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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

    Anton Trollbäck

    January 22, 2011 3:05 am

    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 :)

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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

    • 5

      Martin LeBlanc

      January 22, 2011 3:28 am

      Agreed – logo is awesome :-D

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

      • 6

        Agreed… The small icon size makes the 5 look much more like an S.
        Other than that: very nice.

      • 10

        ya its convey a rich tradition of power, trust, integrity, and pride..coz of its shield shape..but HTML 5 is all about future ..latest technology then why should it move to backwards..can’t it be new..more innovative.

        i think HTML 5 logo should be more groundbraking..

    • 11

      Toni Podmanicki

      January 22, 2011 10:38 am

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

    • 12

      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.

      • 13

        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.

        • 14

          Justin Hubbard

          January 24, 2011 1:00 pm

          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.

      • 15

        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”

      • 17

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

      • 18

        Well said.

      • 19

        Dear Ben,

        It’s just business. :)

      • 20

        Dan Sunderland

        January 27, 2011 6:44 am

        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.

      • 22

        can’t agree more

      • 23

        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.

    • 24

      Gordon @ Primate

      January 25, 2011 9:42 am

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

  5. 25

    Kind of Smashing Magazine logotype style. ;)

  6. 26

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

    • 27

      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.

      • 28

        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. :)

  7. 29

    Nicolas Messer

    January 22, 2011 12:59 am

    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.

  8. 30

    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.

  9. 31

    plain awful

  10. 36

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

  11. 37

    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?

    • 38

      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!)

  12. 39

    This logo reminds me The Transformers !

    • 40

      Me too, that’s why I love it!

    • 41

      yeah I totally thought: “TRANSFORMERS. more than meets the eye.”

      maybe that’s what they’re going for? “HTML 5. more than meets the eye?”

    • 42

      Leon Ouwendijk

      January 23, 2011 5:19 am

      So true! Eighties!

    • 43

      Darn to late :D
      It does remind me of transformers too… which doesn’t mean I don’t like it :)

    • 44

      Thank you noticing that!
      At first glance I was like why is Transformers promoting HTML5? Its kind of distracting, but I’m sure it would eventually grow on me.

  13. 45


  14. 46

    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.

    • 47

      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.

      • 48

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

        • 49

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

        • 50

          Justin Hubbard

          January 24, 2011 1:11 pm

          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.

      • 51

        Gabriel Sabino

        January 26, 2011 5:30 am

        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

  15. 52

    Adrian Cooney

    January 22, 2011 1:36 am

    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?

    • 53

      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!

      • 54

        Adrian Cooney

        January 22, 2011 5:37 am

        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: )

      • 55

        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.

        • 56

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

  16. 57

    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.

  17. 58


    January 22, 2011 1:55 am


  18. 62

    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.

  19. 63

    Carsten Nielsen

    January 22, 2011 2:10 am

    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.

    • 64

      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.

  20. 65

    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.


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