The mobile world is an ever-changing landscape. As premium smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and HTC battle for the top spot, the upstart Cyanogen (the company behind the popular open source ROM CyanogenMod), is taking great strides to ensure its enthusiast-driven mission remains the same despite its attempt to go mainstream.
Last week, the company changed its logo. To the uninitiated, it may not appear to be the most disruptive change, but for a company that's played a huge role in the enthusiast Android community, it's indicative of the major changes that are happening within.
The move comes a year after it announced that it would shift gears from merely releasing CyanogenMod as a free ROM to producing custom software in partnership with hardware makers. "It seemed fitting to tie our new brand identity to this anniversary," said Abhisek Devkota, head of public relations at Cyanogen, in an email interview. "Over the last year we've gone through an incredible amount of growth with new members joining, new projects being started and products hitting the market."
Cyanogen's logo redesign wasn't initially part of the plan; the idea has only been in the works since February. "It was one of the first objectives we accomplished as a company," explained Devkota. "If you don't know why you are doing something, how can you ever hope the general population—or your future employees for that matter—to be invested and support you?"
The rebranding eliminates Cid, the cute little bug-eyed caricature who has adorned Cyanogenmod's logo since 2012, and replaces it instead with a hexagon. Cid's not gone, though. "He is a part of our community and has been a loyal mascot," said Devkota. "That is what he was meant to be from the beginning: a mascot, not a brand identity or logo."
As for the new logo, the hexagon is more than just a shape. The official Cyanogen blog goes into detail behind its meaning:
The center displays the importance of the user—the focus of the brand. The ‘C’ brings together the company and the community—users, developers, contributors and fans. Working together we have provided a safe and secure environment for the user; one free of walls of restrictions. The arrow points forward—driving all things forward to bigger and better things.
Cyanogen will make several design changes to fit the new brand, though Devkota didn't go into detail. "We know our core audience; many of those folks want the 'stock Android' look and feel." The new brand will be present on the upcoming OnePlus One, and then eventually pushed out as an over-the-air update for the Oppo N1. "Both companies have been supportive of the process and result," added Devkota.
Despite all that, Cyanogen remains committed to its initial mission, and it promises its loyal user base that it will stick to its roots. "The beauty of CyanogenMod is that we don't restrict user choice," said Devkota. "If users want a route to not see our changes, then we empower them to do that easily within the OS."