Once we landed on four new options, we worked with Creative X, Facebook’s in-house creative agency, to consider how these logos, along with the then-current logo, might come to life in marketing materials. Together, we imagined each version in the real world—how they might look in print ads, online banners, outdoor postings, and so on. Seeing a color exploration on a blank page is like interpreting it in a vacuum—it invites a limited sort of evaluation; seeing the explorations in real-world contexts helps us understand what they might mean in conversation with real environments, which are more complicated.
While we each had our own personal favorites from the four new directions, we knew that as designers, it’s part of our job to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and imagine how they might interpret what we make. But our new Messenger logo (like all of Facebook’s output) would reach billions of people, and at that scale, which includes people of vastly different life circumstances from countries around the world, we needed to rely on user experience research.
We engaged our qualitative and quantitative user experience research teams with our hypotheses about what each logo color option might mean to people outside of our company, keeping in mind our goal of establishing Messenger as a stand-alone brand, less associated with the Facebook app and more related to Instagram. After rounds of testing, research validated that what we were calling “ultraviolet” (second from left, above) tested positively against the attributes we were trying to communicate.