Every day, we are talking about Elon Musk and his new social network formerly known as Twitter. In a twist of events that some had already foreseen, the new CEO has revamped the platform of the blue bird to turn it into an X.
Although we can talk a lot about the X, starting with the fact that Elon Musk has changed its design three times in just two days, and also considering that Meta holds the intellectual property of that logo for an app very similar to what Elon wants to transform the current Twitter into, today we are going to talk about something else.
Specifically, we will discuss the meaning behind the symbol chosen by Elon Musk for his social network, the history behind it, and what the particular symbol signifies, as it is not just any ordinary design.
An X with a long history
The new Twitter logo is not just any X; it is a very specific form of X with a meaningful history.
The iconic blue bird logo that the site had been using since 2012 is no more. To bid farewell to the logo, its co-creator Martin Grasser shared an intriguing thread on how they designed it. He explained that it was constructed as a geometric diagram, based on 15 overlapping circles.
The new logo is not just any X; it is an uppercase 𝕏 with a double stroke. Although this character can be found in various specialized fonts like Monotype Special Alphabet 4, it is also a Unicode character, at code point U+1D54F (if your hexadecimal is rusty, it’s 120143 in decimal).
There is a whole set of double-struck characters in Unicode 3.1. Double-struck letters, also known as blackboard bold, have specific meanings in mathematics, some of them related to set theory.
The uppercase 𝕏 is sometimes used to denote an arbitrary metric space, for example.
900 logo patents
Those familiar with the X.org logo, the guardians of the X Window System, which will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary, may also find the design familiar, with a thin stroke ascending but a wide stroke descending, although that logo is already inadequately protected as it is.
X.com, owned by Mr. Musk, was one of the companies that eventually became part of PayPal, and back in 2010, we reported on PayPal’s use of the domain.
As described by Ken Shirriff, the stylized double-struck X was added to Unicode in 2001, just after the merger of X.com and PayPal. This specific form of the symbol was already used by the Indian electronic musician Kxlider, although, as he himself has pointed out, being a Unicode character, it cannot be registered as a trademark or protected in any other way.
The letter X, in general, is also a registered trademark of multiple companies, including Microsoft since 2003, in the context of their video game console Xbox, and Meta since 2019, in the context of social networks. Reuters reports that there are around 900 other claims.
By the way, what do we call tweets now that the social media platform has changed its name? Here’s the answer, because from now on, we won’t be tweeting, we’ll be doing…
By the way, Elon Musk had all of this planned from the day he decided to buy Twitter, as the company responsible for the acquisition was named X Corp.
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