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The HTML5 Logo: What Do You Think?


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? Link

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 Link

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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.

  1. 1

    well i think is awsome logo :) +1 for new development CSS3 & HTML 5

    • 2

      Agreed – logo is awesome :-D

      I think the icons doesn’t work well in smaller sizes though.

    • 8

      +1! And the purpose of this logo is to create a hype about HTML5 and all that jazz ;)

    • 9

      Well I’m going to get flamed for having an honest response rather than the usual kissassery that goes on in here, but…

      What do I think? I think “Why the hell does HTML 5 need a logo?!” … I mean it looks professionally done… but it’s incredibly stupid that anyone thinks HTML5 would need a logo. HTML5 isn’t a brand, or a company, or a technology that requires ready identification so people know it’s there (like WiFi or Bluetooth). People don’t give a crap or even need to know that something is HTML5 or not, or even if it’s HTML5 compliant.

      This is as stupid as creating an icon for “Little Endian” or “HTTP” or “English” or “Cows”. Also things that people don’t need icons for.

      Outside of that. The icon itself says nothing about HTML. It looks like a shield. Is HTML5 somehow safer than XHTML? No. The shield doesn’t make any sense.

      The W3C is antiquated and ridiculous. This logo is another attempt for them to justify their existence. All major browser brands have been adhering to whatever standards they please, generally improving upon their predecessors and adopting standards that make themselves function well with current content. If the W3C went out of existence, HTML would sally forth undeterred.

      • 10

        I agree in many respects to what you said, but the reason for it being made is so that it can be branded to be sold to the public. I see it as a reference image that one might see when there is a blog post or headline regarding the change to HTML5. There -are- uses for it, but ultimately most of the ideas brought up in the article and what you said, render the idea redundant and unwarranted.

        • 11

          I can completely agree. This is about as useless as washing my car with dirt.

          Either way, it’s a professional logo except for it’s downward scalability.

      • 12

        Actually, I disagree with you… As they say this logo is promotion to start using HTML5 already not waiting for ages in fear of web browsers incompatibility. I think it’s a big step and they need that support from people, developer, us! Logo is simple and staring – that’s all they need to get attention. HTML5 is not a brand, but this new “update” has many cool features, so “why the hell” not to highlight it by creating cool logo?

        And it’s not a shield by the way and it don’t represent a safety somehow… It represents a strength. “It stands strong and true”

      • 14

        Very true. And it does look like a superhero logo too.

      • 15

        Well said.

      • 16

        Dear Ben,

        It’s just business. :)

      • 17

        I got to say I disagree. Whilst the technology might already be “sold” to the people who need to know about it (us), if it helps sell someone’s services as a designer or developer then surely that can’t be a bad thing.

        Additionally, if I’m looking at buying one of two cars and I notice one has for example Brembo brakes, I might not be a brake aficionado but I may recognise the Brembo name and therefore consider that car of superior quality. It’s just a basic branding exercise, and still a valid one.

      • 19

        can’t agree more

      • 20

        True, but I think the purpose of having a logo at least for the initial release of HTML5 is to spread awareness of it. I think all web designers can agree that HTML 4 is outdated and is frustrating compared to its HTML5 brother. The sooner the majority is onboard the faster online technology will expand.

        On a side note I dont care to much for this particular design. Every time I see it Im reminded of the transformers logo only simplified.

    • 21

      Agreed. It looks pretty awesome. Quite retro and funky.

  2. 22

    Kind of Smashing Magazine logotype style. ;)

  3. 23

    Expressive! and nice logo..we r goona love html5 :-)

    • 24

      Did this guy get down-voted four times because he misspelled “gonna”, or because he’s Indian? The down-votes don’t make any sense.

      Good job, SM fans! Way to be welcoming!

      Don’t worry man, it’s typical for these comment sections.

      • 25

        Sarcasm plus racial discrimination? I assume that you down-voted everyone who don’t agree with your first comment. That’s fine, but stop whining and give people the freedom to express their opinions(negatively/positively and cough cough spelling errors).

        PS: I am not an Indian. :)

  4. 26

    I think it’s bold without being too bold. It’s a timely design but not sure I care about the #5 that much :-) Really hope it will make people aware of good web-standards though.

  5. 27

    To promote the usage of HTML5 is surely a good idea. But ask five designers what they think about a new logo, and you will get five very different answers… as I am a designer myself, I think the logo itself is quite well done («Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superm… no wait, it’s HTML5!»). The small badges that can be placed besides the logo are on the other hand just adding visual clutter, because they are too abstract and do not self-explain their meaning.

  6. 28

    plain awful

  7. 33

    i think who is creat this logo, very love your site. it’s very look like your logo alot

  8. 34

    I love the logo – it’s just a bit of fun and it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

    In regards to the “snapshot” model of development being dropped then as the backwards capability of HMTL5 and all versions of HTML is perfect I don’t really see this as a problem, but I’m not quite sure why WHATWG are making these rules and announcements as I thought the W3C was the world governing web body?

