Twelve years ago, in 2005, three former employees of online payment platform PayPal opened a website to upload and share videos on. It was an idea so novel and so lucrative that a year later, they were acquired by and became a subsidiary of Google. This was YouTube, later to become one of the most prominent fixtures of the internet, today ranked as the second most popular site the world over. With the passing of years its media offerings and services have increased, developed and evolved. So to had its presentation; the logo has actually gone through four (minor redesigns). Now however, with the premiere of a new look for their website, comes a dramatic change in the logo too.

Changing an icon

Ever since its inception, the logo of YouTube, despite three aesthetic alterations, has remained the same: the name with the “Tube” part encased in the silhouette of a TV screen or “boob tube.” This was taken from the time when televisions were powered by vacuum tubes, but the main thing is that the name “YouTube” uses the imagery of a TV when, as a website, it has nothing to do with that. The company’s art department head Christopher Bettig describes the original logo design as “weird” on that account.

So when YouTube decided to finalize its visual overhaul of its desktop website design, which had been in beta testing since May, the company has decided to punctuate the occasion with a logo change. Now the screen graphic and the name are separate, the red TV (with a white play icon) coming first ad followed by the word “YouTube.” This shift was done with varying screen sizes of screens in mind, from desktops to mobile devices.

When a screen is too tiny the website can therefore abbreviate its name as the red “play-screen” alone.

Evolving brand

Christopher Bettig says of the logo change that it is symbolic of an evolution of the whole YouTube brand. It had started out as a desktop website then branched out into mobile, videogame console networks, and even the television set. It had also spawned a wide variety of spinoff services too under the auspices of its parent company Google.

Bettig, who hails from France and has been part of Google for six years, was the driving force behind the altered logo which really just takes familiar cues in a different spin. YouTube’s new brand marker goes well with the overhaul of the web design that is now the default look on both desktop and mobile versions. The changeover is said by YouTube to take from Tuesday to Wednesday this week.