of Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree products.
My first thought was “wow, Paul Mitchell stole Twitter’s logo,” so I quickly took some shots with my cell phone.
And here is Twitter’s design:
It’s also available in a free wordpress theme called “Blue Bird” by Randa Clay.
Upon further research, I discovered that the blue bird originated from a stock image that Twitter used and probably didn’t buy the exclusive rights to. In fact, the blog twistermc mentions that the iStockPhoto user helloyiying created both the bird and the fail whale. Both images are no longer available, so I assume that someone now has the exclusive rights.
Did the Paul Mitchell company intentionally “steal” the logo after Twitter exploded? Probably not, though I have no idea who bought the image first. But it definitely got my attention in a room full of shampoos, and I’m sure others have noticed, too.
So the question is: does this matter? Who owns the rights now? The Twitter bird has become a big part of the Twitter brand. Enough people associate Twitter with the image and even display the bird on their own websites to publicize their Twitter pages (including the badges I created). Should companies like Twitter make sure that prominent images to their brand are not used as logos/designs for other brands?
What do you think?