The Reason Behind the Subtle Facebook Icon Change

PHOTO: Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, was inspired to update some of the icons used on the website.PlayFacebook
WATCH Facebook's Icon Change Explained

Facebook has found another way for women to lean in with a subtle redesign of its friends icons, bringing the female silhouette to the forefront.

Interested in ?

Add as an interest to stay up to date on the latest news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, said she was struck by how the female was in the background on both the friends and groups icons. She also noticed the woman had a chip on her shoulder -- an area where the male icon was placed in front of her.

"As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in," Winner wrote in a post on Medium.

And so she got to work, playing with a few ideas, including a double silhouette and another with two equally sized people appearing to be side by side.

"Dozens of iterations later, I abandoned this approach after failing to make an icon that didn't look like a two headed mythical beast," she said.

PHOTO: Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, was inspired to update some of the icons used on the website.Facebook
Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, was inspired to update some of the icons used on the website.

Finally she decided to place the woman, whose silhouette is slightly smaller, in front of the man. She didn't stop there. The woman's "Darth Vader-like helmet" hairstyle was replaced with a more "shapely bob."

The man wasn't left out either, though and received a modern makeover. Winner said she "smoothed down his hair and added a slight slope to his shoulders."

If you look closely, the subtle but symbolic changes are now visible on mobile and desktop.

Comments