The HTML5 Logo: What Do You Think?

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This has been an interesting week for the web design community, to say the least. The W3C revealed a new HTML5 logo1 to help designers and developers ‘tell the world’ that they’re using HTML5. The logo was designed2 by Ocupop design agency, and it’s licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, a permissive license that allows ‘remixing’ of the licensed work. The logo has been made available on stickers3 and t-shirts4, and there’s a gallery5 already promoting examples of the logo in use.

HTML5 Logo6

The logo’s official site includes a “badge builder” that customizes its orientation and allows you to add supplementary icons to indicate support for the different technologies that have become associated with HTML5.

Various examples of the new HTML5 Logo

According to the W3C Blog7, the purpose of the logo is as follows:

We intend for it to be an all-purpose banner for HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and other technologies that constitute an open web platform. The logo does not have a specific meaning; it is not meant to imply conformance or validity, for example. The logo represents “the Web platform” in a very general sense.

That all-encompassing definition has met with some opposition from Jeremy Keith8. According to Keith, while he does approve of the logo’s design, he disagrees with the blurring of the lines that separate the web technologies that the logo is supposed to represent. Keith doesn’t have a problem with the media using the term “HTML5″ to cover this broad area, but he feels it’s not appropriate to push this kind of terminology in the web development industry.

In support of the definition, Ocupop Creative Director Michael Nieling said in a statement9 that “HTML5 needs a consistent, standardized visual vocabulary to serve as a framework for conversations, presentations, and explanations.”

Keith’s concerns are valid. The logo will certainly strengthen the awareness of HTML5 (which is something we all want), but it’s difficult to accept that something like WOFF10, which is a web font format and has nothing to do with the HTML5 spec, will fall under the “HTML5″ umbrella. Similarly, CSS3 does not belong in that scope. But interestingly, you’ll notice in that quote from the W3C blog post that the “all-purpose banner” includes “CSS” — so it’s not just the new stuff in CSS3, it’s all of CSS. I can’t see many people being too happy about this.

And if that wasn’t enough, before the web design community had a chance to exhale, the WHATWG Blog published a post entitled “HTML is the new HTML5″11, announcing two changes: (1) The HTML specification will be known simply as “HTML” (dropping the “5”); and (2) The spec will be considered a “living standard”12, not just a draft, dropping use of the “snapshot” model of development.

What Do You Think?

This article doesn’t intend to offer too much of an opinion on these matters, as it’s still early. But we know many in the industry want to voice their thoughts, so we’re encouraging you to offer your comments on the logo, its stated purpose, and the further developments on the term “HTML5” announced on the WHATWG blog. It certainly has been an important week in web development, so we’d love to get your thoughts on all of this.

UPDATE Jan. 25/2011:

Evidently, late last week, just before this article was published, the FAQ was updated13, in response14 to the15 furor16:

Now its meaning excludes the non-HTML5 technologies, leaving those for the supplementary icons. The FAQ says:

This logo represents HTML5, the cornerstone for modern Web applications.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.w3.org/html/logo/
  2. 2 http://ocupop.com/html5
  3. 3 http://www.w3.org/html/logo/#swag
  4. 4 http://html5shirt.com/
  5. 5 http://www.w3.org/html/logo/#the-gallery
  6. 6 http://www.w3.org/html/logo/
  7. 7 http://www.w3.org/QA/2011/01/an_html5_logo.html
  8. 8 http://adactio.com/journal/4289/
  9. 9 http://mashable.com/2011/01/18/html5-gets-an-official-logo-from-w3c/
  10. 10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Open_Font_Format
  11. 11 http://blog.whatwg.org/html-is-the-new-html5
  12. 12 http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/FAQ#What_does_.22Living_Standard.22_mean.3F
  13. 13 http://www.w3.org/html/logo/faq#logo-represent
  14. 14 http://schepers.cc/insidevoice
  15. 15 https://twitter.com/adactio/status/28224023695466496
  16. 16 http://tantek.com/2011/020/b1/new-w3c-html5-logo

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Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer and author based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs about front-end code on Impressive Webs and curates Web Tools Weekly, a weekly newsletter for front-end developers.

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  1. 1

    Patricia Carvalho

    January 23, 2011 2:26 am

    Love the logo! Please do one for CSS 3 :-)

    -1
  2. 102

    As a web designer I got recently asked by a potential business partner if I can code in HTML5. It was an online newspaper who was developing an iPad app and was looking for designers who could build iAdds. The guy didn’t exactly know what HTM5 actually is or what the difference is to “normal” HTML.

