Welcome to Behind the Logo, a series that unpacks the history and design decisions behind some of the world’s most recognized logos. After you learn a thing or two, use Shopify's free logo maker to create something iconic of your own.
TikTok* boasts over one billion users, proving how wildly popular the short-form video app has become in just a few years. Launched in 2016, TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social networks, and its colorful music-note-shaped logo is instantly recognizable the world over. This iconic logo has remained mostly the same since its inception, with just a few adjustments along the way. Let’s take a look at the history of and meaning behind the TikTok logo, as well as why it works so well for the brand.
The history of the TikTok logo
The story of TikTok began in 2016, when Chinese company ByteDance launched an app called A.me that allowed users to create and share short videos. It was renamed Douyin (抖音) three months later. In 2017, ByteDance began expanding Douyin outside of China, under the name TikTok. Later that year, ByteDance acquired Musical.ly, a similar short-form video app based in Shanghai, with a US office in Santa Monica, California. Musical.ly lets users record lip-syncing videos, and it had an established user base in the United States. ByteDace folded some of Musical.ly’s features into TikTok and used the acquisition to expand the app’s reach to include the US.
During this time, the Douyin logo remained much the same. Created by an unnamed designer, it started off as a simple “d” shape that resembled a musical note.
Depending on the context, the logo was either black on a white background or white on a black background, with accent colors cyan and fuchsia adding the illusion of movement.
In 2017, when ByteDance launched TikTok globally, the company decided to add the app’s name to the logo. Originally, the app name was two separate words: Tik Tok.
The font used for the app’s name originally was a basic sans serif with squared-off corners. In 2018, the brand revisited the font and created the TikTok wordmark that remains in use today. This version of the wordmark is more aesthetically connected to the glyph, with a similar cyan and fuchsia effect on the “o.”