Creative Brief for the New Firefox Icon

Below is a creative brief that details the early history and planned evolution for the Firefox icon. Background information on the project can be found in previous posts about why we think it’s a good time to update the application icon, and the broader topic of evolving a technology product brand.

The overall direction for the next phase of the Firefox icon’s design is going to be primarily based on some conceptual sketches and renders created in 2007 by Jon Hicks, the designer who rendered the original Firefox icon.

We are now working with the very talented Iconfactory to create the final render of the icon that will be used for Firefox 3.5 (Jon is currently a senior designer at Opera, and they are incredibly lucky to have him!) The Firefox 3.5 icon is being created by the artist Anthony Piraino, and we are really fortunate to have such a talented group of people working to evolve Firefox’s visual identity.

The Short Version

Here is the short version of the planned changes to the Firefox icon:

Things we are planning to maintain
1) Color
2) Overall shape and layout (specifically the head and arm)
3) Generic continents (so as not to show any form of geographic preference)

Things we are planning to modernize
1) Shape of the tail (no longer 2D)
2) Textures (soft fox, glossy earth)
3) Simplify the overall level of detail

The Long Version

Note: some of the renders have a “concept” watermark over them to help reduce confusion as they start to spread across the Web, my apologies for having to partially obfuscate the work. Click through for the full size.



In addition to the feedback we will be getting through this blog (syndicated to, I’ve also started discussions at, mozillazine, and bugzilla for full coverage of our community.

I would also like to specifically thank the following people who provided initial feedback on the creative brief, and are also ready to provide feedback on iterations as they arrive:

Original Mozilla Visual Identity Team
Daniel Burka
Stephen DesRoches
Steven Garrity
Kevin Gerich
Jon Hicks (cc’d)
Stephen Horlander

Mike Beltzner
Paul Kim
John Slater
Tara Shahian
Madhava Enros
Aza Raskin
Jennifer Boriss
Sean Martell
Alexander Limi


  1. The plan to modernize the tail is excellent. It would improve the overall effectiveness of the icon. However I must say the fur doesn’t look too good in the proposed rendering. Maybe I don’t like change, but it just doesn’t look Firefox. Anyway great work so far and hope guys bring out 3.5 real soon!

  2. Will be interesting to see what this turns out like. I like the furry fox, but in the end this upgrade will be basically invisible to most people. No where near as clear as the IE icon upgrades.

    I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just saying.

  3. Good luck with the refresh. I think you are heading the right direction. I’d love that Icon history as a landscape image – it would make a great desktop. I also wouldn’t mind a usable icon of the pencil sketch.

  4. The icon has always been too detailed to be legible, for the amount of desktop real estate it occupies at the left hand end of a window title bar.

    This update does not seem to address this issue, except at the fringes.

  5. While i like it, most important thing for me would be a firefox icon in svg format.

  6. I like the direct the logo is headed in. It’s definitely a natural progression for the logo and certainly makes it look that bit more mature!

    Alex, it would be great if you updated your blog masthead to use the new hi-quality, cutsie Firefox logo when it is completed.

  7. This creative brief is excellent – nice work, Alex!

  8. The fact that FF is localized to 70+ languages doesn’t really justify depicting an alien planet instead of being distinctively Earth. I really dislike this fake political correctness.

    Other than that, the facelift is cool. Two thumbs up.

  9. This was a stellar creative brief to look through. Thanks for posting this Alex.

    Burka set the tone for a great icon and the evolution of the icon has been nothing short of gorgeous.

    With so many talented folks in the icon’s past and future, Shiretoko will no doubt have an amazing chassis (I love this metaphor—totally crystallizes what you’re trying to do). Best of luck!

  10. I prefer the current design. A logo shouldn’t have too much detail to me. I prefer the simplistic look it has now and the pointy flames, not the curly ones like on the new design.

  11. Why you don’t really redesign the Firefox icon : I think that simply making the earth glossy is not a real change. The fox is the same for too long years and needs a new design.

  12. I’ve got no problem with updating the logo, but shouldn’t Mozilla focus on getting the Logo issues with the Debian and GNU projects resolved?

  13. I do have a question about generic continents in Firefox 3.5 logo: Is it any specific place on planet Earth, little deformed to not show any form of geographic preference or it is a completely self-dependent globe?

    Is it Earth (from left to right: North America, Atlantic Ocean, Western Europe)?

    Could someone provide graphic without fox, just globe?

  14. The fire effect is awesome however the globe isn’t as blue as in the previous and the overall colour scheme isn’t as rich.
    Still looks quite contemporary though.

  15. I agree with whoever said: “The fact that FF is localized to 70+ languages doesn’t really justify depicting an alien planet instead of being distinctively Earth. I really dislike this fake political correctness.”

    Real continents or STFU. :-)