    I think on a B2B level (espacially in times like these were HTML5 is hyped) it can be very helpful to have this logo on your portfolio. Actually it could result in getting a job. It’s like an industry standards.

    On a B2C level I think it is worthless. No normal user would actually care about this logo and wouldn’t know what it means. What do you think?

    Although I think in 1 or 2 years it might get redundant as it might appear everywhere – or the complete opposite happens no one uses it.

    -1
  3. 203
  4. 304

    I think its like Magento logo

    -1
  5. 405

    i don’t like it. it’s like an antivirus logo. it seems to defend something wich has a negative connotation to it, instead of being open and welcoming and user friendly. the styling is ok i guess but it just doesn’t fit with the product it represents.

    4
  6. 506

    I don’t like it either, it doesn’t reflect the idea I have of HTML 5: open, easy, light, natural.

    0
  7. 607

    Plain aweful, sorry to say it.

    The 5 looks like an S, as a badge it is hard to understand for non-webdesigners, and the other small badges are images which meanings you’d have to learn.

    For the purpose of communicating the use of html 5 it is – in this form – only understandable to webdesigners.

    3
  8. 708

    I don’t understand why HTML need a logo…

    4
  9. 809

    I may put this on my portfolio site, but don’t see any need for it on any sites aimed at consumers.

    -1
  10. 910

    regardless the article (which is interesting) …. the background on this page looks terrible… keep it simple SM team please.

    0
  11. 1011

    The article is awesome, the logo not that much. I can’t see why a logo for HTML is needed and in any case, if you’re promoting something you need to make it more catchy – to me the logo is too retro and too simple.

    Well, I guess somewhat like HTML itself :)

    -1
  12. 1112

    i love the logo so i stuck it on my html5-less windows phone: http://www.flickr.com/photos/falkegg/5377485287/

    0
  13. 1213

    It’s nice as a personal project. Maybe some pretentious developers will throw the badge on their site (I NEVER thought I would see people putting badges proclaiming that their website validated with W3C, but they do). I think the main use for this logo would be if there was an official HTML5 resource site, but other than that, it seems like just another arbitrary decision on behalf of those seeking to add yet another dev medal on their chest.

    -1
  14. 1314

    I agree with ward, the 5 seems like an S and more in small sizes, but looks great!

    -1
    • 1415

      Funny to read the mention of “S” all through the comments.

      On an amusing note (for me I suppose), one of the first images that popped to mind when I first saw the logo was “S Club”. A group from several years back. I don’t think this was the intended image, but that’s what came across nonetheless: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X0EjwF8o0g#t=1m04s

      -1
  15. 1516

    I have to say, I do not want to see it called HTML5.
    I agree on the point of HTML only.
    Keep it HTML from now on and you define an every evolving thing. New features are added and you keep going with it.
    Use HTML 5.1 as a iteration number but as it is labeled at the moment HTML5 makes it seem new and sets a bad standard in my view for what it is.

    0
    • 1617

      Good logo design is an informed process. This only comes through discussion, research and (of course) collaboration with W3C, because they in great part are more aware of the target.

      In the case of this logo, it seems evident that it’s more of a cute or pretty thing. Created without being informed? Maybe the designer can take the bull by the horns and revamp the logo by using a more informed design approach? I wonder if this even, initially occurred?

      Maybe it should be tendered out to the community, as a contest perhaps, for younger designers, just starting out?

      Perhaps I’m too outspoken, but does HTML really need a logo, and does it have to focus on a version number?

      -1
  16. 1718

    The HTML5 logo has become obsolete since the WHATWG declared HTML to be a “living standard”. A living standard is a specification, which will never be final and will always be work in progress. Therefore, WHATWG cancelled the version number and names HTML5 simply HTML now. WHATWG didn’t clarify, if they gonna call also an Audi A8 simply “Audi” now, or if they refer to Google Chrome simply as “browser” – just to exclude the number.

    Source: http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/HTML5-to-become-a-living-standard-called-HTML-1172982.html

    The logos which should disclose which features of HTML are in use, don’t. They’re not clear on their own. I look at them and for some I can guess what they could mean, but for the most I don’t see any sense. The designer used very abstract illustrations which have almost no connection… probably they’re going to map the image with some titles, so you can hover for the explanation. Well, not probably. Hopefully.

    -1
  17. 1819

    looks like a super hero logo, looks cool though!

    1
  18. 1920

    Not great.
    • It’s a pretty blocky, heavy, look
    • doesn’t look great at small sizes
    • Looks like an S, not a 5.
    • The HTML font is too heavy.
    • Looks like a shield (is that the right metaphor?)
    • There’s a real disconnect between the HTML and the 5, they could have been integrated much better.

