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Reddit updates look after rough 6 months and ahead of reported IPO

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Writing a long comment providing detail about Reddit’s refreshed logo, mascot, and typeface this week, a Reddit employee seemingly rethought the post and opted to conclude it with choice words. The post’s last line currently reads:

“Edit: Obligatory ‘Fuck Spez’ for karma.”

The Reddit employee, going by Acidtwist on Reddit and known as Tavish, says they’re Reddit’s head of brand creative (Reddit says it doesn’t disclose the real identities of its workers on Reddit).

The post’s ending was a playful, tongue-in-cheek comment to top off a long, rather informative post about Reddit’s branding updates. But the note, (referring to Reddit CEO Steve Huffman and serving as a nod to the mantra of thousands of subreddits and countless users that protested Reddit’s API policy changes and subsequent treatment of protesting users), is a reminder of the wounds the Reddit community is still licking.

Reddit’s branding refresh

In a blog post Wednesday, Reddit said that it’s updating its branding in order to “help better reflect how our growing user base uses Reddit” and to help its global users “continue engaging in conversations with each other.”

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Long story short: Snoo, Reddit’s mascot, is now 3D and can have thumbs. That refreshed Snoo head is part of Reddit’s logo, which also features a new typeface called Reddit Display. Reddit Display suits “bold, expressive headlines,” according to Reddit’s blog.

Reddit also introduced Reddit Sans, which it plans to open source. Reddit Sans is said to be “built for the internet, with clear, understandable letterforms,” and is also versatile. Reddit also said the font has “large x-height for readability and disambiguated letterforms for rapid identification” and improved accessibility.

Reddit's new typefaces.

Reddit’s announcement also discussed new conversation bubble colors, like “LimeGreen” and “JuniperBlue,” to accompany Reddit’s signature color, “OrangeRed.” Reddit thinks the new mononymous hues will give Reddit’s brand “a more distinct look.”

Finally, Reddit wants to be the “heart of the internet,” rather than the “front page of the internet.”

Rumored IPO

Reddit’s branding updates were followed by self-praise for “internationalization efforts” as Reddit tries to grow its user base outside of the US. Reddit’s blog post today said this has been a priority over the past three years and that Reddit wants to “bring an international-first mindset to our broader growth efforts.” From January 1 through September 30, 20 percent of Reddit’s advertising revenue came from non-US advertisers, Reddit said.

All of these announcements could serve to boost Reddit’s appeal to investors. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Reddit is “holding talks with potential investors” for a 2024 IPO filing. Citing anonymous “people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg said the filing could happen as early as in Q1.

Reddit has declined to comment on Bloomberg’s report. But it’s possible that Reddit is trying to bolster its image and reassert its appeal due to its desire to go public soon. We’ve also recently seen the company work to boost ad performance by forcing personalized ads in addition to starting a user payment program.

New look, same Reddit

Reddit’s reputation, at least from a community perspective, remains tarnished, even with updates to Reddit’s new-look branding. Reddit would have to do much to truly heal the damage to its reputation over the last six months.

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Acidtwist’s comments this week provide a behind-the-scenes look at Reddit’s design changes. The posts offer intriguing tidbits for curious web design geeks. But it’s hard to overlook the final line of the aforementioned comments.

The dust has largely settled on Reddit’s API war. Subreddits have reopened, protesting modders have been replaced, and users who became outraged enough stopped using Reddit.

But for remaining users, including Reddit’s own workers, some wounds haven’t healed. And there’s still a yearning for a return to the old and general site improvements over branding updates (Reddit says that the branding updates didn’t impact employees working on updating the Reddit platform).

The top comment on Acidtwist’s post announcing the branding refresh reads: “My love of old.reddit.com continues to grow.”

Another popular response says: “I don’t need fancy branding, all I need is a usable site,” adding that the “3D Snoo is cute.”

Another reply pokes fun at the Reddit marketing video shared that encourages people to “think of something you like or enjoy.” The Reddit user wrote: “The apollo app. I really enjoyed using it,” referencing one of the third-party apps that closed due to Reddit’s API pricing changes.

Still, a refresh could be exactly what Reddit needs to lighten the mood after a tumultuous time. And after Huffman reportedly warned employees to “be mindful of wearing Reddit gear in public,” due to potential backlash in June, maybe a new look was necessary.

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Reddit’s new branding is starting to appear on the website and will be added to its apps with their next updates.

Advance Publications, which owns Ars Technica parent Condé Nast, is the largest shareholder in Reddit.

Source: Ars Technica

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