iNaturalist Brand Refresh

Hi everyone! I’m Abhas, iNaturalist’s designer. Over the past several months, I’ve been working on refreshing iNaturalist’s brand identity. This is something we decided as a team to approach for a few reasons.
The biggest one is scalability. iNaturalist is growing at a massive rate, and as we grow, our reach has grown as well. Organizations across the world present and share our brand, but because we currently don’t have any brand guidelines in place, our logo and wordmark are used in many different styles, leading to a bit of dissonance in what iNaturalist is and represents. This has become particularly confusing in the context of the international iNaturalist Network members, as several network members have logos that look so different from one another that it’s difficult to tell they are all part of one organization.
Creating brand guidelines is a great opportunity to make the iNaturalist brand more cohesive and “feel” more part of the same identity. Creating a standardized usage and structure for where and when to use our brand will help us as we continue to scale. These guidelines will provide clear instructions and examples for how to use the iNaturalist logo in different contexts, along with clarifying what is and isn’t permitted for logo use.
The process of creating brand guidelines has been a great opportunity to re-evaluate what we can improve about our logo (the bird) and wordmark (‘iNaturalist’ with specific typeface). The current iNaturalist bird is tricky to center since its weight is uneven, making it difficult to align in different contexts (such as in app icons and on potential merchandise). Additionally, the detail in the feathers gets a bit lost at smaller sizes. The current wordmark is custom-created and requires a bit more manipulation, making designing new network wordmarks more difficult and time-consuming.
You can see an example of what the branding currently looks like, and what it will look like after the refresh in the image above. We’re aiming to implement the brand refresh in November, so that the timing aligns with when we hope to finally release iNaturalist merchandise in time for the holidays.
We wanted to share this change in the forum first to give the community a preview of what’s to come, and because of our commitment to transparency. It’s definitely something new and different, but for the reasons shared above, we hope it will give iNaturalist a bit more cohesion, brand unity, and scalability as we continue to grow, and we’re thrilled to have you be a part of it.

29 Likes

I like it! I think the smaller eye looks better/more natural, as well as the shorter beak. Thoughts on making the bird’s beak and the lower leaf tip point to each other?

7 Likes

It might take a bit to get used to it, but I think I looks pretty good!

3 Likes

I consider myself a pretty frequent user of iNat, and the old logo and text has become super familiar to me. In total honesty, I’ll miss it!

However, I completely understand the necessity for more formal brand guidelines, especially with the exponential growth. Thanks for the detailed explanation in why the brand is being updated, @abhasm ! And I am glad that it’s staying fairly similar and it’s not too too drastic of a change. That hybrid bird leaf critter is way cool. :)

As @rangertreaty50 says, it will take a bit of time to get used to it, but I will!

~sam

10 Likes

Out of curiosity, what font family is the new wordmark in?

1 Like

It will take some getting used to, but I generally like it. I like the newer font that is a bit simpler (the curved indent-y bits on the letter tops and bottoms in the old font were never my favorite). I do miss how the leaf on top of the “i” and the bird mirrored each other in the old logo…reminded me of the unity of life. But everything evolves!

3 Likes

I love the new design! I like the new font better, and the bird icon especially feels more balanced. I look forward to the release! :)

7 Likes

I like it overall but i confess i am a little sad too… the old icon looks like a bird AND a leaf emphasizing that iNat is an all-taxa database. It also matched all of the ‘iconic taxa’ icons. The new one only looks like a bird and birds are the least understudied of any organism type imho. It makes me a little sad to see the leaf go away. But was it even intended as a leaf or is it my plant goggles again? :)

8 Likes

To me the existing bird doesn’t look like a leaf at all – it looks like a bird-daphnia hybrid! I like the new bird better.

4 Likes

Maybe it’s just my plant bias to see a leaf :). I agree if they are both just birds the second one is more birdy

1 Like

In the first one, the “dot” over the I resembles a leaf and is mirrored in the bird’s body. In the new one, the dot just looks like calligraphy, no longer leaf-like or mirroring the birds body.

Doubt I’ll ever be doing anything needing to use an official brand, so . . .

4 Likes

I always thought it was leaf and bird stylised together into one. The leaf dotting the i is the same shape, which I think leads to the perception.

The new one is a leaf too, just more of a wattle leaf!

4 Likes

Through my bird goggles the prior body clearly matches a leaf rather than a bird and I liked how the combo represented the site’s breadth. But the new serrations give a leafy feel to the wing so it still works that way. :)

5 Likes

FWIW I’ve been looking at the original logo for over 11 years and don’t think I ever really noticed a leaf (EDIT - although now I can’t not see it!). I agree with @kiwifergus that this new bird’s body looks pretty leafy to me.

2 Likes

The original chubby bird had a good run, and I think the new design looks great.

4 Likes

I really like that the far wing isn’t oddly cut off anymore, though I’m sure I will kind of miss the chubby old bird for a bit.

3 Likes

Thanks Sam!

2 Likes

The old version used a modified version of Optima, and the new one uses Novel Display.

5 Likes

I understand the need for the rebranding, but I personally liked the old logo as to me it had elements of many taxa; a leaf, a bird wing, a bumble bee butt, a rabbit ear, a daphnia, that all kind of hinted towards iNaturalist’s inclusive taxonomic emphasis. Now it just looks like…a bird. I will survive, but will miss the old chimera.

11 Likes

I did love that fat bird though.

9 Likes