[Haskell-cafe] The Haskell re-branding exercise

Don Stewart dons at galois.com
Sun Dec 21 15:41:40 EST 2008

Wonderful, Paul. Could you add your list of adjectives to the wiki page.

Note that the initial "deadline" was Dec 31, after which time we can
filter out dupes and narrow down the logos to about 5 or so different
directions to have a vote on. Anything you can do to help direct or
improve quality is welcome!

-- Don

>    A [1]call has gone out for a new logo for Haskell.  Candidates (including
>    a [2]couple of [3]mine) are accumulating [4]here.  There has also been a
>    long thread on the Haskell Cafe mailing list.
>    I've lived through a couple of corporate rebranding exercises in my time,
>    and I've read about some others.  They follow a pattern:
>     1. Management decide that the organisation needs a makeover to change
>        public perception.  A new corporate "look and feel" is part of this,
>        and a new logo is therefore required.  The rest of the makeover may be
>        deep or shallow; that doesn't affect the rest of this story.
>     2. The new branding is released with as much fanfare as possible.  Press
>        releases are released.  Staff are given briefings about the
>        significance of the whole exercise and the bold new future that it
>        symbolises.
>     3. The staff universally agree that the new logo is not a patch on the
>        old one.  The old one was a much loved friend; it stood for something;
>        people have spent years working for it.  The new one is obviously a
>        piece of cheap gimcrackery munged up by an overpaid consultancy hired
>        by senior managers who mistake image for substance.  A ten year-old
>        with an Etch-a-Sketch could have done better.
>     4. Over time the new logo blends in and becomes part of the scenery. 
>        Years pass.  Go to stage 1 and repeat.
>    This suggests that the current effort to find a new logo for Haskell needs
>    to go back to the basics.  Its no good expecting consensus on one of the
>    suggestions because there are too many options and everyone has their
>    favourite.  Nothing will attract a majority of the community. 
>    Furthermore I think that (just like programmers everywhere) we have dived
>    into development before deciding what the requirements are.  This is
>    reflected in the mailing list discussion, where two broad positions seem
>    to be emerging.
>      * On one side we have what I think of as the "Vulcans".  This group sees
>        Haskell as abstract and difficult, and believes that the logo should
>        reflect these qualities.  They want mathematical symbols to dominate
>        the design.
>      * On the other side we have the "Warm Fuzzies".  They want Haskell to be
>        perceived as accessible and welcoming, and so want a logo featuring
>        something warm and friendly.
>    A paradox of the Haskell world is that, while the language is Vulcan, the
>    community around it is dominated by Warm Fuzziness.  Clearly the two are
>    not mutually exclusive.
>    A rebranding exercise needs to start with a short list of adjectives that
>    the brand is to represent, and I think that the Haskell community needs to
>    decide this before it fires up Inkscape.  To that end, here are a sample
>    of adjectives in alphabetical order:
>    abstract, academic, accessible, accurate, adventurous, business-like,
>    communal, complicated, dangerous, different, easy, exciting, familiar,
>    friendly, fun, fuzzy, hard, interesting, inventive, precise, productive,
>    profitable, reliable, revolutionary, safe, simple, strange, supportive,
>    warm, welcoming.
>    What are the top three adjectives we want to project?  Once we have
>    decided that, we can write a brief for the Haskell logo.
>    Note that the selected adjectives need not be related.  In fact they may
>    be partly contradictory.  I've already noted that the language is Vulcan
>    whereas the community is Warm and Friendly.  So they might reasonably be
>    the three adjectives (though I wouldn't take "Vulcan" too literally).  The
>    challenge will then be for the graphical work to project these qualities,
>    even if they seem incompatible.
> References
>    Visible links
>    1. http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/2008-December/051836.html
>    2. http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Image:Haskell-logo-revolution.png
>    3. http://www.haskell.org/sitewiki/images/f/fd/Ouroborous-oval.png
>    4. http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Haskell_logos/New_logo_ideas

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