    • 35

      It’s a problem because you could develop a site that is compliant today and then the spec could change tomorrow and break your site. The whole point of having standards is so you can code to them and ensure your site works anywhere, no matter what. Take away the standard and you have to start coding for every browser again (something we’re trying to move away from!)

  9. 36

    This logo reminds me The Transformers !

  10. 42


  11. 43

    Visually, the logo seems OK to me. Clean-cut, bold, modern, serves it purpose. But I have a few problems with all this logo fuss.

    Having an HTML5 logo will help to increase standards-awareness, which is in itself good. But I’m worried about all those small sub-badges: no one except web nerds will know what they mean, so I fear they’ll be regarded as either 1) clutter to be ignored, or 2) whoever has most has the best site. Neither option is appealing. And why is that vertical version so different from the horizontal one?

    Beside that, first having the logo to hype HTML5 and then dropping the “5” from the spec is just silly.

    P.S. the WHATWG may call HTML an evolving standard but the W3C will likely stick to having milestones / snapshots / stable versions of it.

    • 44

      don’t fear it will be ignored, it most certainly WILL be ignored for 2 reasons you stated:

      1) only geeks care
      2) version numbers just got dropped from the spec.

      This logo was a complete waste of time.

      And anyone that puts an HTML5 logo on a client’s site is doing the client a branding disservice.

      • 45

        Agreed. How stupid was it to come out with this logo right when they announce that version numbers are being dropped from HTML?

        • 46

          The logo is from the w3c. The WHAYWG is dropping the milestones. Apples and pears!

        • 47

          lol, amen to that.

          These people need to make up their minds. The whole reason we have to design for various browsers is:

          A. Well, they keep making new browsers! …arrrg

          B. Nothing is standard because everyone has their own idea of how things should be done.

      • 48

        I guess this logo has no branding purpose, but identification of the new standard. Sure it will be used by specific groups of developers and designers… by the way its a very cool logo :D

  12. 49

    To be honest, when we ever *need* this? To show that we used HTML5? Users don’t need to know that, they just want to use your site. I may be a tad pessimistic but I really just think it’s some sort of publicity stunt, not too sure why though. I’ll admit it is nice, but …pointless?

    • 50

      Yeah normal users don’t care about that, but if you are a web developer/designer it is a MUST to let the user (potential clients!) know that you use standards, valid code and new technologies, and nothing better than a shiny and meaningful logo in your services page.

      Besides, you can put those logos in your client’s web pages so they feel protected and happy that they web site is up-to-date and uses the last tech, I always put those little CSS/HTML valid badges on the pages of my clients and they walk away happy, now with this little shiny gem logo they will love me (and pay me) more!

      • 51

        Thats quite a point there Greg, sounds like a good idea for backend but in my opinion, it could add unnecassary clutter to the frontend and (although ridiculously tiny) extra loading time.

        But definately, it feels nice to have that assurance that your developer is using new technologies.

        (Then again, they could get paranoid you’re not supporting old browsers that don’t support the new tech! D: )

      • 52

        Really? Clients like stuff like this? Sheeesh. Putting this logo on a web site right now is going to make the general public view this as the “logo that means the web site is broken” when they are viewing the site with their current version of IE.

        • 53

          nope, they will know they old IE is the one that’s broken, besides, a good website will have fallbacks.

  13. 54

    It reminds me a locomotive’s front view see link below. But I don’t think that the author intended it to be so. Anyways, it looks o.k., not too much promising, as the HTML5 itself, right? For a while at least. But maybe I’m wrong, I just started a few days ago to get familiar with HTML5.

  14. 55


  15. 59

    Logo is clean and distinctive but as mentioned already there is going to be very less consideration about the use of those badges which still is unexplanatory. If ever the logo is to be used how contradicting it may seem to mark the whole specification as plain HTML and using a badge where it says HTML 5. A bit confusing.

  16. 60

    Nice logo, good and solid timeless design, with a added value on functions – but…

    How The Hell can they set a version-number in the main-focus?
    I think this is a capital strategic fail for further developments.

    • 61

      In fact, the 5 is the one with the big meaning in HTML5, no point in putting only HTML… but those logos with just the 5 mean nothing without the word “html”, just the 5 does not send the message.

  17. 62

    Whilst I do think the logo is well designed, I am not sure of the purpose of it, did previous HTML versions have their own logo? Will people put a badge of it on their website? I’m not so sure. It just seems a bit unnecessary in my honest opinion.

  18. 63

    I really like the new Logo – but i think they should use another font for “HTML”. Bold for readability is fine and it suits the “5” in the shield- , sign-, whatever-thing. But i would love to see a different font.
    The icons are Standard-Ok.

