HTML5 Finally Gets… a Logo?

Start Rant

W3C 'Official' HTML5 logoWith all the debate about elements, attributes, semantic meaning and who really owns HTML5, it’s thrilling to see that the W3C has risen above all the chaos to release something which should truly unify HTML5 and foster its widespread adoption (as soon as it is finished) across the web — a logo.

The announcement came this morning on the W3C site, just four days after its announcement of eight HTML5 drafts being updated (Which I foolishly covered when I should have been waiting for this cherry of a story). The press release gives a little context on how you can use it:

Now there is a logo for those who have taken up parts of HTML5 into their sites, and for anyone who wishes to tell the world they are using or referring to HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and other technologies used to build modern Web applications.

If you think I am being grumpy about this, you’re right. But I’m really caught up on one main issue — HTML5 and CSS are different specs. If you’ve read me long enough, you’ve seen that this really gets under my skin:

My rant isn’t the only one. In fact, there’s a lovely video rant by Bruce Lawson that he’s re-linked in his post today, On the HTML5 logo.

It isn’t completely unjustified. As different specs, they are managed by different groups, different timelines, different test suites, etc. So when the Badge Builder 5000 on the W3C HTML5 logo page lets you build a logo that states what technologies your site uses and CSS3 is a pre-selected option, it gets my dander up. And without hair to hold it in place, it’s a mess. The same page even has the audacity to show the Arcade Fire / Google project as an example, which I think I already proved wasn’t true (see above, or this other neat site).

Let’s be clear on something — it is perfectly legal to build an HTML5 page with CSS2.1, or an HTML 4.01 page with CSS3.

By the way, if you think this is the official W3C logo for HTML5, you should read this in the FAQ (emphasis added):

Is this W3C’s “official” logo for HTML5?
Not yet. 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.

It seems like they are a little nervous, unwilling even, to make this official if people don’t like it. I think they may have the fear of the GAP logo debacle within them.

Tip: If you want to see if a page is actually HTML5, use Opera and install this handy HTML5-powered extension, freshly updated with the HTML5 badge.

End Rant, Start Real Review

The W3C has announced the release of a logo for HTML5 today. The logo has been released under a Creative Commons 3.0 By license, which means you are free to modify it provided you include an attribution.

The W3C has created an HTML5 logo page where you can download the logo, have one generated for use on your site, see samples, order a t-shirt, and even send away for some free stickers. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions page for the logo should you still need some answers you couldn’t find on the logo page.

The W3C blog has an interview with the creative director from the firm who designed the HTML5 logo.

Tip: If you do plan to use the logo, the files available for download are square, so they have quite a bit of space built into them on the left and the right. The 256-pixel-wide logo is actually 182 pixels when you crop it to fit (see above).

Update (Jan 20, 2011)

Update (Jan 21, 2011)



I agree the potential to mislead users about the different specs assumed to be used on a page is concerning.

As far as the design, I feel like it has a very super hero quality to it, similar to the superman 's'. Almost as if HTML 5 is going to save the web. I wonder why they chose orange?


I'm less concerned about users and more concerned about people making the decisions for coding a site — clients, vendors, developers, executives, etc. It may be impossible to manage each others' expectations without first having a technical discussion to outline the scope of any future conversations. Fun!

I think orange is the de facto color of the web in the last few years: RSS, Blogger, sites trying to look current, etc. I suspect the HTML5 shield is loosely connected to the self-described "Superfriends" who have been critical of HTML5 before. But that's just my conspiracy theory.

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