    However, I’ve seen a lot worse and I’m pretty picky. So, it’s all good.

    So it goes…

    -dp

    -1
  19. 2021

    Yes. i’ts just like SUPERFIVE….. :)
    keep spirit…

    0
  20. 2122

    The whole html 5 hype is getting old and a superman logo isn’t going to change anything. Html 5 will florish when clients start paying extra for it, or when IE 9 finally takes over (years from now).

    As far as the design, bring back the curves and the class. Take it back from the machine.

    -1
  21. 2223

    The logo is nice, but why you peoples are following Smashing Magazine branding

    -1
  22. 2324

    Its look like jeans pocket with 5 written on it. A big no from me. looking for more creative stuff.

    -1
  23. 2425

    I love it, the way it is so simplistic yet has a 3 dimensional feel to it. The colour is also awesome as it grabs your attention from the start.

    What I really like about it is the fact that this shows the W3C’s awareness of HTML5, and who knows…2020 might be sooner than we think…we just need many many more early adopters.

    -1
  24. 2526

    HTML5 means something else for everybody so it’s difficult to make something everybody agrees with. It is a nice logo but I cannot think of a single project where I could use it. Putting it on a t-shirt is the best thing I can think of. I don’t like the blue background-color though…

    -1
  25. 2627

    Yes, very nice logo.

    -1
  26. 2728

    I can’t believe I access SM every day to find news one week old…. Stop talking about 10 days old news (HTML5 logo) and stick to what you’re good at….. listicles…. resources… freebies

    -1
  27. 2829

    It’s a bit American for my liking, looks like it should be a logo for an American Football team.

    -1
  28. 2930

    I have set up my own HTML5 template files and I am now using it as standard with all web projects I work on. It is great!

    The difficulty we have as designer/developers is browser support and having a logo on the page will help promotion, which is good, but it wont help the customers who view the sites in older browsers, which is bad.

    My suggestion would be to build into the logo banner a facility for customers to go and download the latest browsers that support the new technology… That to me should of been a #1 priority; not showing off what HTML5 offers us, the designers and developers…

    The everyday user doesn’t care about the technology HTML5 brings, all they care about is whether the site works, and I am sure they would rather know that they can quickly and easily download the latest browsers than whether or not we are using semantic code or 3D objects.

    As for the design itself, I have to agree with some of you, the tiny versions of this logo just don’t do it for me. The badge idea is good, but like I say above it’s focus should of been on the users not the web community. Overall it is nice to see WC3 taking this to the next level with promotional tools but I think they have forgotten the website users.

    HTML5 is the future! – Get the browsers supporting us and tell MS to release IE9 to everyone the cheeky gits. ;-p

    -1
  29. 3031

    Obnoxious attempt to try and hype the technology. Understandable from some points of view, however this should not be the way to go. This type of “tech branding” only causes dissolution at the users end. People think these kind of logos represent some sort of certification, not the intended hype it implies.

    In conclusion, way too soon. Technology is evolving fast and there should be a solid userbase first to work with. Reality is that many people still use IE6 or worse.

    -1
  30. 3132

    I like the concept but it is very S like.

    -1
  31. 3233

    Well, since everyone hijacked the term “HTML5″ to mean “HTML5, CSS3, MultiMedia and my newborn child” – I can see why they want to rename HTML5 to just “HTML”. Not only does it very slightly disambiguate things, but they can claim to be the most important part of what people call “HTML5″, given that they are contributing all but one character of the moniker.

    2
  32. 3334

    This is the new logo of HTML5? Damn… ugly :S

    -1
  33. 3435

    Made in the North

    January 24, 2011 3:32 am

    I don’t have a problem with the logo itself, just the fact that a range of web technologies are being labelled HTML5 when they are not HTML5. This can only lead to confusion. However, the fundamental principle of promoting HTML5 with its own visual identity is sound if it helps promote and increase adoption of the new technologies. There just needs to be more clarity.

    -1
  34. 3536

    I love it! Nice strong and powerful logo. The icons, though I like the look, lack much meaning on first sight, something that should be the purpose of using an icon I think, so imho they are less of a succes. The only one that looks like something I know is the gear. the connectivity icon? I have no clue what it’s supposed to represent. A weird old ethernet cable?

    -1
  35. 3637

    Soon the water and air will have logos. Enough of it.

    0
  36. 3738

    CSS3 isn’t part of HTML5.

