- Facebook announced plans for its own cryptocurrency,Libra, on Tuesday.
- The announcement came complete with a logo featuring the currency’s new symbol: three wavy lines stacked on top of each other.
- According to the logo designer Debbie Millman, it’s “completely generic.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
All eyes are on Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, Libra, though when it comes to its logo, some are squinting.
The emblem (released on Tuesday in tandem with the big announcement) consists of three tildes (~) placed on top of each other. We asked the designer Debbie Millman, the author of “Brand Thinking” and host of the “Design Matters” podcast, to give us her professional take on it. Millman, who has helped redesign logos for brands like Starbucks, Hershey’s, and Dunkin’ Doughnuts, was less than impressed with the results.
“While it is a solid, respectable mark that will probably look ok in a financial scenario of any sort, I would have liked it to have been something that embedded a little more creativity and spirit,” she told Business Insider by phone.
“It looks like something between a hamburger menu and an almost equal sign,” Millman said, referring to the striped button that typically leads to a drop-down menu on websites. The logo’s resemblance to an approximately equal sign (≈) is disquieting for Millman, who expects a sense of precision when it comes to currency exchange.
The main issue is the logo’s ambiguity. Millman likened the three wavy lines to “a stack of paper that’s been left out in the rain.”
Facebook unveiled the project after working on it for more than a year. Its goal is to give people without bank accounts access to money. Payment giants like Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal have backed the venture, which is set to launch in 2020. And while Millman likes the idea behind the project, she said much is left to be desired on the visual side.
“I’m scratching my head and thinking, ‘Here’s an opportunity, you’re supposedly creating a new kind of currency – shouldn’t you be creating a new kind of symbol that created intrigue and captured the imagination of the culture?'” she said. “It didn’t do that.”
Libra is supported by the Facebook subsidiary Calibra, its digital wallet. Starting in 2020, users will send and receive Libra currency through the Calibra app. The Calibra logo, a single tilde with a circle around it, is already under scrutiny for looking suspiciously like Current’s (another fintech firm). Current’s CEO, Stuart Sopp, told CNBC, “This is a funny way to try and create trust in a new global financial system – by ripping off another fintech firm.”
According to Millman, currency symbols need to be unique. She compared Libra’s symbol to the US dollar sign ($), which is said to have been composed of a “U” and an “S” superimposed on one another, until the “U” disintegrated into two parallel lines. It was this kind of Easter egg that Millman was hoping for but didn’t get.Easter eggs abound in logos. The FedEx logo is hiding a white arrow to denote speed. The Amazon logo is hiding a meaning in its own arrow – literally pointing from A to Z, implying you buy anything from A to Z on the site.
But Millman couldn’t find any further layers of meaning in the Libra logo. She also said the letters in the brand name are made of a simple, clean lowercase font, which happens to be in vogue these days.
“It’s completely generic. It’s the kind of thing you could see on a soft drink and think, ‘Oh, could it mean that it’s got bubbles in it?'” she said.
Still, Millman isn’t a complete critic. She likes that it’s easily replicable and can be drawn quickly. “It doesn’t require a lot of explanation in terms of making it. It’s not like the NASA logo, which is gonna require really remembering the various elements in the mark,” she said. “This is an easy thing to remember.”
So at least it’s got that going for it.
This post has been updated to include the comment from Current CEO Stuart Sopp.
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