HTML5 Logo Design Unveiled

By Mash Bonigala

Modern consumers are beginning to realize the importance of logo design and have very adamant opinions on the subject. Many of us, especially those of us in the design world, can remember the uproar in the past year over the new logos of some of the most popular brands in the United States. The latest logo to endure national feedback is the newly unveiled design for HTML5.

The design features a bright orange shield with the numeral 5, topped by the letters HTML in a blocky black print. The logo is certainly not perfect by professional logo designer standards—orange is eye-catching but a little juvenile for an agency with the clout of the World Wide Web Consortium, while the shield is only loosely related to the product. However, there is nothing wrong with the logo per se.

Despite the relative benignity of the logo, uproar is already building. However, unlike the Gap redesign, people are not so much upset with the design as they are upset that the design only bears a single name. You see, the product being marketed here is not only HTML5, the new lingua franca of the web, but other applications such as JavaScript, CSS3, and others.

The creators obviously realized this, because they stated it in their FAQs. However, the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, is attempting to bring the web’s most commonly used nonproprietary languages under a single banner. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the uproar over the logo design is likely due to the W3C’suse of HTML5 as a ‘buzzword’ rather than as a descriptive term of the language in question.

Imagine if we started calling every language ‘English’ regardless of which it actually was. Not only would this create confusion in the language world, it would make it hard to explain what true English is. That is exactly what we are dealing with here. HTML5 is not a group of internet languages, but one in particular. When people protest the logo, they are generally protesting the fact that one logo design is being used to represent a vast range of programming languages.

When you are going through the branding and logo design process, it is important to be as honest as possible with your designers and your future customers. People get mad when a product or service is misrepresented, even if the misrepresentation, as in this case, is not inherently deceptive. Regardless of the quality of the HTML5 logo design and the products it represents, it is starting off on the wrong foot with a group of very annoyed consumers. That is hardly the point of rebranding.

Will consumer outcry change this logo the way it affected the new Gap logo design? HTML is a popular choice in programming—in fact, many see it as the only viable choice out there. It is preferred by browsers and search engines alike. While a product with this clout deserves a logo design, it deserves its own logo—not one shared with a variety of similar products.