  19. 64

    Looks like a logo of superhero in comic world

  20. 65

    I have a question…

    If they’re going to drop the “5” and make it a standard, why does the logo have a prominent number 5 in it?

    • 66

      The people who released the logo with the “5” (the W3C) are not the same people who dropped the “5” from the name (WHATWG).

      The better questions are:

      1) Did the W3C know that WHATWG were planning to drop the 5 from the name in the spec?

      2) Did WHATWG know that the W3C were planning to release a logo with a prominent “5” in it?

      If neither knew what the other was up to, then that doesn’t say a whole lot about the people planning the future of the web.

      • 67

        Same question. So it is a temporal solution? Or just another proof of HTML5 being controversial? Anyway I love HTML5 :)

  21. 68

    Now HTML5 logo as presented is a lot better looking than the validation stuff .I think if you add new logo to your site this is an interesting thing to add.But those badges have no explanation…

  22. 69

    I think it should be much smoother. Html5 makes the web as dynamic as never before. The new logo looks like static, motionless and heavy. Curves represent dynamics are better than straight lines and hard edges.

  23. 71

    is a logo like this relevant for anyone except web developers? Sure, we can use it on sites but if the user doesn’t know or care what it means, what’s the point?

    see also: “made on a mac”, “optimized for IE” etc.

    • 72

      HTML5 is the new “Web 2.0”. It means one thing to developers, something totally different to clients and the majority of people just don’t care.

      And just like the “valid HTML” badges on sites that don’t validate, I predict a rash of HTML5 badges on sites with XHTML doctypes.

      • 73

        Excellent summary Emily!

        IMHO The introduction of the logo (as well as the WHATWG reaction) seems like just another phase in the ongoing power struggle between the WHATWG/Browser vendors and the W3C about deciding who “owns” the control of the evolution of (X)HTML in the minds of John and Jane Q Web Developer…

      • 74

        There is no issue with putting an HTML5 logo on a XHTML website as the logo isn’t there to say that a site is valid HTML5.

        As it states in the article above the logo is for designer/developer to communicate with the ‘world’ (so clients) what HTML5 and related technologies you use…

        So the only people who will see this are web agencies/freelancers and their clients.

  24. 75

    Looks like new Smashing Magazine logo. :D

    but it’s nice anyway.

  25. 76

    I think the logo looks great!

    Anyhow, I made a little Chrome extension so you can create your html5 badge right from the browser. Nothing fancy, its the same builder as on the site :)

  26. 77

    Well, i think that without the shield, the badges and the “5” we have a winner here!

    The things we remove we can give to our managers and marketeers to strengthen their pitches and give them more to talk about without knowing what it is they are saying.

    But please, it’s a spec! There are WAY more important specs in this world and we don’t have fancy logo’s for them. Why? Because, for the spec itself, it has zero purpose.

    The only thing that this logo contributes to is the hype, and as a developer i can say that the hype didn’t make my life easier!

  27. 78

    Looks like someone saw Superman marathon then went to work on a logo.

  28. 79

    This new logo will definitely be a common site on the web. Design wise, I think it’s weak and very elementary. HTML 5 represents a much advance development of HTML technology, in my opinion the logo should carry this essence.

    The colors are cute, though.

  29. 80

    It’s just like those “valid HTML” or “valid CSS” badges that the W3C encouraged us to use in the past. But seriously, who puts that on his page? It’s background information that the user shoudn’t see. It’s like making a movie and showing the film crew in every frame.

  30. 81

    I would have liked to see a more generic name instead of HTML5 so it could include things like CSS3 proper. I don’t even mind using the 5 for that. Something like the OpenWeb generation 5 or something. OpenWebStack or OpenWebStandards or whatever. Just noticed the w3c used the term: “open web platform” somewhere on their site. So “open web platform” generation 5 ? Would that make sense ?

  31. 82

    kinda ‘superhero’ logo, but it’s looks cool. i love it

  32. 83

    Choosing a vintage design to represent a modern thing… I find it weird.

    More over, users don’t care about the technologies used in their website, only developers do. So why designing an HTML5 logo you can display on top of your web site ?

    Well, you got the point : I don’t like this logo…

  33. 84

    Simple and effective in showing what it supposed to, good logo :)

  34. 85

    I think the logo kicks ass, it’s the perfect way to visually demonstrate your adherence to and passion for the forward motion of web technologies. Ok, those little icons don’t say jack about what they mean to the lay person, but come on, if you really care that much I’m sure you could find a way to fix that.

    The only thing I’m concerned about is dropping the “5” in HTML5. I like to be able to say, “I use HTML5”. When you say “I use HTML”, a hundred thousand people can chime in, but not when you say “I use HTML5″… Then they say: “Ooohhh, coool.” It impresses people.

