Firefox will get a new icon again, because today's is too confining

Mozilla wants to hear what you think about some possible replacements.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
2 min read

Mozilla shared this idea for a Firefox master brand that could extend beyond just its Firefox browser.


Get ready for a new look for Firefox's icon -- again.

Less than a year after launching a simplified, brighter icon for its Quantum-branded versions of Firefox, Mozilla has begun another effort to modernize the icon. This time the plan isn't just to create a new Firefox icon but to craft a family of icons to accommodate what the nonprofit does beyond its flagship browser, such as new services or Firefox variations like Rocket and Focus.


Mozilla shared this second possibility, reminiscent of a fox head, for a Firefox master brand.


"As an icon, that fast fox with a flaming tail doesn't offer enough design tools to represent this entire product family," said Madhava Enros, senior director of Firefox user experience, and Tim Murray, Mozilla's creative director, in a blog post Monday. "Recoloring that logo or dissecting the fox could only take us so far. We needed to start from a new place."

As a starting point for discussions, Mozilla offered two high-level "master brand" icons that can be rejiggered into a variety of incarnations for its services and software. One master brand is a stylized fox head, the other is a circularly curving flame, and both are examples of what's possible rather than final ideas.

Changing brands is a risky business. People can be annoyed when they can't find what they're looking for, and sometimes new designs trigger mockery and derision.

But revamping icons and logos also gives a chance to modernize for a fresh look. Firefox's icon over the last decade has moved away from its original 3D look of a fox wrapped around Earth to embrace the prevailing "flat" design style.

Each icon could serve as an umbrella image that includes a family of related icons.

Each icon could serve as an umbrella image that includes a family of related icons.


Plus, linking multiple icons with a unified design style can be useful. Many of Google's services employ the company's characteristic red, green, blue and yellow color pallet, making new apps more recognizable. And when Facebook's Instagram changed its icon in 2016, the company picked a style that could apply to its subbrands, too, like Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse.

Mozilla is looking for commentary on the new logo ideas and plans to finish the icon revamp in coming months. And although Firefox is open-source software that anyone can contribute to, and Mozilla likes to work collaboratively and in the open, the organization is ultimately in control of this rebranding.

That's more or less how things worked when Mozilla reworked its own brand in 2016 and 2017.

"We are not crowdsourcing the answer," the Mozilla designers said. "There'll be no voting."

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