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Mozilla branding

Christopher Blizzard, 25-Apr-2003

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to describe's branding strategy during and after the release of what has generally been called Mozilla 1.4. The strategy outlined in this document should be used as a reference when referring to our products both with the press and the general public. Mozilla contributors are generally pretty savvy and will follow their own nomenclature. This document is an attempt to help define that nomenclature, but isn't mandatory by any measure.

2. Goals

By defining a single set of images or words associated with our products, and associating those images and words over and over with a single message we are able to both create an image in customer's heads about what we offer and what we stand for. In the end, we should be able to have a single set of ideas, phrases and artwork that defines who we are, what we stand for and the products we produce.  When communicating with the public and the press it's important that we reinforce those ideas when given the opportunity.

3. Products

Before defining how we talk about something and how we want to present it to the world, we should talk about what we're actually producing. Right now we have two basic projects:

  1. SeaMonkey: The SeaMonkey project is also called the Application Suite or "App Suite." It's largely the same as the old Netscape 4.x Communicator brand. It has more or less the same functionality and branding as that the old 4.x product and we've done little to counter that association.
  2. Firefox/Thunderbird:  These are the basis for the second generation mozilla products.  They split our application into two separate applications with separate identities: a web browser and an email program.  In talking about these projects, we should allow them to have their own identities.

4. Current Brand

Our current brand is largely associated with the previous Netscape product releases.  When talking about the "open source version of Netscape" the press usually talks about this nebulous thing: "Mozilla" People inside of the project usually call it the "app suite" or sometimes they separate the "browser" or "mail/news," but it is almost always referred to as a "release of Mozilla" when we reach a milestone.

From now on we should try to capitalize on the mozilla name, as it is already well known and is widely used outside of our small technical community. However, once we have got a logical split of the browser and mail/news into separately run projects, we should use the brand we have while allowing the two main parts (and other parts, in the future) to have their own identities, while still reinforcing the mozilla name.

5. Rules of the Game

Before and during the release of Mozilla 1.4, we need to make sure that we can keep our new development work (Thunderbird/Firefox) separate from SeaMonkey. There are quite a few reasons to do this, including making sure that we can keep the right bugs in the right place (the technical reasons) and to avoid any kind of brand confusion in the marketplace or in the press (branding reason.) This gives us our rules of the game:

1. When referring to a SeaMonkey-based release use the phrase "Mozilla Application Suite" as the name of the app suite.

It's not sexy, and people will probably shorten it to "App Suite" or just "Mozilla" but we want to make sure that it's made distinct from the upcoming Browser and Mail products.

2. When referring to specific parts of the Application Suite, use Mozilla Navigator and Mozilla Messenger.

Sometimes we need to refer to specific parts of the App Suite.  These names have been around a long time and were inherited from the old Netscape products and we should probably stick to them.  Also, they are distinct from Browser and Mail which is important in the long run.

3. When referring to Thunderbird or Firebird before or during the 1.4 release cycle, make sure to use the project name with Mozilla pre-pended as "Mozilla Thunderbird" or "Mozilla Firefox" instead of Mozilla alone or Firebird/Thunderbird alone.

After the release of 1.4 we will be doing our primary development on the Firefox and Thunderbird projects.  When we do releases of that codebase we should be using self-descriptive brand identities for the public and the press. New rule:

4. Use the names "Mozilla Browser" and "Mozilla Mail" to describe the Firefox and Thunderbird projects after the 1.4 release.

Also, this branding should be found throughout the projects if possible instead of referring to the Firefox and Thunderbird names directly. Project names are transitory.  As long as we have both a mail and browser project, we should be using the mozilla brand and reinforcing it whenever we get the chance.

6. Product Naming in resources, executables and on the desktop

The Mozilla Browser and Mail programs should try to stick to the mozilla product name whenever possible, even in resource names. For example, registry keys would use a key name that includes "MozillaBrowser" or "Mozilla/Browser."  For an executable you might use MozillaBrowser, mozilla-browser, mozbrwsr.exe or mozilla-browser.exe, depending on your platform.  Desktop links should include the full name of the product, when possible.  This means the entire phrase "Mozilla Browser" should be used in desktop links and files.  Profiles should also reflect the product name, if possible.  This means using ~/.mozilla-browser on Unix or MozillaBrowser on Windows.