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RE: A new Semantic Web logo?

From: Benjamin Nowack <bnowack@semsol.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 15:01:31 +0200
To: semantic-web@w3.org
Cc: "Ian B. Jacobs" <ij@w3.org>
Message-ID: <PM-GA.20071012150131.EBF20.3.1D@semsol.com>


Let me try to explain the process we went through, and I'll also try
to address some of the usage-related concerns (Ian, please correct 
me if I'm wrong). This is going to become a long mail, I fear..

Note: I'm just an invited geek to the SWEO group. I'm neither a
W3C member nor a member of the communications team. I can't speak for
them, but I'm happy to collect any constructive feedback and forward
it. (The chosen SemWeb logo isn't even one of the proposals I made,
so don't think I'm defending it for personal reasons.)

First: Don't panic, please. The logos are up for two days now, after 
more than six months of fights, creating drafts, and gathering
feedback from several W3C groups. I don't agree with the current 
usage wording either, but we tried to push things quite a bit from 
the SWEO side, so I assume that's why the Comm team kept the 
guidelines more restrictive for now. The overall objective is to 
develop a branding and marketing strategy for the Semantic Web, as 
developed by the various W3C groups and the SemWeb community. 
If there are issues with how the visual elements are supposed to
be used, then let's just discuss and solve them. Something like 
the RDF icon usge ("if appropriate, link to ...") for example sounds
quite good to me. Anyway, it's still *very* early (look at the sw 
activity homepage, even they didn't properly incorporate the 
logo yet and get rid of the non-transparent white background).

The SemWeb logo is *not* a replacement for the great RDF icon
or other (future) technology logos. It's a technology-independent
addition. And it makes sense to keep the SemWeb logo separate 
from the technologies. One of the first reactions on this list was
that people wanted to replace their RDF download icons with the 
SemWeb one. That's what should *not* happen. That's not what 
it's for.

It could make sense, however, to use the semweb icon as an 
identifier for extended functionality, e.g. for semantically 
enhanced links. That's one of the usage questions I had, and the
Comm team said, that'd most probably be fine. So, let's talk and
clarify, not scream. Give them some time to align the branding
plans with our suggestions.

And, we are all so gifted when it comes to nit-picking, let's 
see what the "usage" paragraph says *exactly*: 
   "without requesting permission [...] provided that [...]".

So, this doesn't exclude other uses, it just plays it safe for
now and asks for confirmation, which I think is fair, given 
the amount of work that went into the whole branding effort 
(of which the icons are just one part).

Some background info for the whole branding effort:

We tried to create a logo/button/seal for SWEO-recommended sites
back in march. That quickly evolved into the idea of creating a 
logo for the whole SWEO group, plus various sub-logos for the 
different sub-projects within SWEO. After two months or so of 
proposals and finally reaching sort-of-consensus just within 
SWEO, we were approached by the Comm team which suggested to 
extend the effort and create something for the whole SemWeb 
initiative instead. We sighed (but also saw the utility)
and started from scratch. 

We really wanted to accelerate things a little, and yes, we
knew that doing this behind SWEO doors would cause negative
reactions. (The process wasn't *that* closed actually, I pinged 
several working groups, asking for feedback about whether we 
should create technology-specific logos, a single, generic one,
or if they wanted a combination. I only received responses from 
those groups that had people with design skill on board, and 
they were basically happy with us taking the lead, as long as 
this would reduce delays.) I personally favoured a more open 
process when we started, but if I learned one thing in the last 
months, then it's that everyone is very good at criticizing once
the work is done (by others, of course), and that you can waste 
an endless amount of time (it's design, there are infinite options)
coming up with yet another design proposal and never reaching 
consensus. (Bernard's comment is a perfect example, although the
SWEO members were always mannered enough to not get insulting.)

Bottom line: We knew that it'd be impossible to make everyone 
happy anyway. So, it felt just more reasonable and practical to
leave the job to the pros. And we were lucky to have them (they
are still so hard to find in the semweb community). And the logo
is really a nice one. We saw quite a number of alternative 
proposals, and I'm confident that the selected logo is going
to help us successfully promote the Semantic Web idea.

Unleash your data / 
Think out of the box / 
There's more inside of the building blocks /


Congrats, you've reached the end of this mail.

Benjamin Nowack

Received on Friday, 12 October 2007 13:01:45 UTC

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