  35. 86

    For some sort of reason, I’m thinking that there’s at least 5 other folks who are going to jump out a la Justice League style when I see it. Are they really considering the real estate that this “logo” is going to take up on pages that have to adjust themselves to this? just saying.

  36. 87


  37. 88

    HTML5: the superhero that will save the web from lameness.

  38. 89

    i like it! *thumbs.up

  39. 90

    prinz von samunda

    January 22, 2011 3:28 am

    My costumers don’t care about html5 and communist logos.

  40. 91

    A shield?! The logo looks nice but I’m not too sure that the orange shield is the right kind of representation. It’s markup not an anti-virus…I think they need to rethink this.

    …”an all-purpose banner for HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and other technologies”… uhm no. While I understand the logic behind it, and probably explains the shield in the logo (display strength, power, the collective etc), I don’t believe HTML 5 can mean anything other than the specification itself. If they really need to, they could come up with a different name for this collective that makes up the platform not HTML 5.

    Dropping the 5 altogether? Now that’s bold. Again representation – this being solely done to speed up adoption – It doesn’t look like it has any other meaning and quite frankly I can’t see how one who’s new to the industry will not get confused to which version of HTML to use. HTML, HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.1, etc. Which one you’d pick? No need to confuse matters – you want to turn HTML5 in to a living standard then do so without the name change.

    Too much going on in the name while all they need to do is just do it without changing anything.

    • 92

      Using a diferent name or logo for every HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF is just too much for a normal user to digest, better let them know with only one shiny kick-ass HTML5 logo that your site uses all the new tech.

    • 93

      Besides, you could use the HTML5 logo to sell, it’s a marketing strategy and selling point, they must not drop the 5 from the name, it help sells, like someone said, saying you use HTML5 impress people… including potential clients.

  41. 94

    It’s nice but what’s it’s purpose exactly? To put on html5 tutorial sites is the only thing i can think of.

    I don’t get the random grey icons, they absolutely mean nothing to me and i can’t tell what most of them are supposed to be.

    Three stripes means you’re a sergeant but what does that have to do with web development and a cog for settings? Bad designing there.

  42. 95

    Dont like it much – It won’t fit in with every style of website and therefor is not a good logo for this purpose.

  43. 96

    This logo is a shame.
    It’s a mix of US Army badge (look at the vertical one with the star at the bottom), Comics super heros sign (Superman, Captain America, Transformer), graphism from the 40’s or 50’s.
    This logo sucks.
    This logo don’t represent a “Web for all”. This shield is just a war declaration. The next step will be “WC3 : I want you” just like “Uncle Sam : I want you”.
    I really hope that nobody has been paid for such a crap.

  44. 97

    I think the logo is well done and as a graphic on the t-shirt would do great (bigger version), but it doesn’t work for me in web sense (small version). I really don’t see the point in having this on a website. For those kind of purpose i would like to see a more simple sign.

  45. 98

    A logo with a 5 in it. And 5 being dropped from the name . . .

    Equally, from a working point of view, we need defined baselines for what browsers should be supporting. By default, Android doesn’t support SVG, for instance, you can’t use Canvas with IE yet, etc.

    I can see the value of developing them as separate standards, but it’s becoming a nightmare in terms of knowing what works (and also – what works well).

    The current situation allows a lot of ambiguous claims to ‘HTML 5 compliant’ (again, I’m more interested in proper CSS support, SVG, WOFF – the associated technologies – rather than better document section markup).

    I think we need a higher level ‘browser baseline’ standard, being set by something other than the market dominant browser (IE on desktop, Safari in mobile). Even keeping the HTML marketing term, something like ‘HTML 2010’ would convey the idea that ‘this is now’.

  46. 99

    I think it should only take 5 of the logo and add the symbol of the W3C, like so

  47. 100

    logo is hot! I also bought two t-shirts :)

  48. 103

    I have already posted in another blog that this logo reminds me too much of the magento ecommerce logo: same colors red and lighter red to achieve a slightly 3dimensional look, quite edged, white to show the number (in case of magento the letter), black type (ok, thats no real similarity ;) ) … but otherwise, I think the logo itself is well done and neat. It fulfills all the requirements that a logo needs to fulfill and therefore functions.

  49. 104

    it’s nice, but too military for me — thats just the meaning of a subjective pacifist :D

  50. 105

    Another thing to note here is that, according to the Logo FAQ, this HTML5 logo is *not* yet the official HTML5 logo for the W3C:

    W3C introduced this logo in January 2011 with the goal of building community support. W3C has not yet taken it up in any official capacity. If, as W3C hopes, the community embraces the logo, W3C will adopt it as its own official logo for HTML5 in the first quarter of 2011.

    • 106

      Haaa Haaa — what a hype for just a random contribution to the web! thx 4 making me lol XD


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