[Haskell-cafe] Re: Haskell Logo write-in candidate

Jon Fairbairn jon.fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk
Sat Mar 21 06:10:23 EDT 2009

Warren Harris <warrensomebody at gmail.com> writes:

> Hi Jon,
> I agree with much of your rant, and would agree that the
> logo is  probably the least interesting about haskell, but I
> think that it's  worth spending a little time to spiffy up
> haskell's image from a  marketing perspective.

I don't disagree with that. I'm complaining about the

> Although I downplayed much of my design decisions by
> focusing on the logo's t-shirt potential, I just wanted to
> say that a lot of thought did go into the design aspects
> of what I sent out.

I don't dispute that either. My point (about lack of
justification) was not that people didn't put thought into
their efforts, but that there's no mention of it on the

> A logo needs to be a crisp graphic, needs to draw people
> in who don't yet understand ("pure lazy fun-- huh?" or
> "what's with that Amtrak symbol?")

That's where that particular design falls down. >>= is an
ugly symbol in the first place, and while the pun with a
lambda in the middle provides some intellectual
satisfaction, it doesn't outweigh the fussiness of its shape
or the irrelevant associations. I hadn't thought of Amtrak,
but it made me think of the flags of Mozambique and South

> This is all off in the realm of marketing psychology,
> which is a far cry from programming language design, but
> important in the overall product perception nonetheless.

Again, I don't dispute the importance, but...

> The other thing about this logo design that is so great is
> the  community process that's creating it. It's the open
> source process in  a nutshell -- the brightest minds playing
> off each other to build  something bigger than the sum of
> the parts.

That could happen, but a vote by people who haven't been
given a clue isn't the way to get there.

> So even if the new logo ends up looking like something
> that rolled down hill collecting rubbish, the story behind
> it will be brilliant -- like a family photo reflecting who
> we are and how we do things here.

Maybe so, but the story isn't what's important as far as
your first point is concerned.

> I hesitated in sending my write-in candidate in the first
> place  because I didn't want to derail the process that's
> underway,

derailing it is necessary if we are to get "the brightest
minds playing off each other"

> Now at the risk of further muddling things, I'll just say
> that I like your idea of focusing on the :: symbol, and
> just wanted to provide my interpretation:

That design is more like it! I would vote for that.

> I think that's not bad either, although I think it loses a
> little of  the distinction and intrigue of Pollard's lovely
> monad/lambda symbol  with its curved edges.

In the absence of the :: version, I'd might go for that one,
but I think it really isn't simple enough, though to
properly decide between them, we'd have to try them out on

Jón Fairbairn                                 Jon.Fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk

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