2011-01-18

Branding web technologies and the new HTML5 logo

The branding of HTML5 continues: It now has a logo and t-shirts.
  • I like the look of the logo and the website.
  • It is a great idea to provide icons for various web technologies: offline & storage, device access, css3 & styling, etc.
One has to wonder if HTML5 is the right moniker. This standard will probably never be completely finished. Assuming that the logo is intended as a badge of honor for a website, it misses a large audience: end users. They don’t care about a technology such as HTML5, they care about the things one can do with it. Furthermore, HTML5 is only part of the puzzle to make web applications happen (e.g., it does not include CSS). But it looks like the logo is supposed to cover the remaining pieces, anyway (as in “the HTML5 technology stack”).
  • Bruce Lawson suggests the term NEWT (New Exciting Web Technologies) which already has a nice-looking logo. This term is supposed to include all webapp-related new technologies and is more accurate than HTML5. But it is still technology-related and end-user-unfriendly.
  • The best approach might be to focus on webapps. With iPhone apps becoming increasingly popular, this could get the word out about open alternatives. Already there are many good web games out there. The word “app” now means something to end users, it makes sense to use it in the context of the web and to brand things accordingly.
Update: The Technology Blog published two interesting quotes. Quote 1: the creative pitch for the logo.
It stands strong and true, resilient and universal as the markup you write. It shines as bright and as bold as the forward-thinking, dedicated web developers you are. It’s the standard’s standard, a pennant for progress. And it certainly doesn’t use tables for layout.
Wow. It doesn’t get any more technical than that. Is the logo just for techies, then? As expected, Ian Jacobs had to answer the following question (quote 2).
A number of people have already asked me “What does the logo represent?” 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.
This answer gets to the crux of the matter: If the logo represents “the web platform” then why not change the brand from HTML5 to “the web platform” (or perhaps the shorter “webapps”)?

Update 2: As pointed out on the public-webapps mailing list and by a commenter: The WHATWG just decided to drop the version number of HTML5 and simply call it HTML. This makes the “5” of the logo problematic and it looks like W3C and WHATWG did not coordinate the logo efforts.

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