    -1
  37. 3839

    The logo as a piece of work itself I have no issue with – it’s a perfectly acceptable badge for the web as it stands at the moment. What I have huge issues with is what it stands for. I can see this being used by all and sundry, from credible web designers/agencies to Bob’s Websites Ltd (no specific company intended!) as a way to lure mis-informed clients who think HTML5 is the new, all-encompassing term for anything sexy on the web. Client: “Do you do HTML5?”, Designer: “Well, er, yes, I suppose so”, Client: “Great, then you’ll be able to make our logo animate into a T-Rex and then explode into a flock of angels”….

    A logo for HTML5? Fine, if the media wants one, then give them one but this isn’t a good step for establishing clarity within the design/developers community.

    -1
  38. 3940

    Although explained at http://www.w3.org/html/logo/index.html#the-technology I have had some trouble to understand the true meaning of the little icons, that come with the logo.

    A parcel for “3D, Graphics and effects”, a gear (usually used for “settings” or “properties”) for “performance and integration”, a TV set with a dent for “device access”? Come on …

    Smashing Mag offers so many (web-)icons, they should have taken a look here. ;-)

    Bego

    -1
  39. 4041

    I guess I can (kind of) see why HTML 5 needs a logo, but it reminds me of a superhero emblem.

    -1
  40. 4142

    the list of different technologies that are associated with HTML5 will continue to grow. the logo is well done to represent unity and direction

    -1
  41. 4243

    It’s definitely a “5ma5hing” logo :P

    0
  42. 4344

    I would use this logo for my personal website, but will never use it for client’s website.

    0
  43. 4445

    I know design can be very subjective, but personally the logo makes me a sort of “toy” feeling(which others pointed out more precisely: Transformer or Superman :D).
    Keep in mind HTML5 is not only for web designers, but millions of online publishers and content authors. My expectation would be something elegant, sophisticated and mature. Seriously, that “shield” shape is very misleading(like some anti-virus apps).

    -1
  44. 4546

    Looks Automotive-ish. I would’ve gone more organic, since ‘HTML 5′ allows for more creative layouts, components, integration, etc…

    -1
  45. 4647

    If they’re dropping the “5” from the spec name, why use it as the most prominent feature of the logo? I think dropping the 5 is a bad decision on their part…

    It’s a good looking logo, but perhaps a bit strong for branded sites…a subtle validation icon-like logo, or perhaps a landscape rectangle format including the “HTML” in the smaller versions, woiuld have been a little less loud for on-site contexts.

    -1
  46. 4748

    Dang, I actually really want the t-shirt!

    -1
  47. 4849

    There’s a lot of people saying they don’t see the point of using the logo and that it will just add to clutter, etc. I think there are, however, a few reasons why it would be okay to use:

    1. The footer of a website isn’t usually a place where I’m super worried about clutter. I have maybe a simple nav and a copyright statement 90% of the time, the logo would actually look pretty nice down there. It adds a bit of contrast and a nice polished look. Even if people don’t know what it means.

    2. From a conversion design perspective, having pretty much ANY logos on your site can help induce trust from the user. That doesn’t mean you should go putting random logos all over the place willy-nilly, but a little orange shield in the footer certainly isn’t going to hurt anything. Users might not know what it means, but they see a shield and they’re going to associate it with security.

    -3
  48. 4950

    Just what the world needs… Yet another badge for hacks to plaster all over a website. Very few end users care know or care what HTML5 is any more than they care that a site validates. While the logo is visually quite nice it simply contributes to industry chest thumping.

    1
  49. 5051

    Well, as a designer, the logo looks fine and beautiful, following the trendy colors, shapes and simplicity… (i would like to get a t-shirt 4 sure, i’m a geek, wearit in a bar and wait for anyone says: “cool tee bro, what this f.#$ing means?” and make me social.)
    ..But, as a developer and real opinion,.. it’s HTML a brand? or product? ..no… html is our language, growing and expanding to new frontiers each day, it didn’t have a logo in the past why the need it today?..all this is about marketing to me. And in fact, in order to make our life easier, simple this is not help at all, it’s useless. A redesign of the validation icons will have more sense to me.
    And maybe create an atracttive graphically warning sign on sites that says: “THIS IS NOT IE6 FRIENDLY” will give us some help and lead users to use a updated browser to display and enjoy our wonderfull universal used language as it is. ;)

    -1
  50. 5152

    To me this looks strictly to be a marketing ploy. In the world of web technology it’s made known HTML5 is trying to make a move on Flash with the influence of Apple. So with that in mind i see this as HTML5 putting the message out there: “the new sheriff is in town”. nice logo but i dislike the reason behind it…

    1

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