Before there was Twitter and Facebook — and even before there was MySpace, so we are talking internet aeons here — the original social network was Friendster, launched in March of 2003 to the tune of three million subscribers within months of its release. Today it claims 110 million members worldwide yet, despite that high figure, it seems Friendster disappeared as the now famous and highly embraced social networks improved upon its premise and they all gathered their own millions of subscribers across the world — that is, except for the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia and, to a smaller degree, Australia where Friendster remains relevant and with a devoted following. Last Friday, Friendster relaunched its web site with new features, a new look, designed by Sydney-based Yellow Studio, and a new tag line, “connecting smiles.”
The old logo was as generic as possible, with a smiley face lacking any sort of personality and an unmemorable sans serif typeface. The new logo is, definitely, anything but generic and has reversed all identity traits from the original. Unfortunately not in a good way. The new logo is clearly an attempt to visualize the tag line, you know, by connecting and by having a smile at the end. It’s also meant to be youthful and exuberant — and while I may be old and not exuberant — I know sloppiness when I see it and this is just all over the place with its wacky loops and uneven lines. It’s a bad napkin sketch rendered in Illustrator. I like the idea of it, but the execution doesn’t make me smile. In fact, the smile at the end is rather creepy and looks as if it has been drinking Red Bull all night long. The perfectly smooth cloud shape that holds the lettering is too smooth and doesn’t relate visually or conceptually to anything.
The images above are from a launch party last week in Makati City, Philippines, showing a little more dynamism in the applications, even if it’s all for flair. This is definitely a case of me not being the target audience at all, probably explaining my reaction against the logo, but so is My Little Pony and I could still appreciate what they did. Surely, I won’t be making any new friendsters.