FtB needs a better logo!


Lo and these many years ago, we had a logo contest on Pharyngula. Only the old-timers will remember it; it was pre-Scienceblogs, even, in the dim and distant days when getting two thousand hits a day was a triumph. Readers submitted suggestions for a general logo that we could all use on atheist blogs. There were many clever suggestions, and absolutely no resolution — like typical atheists, everyone had their own favorite and no one could say, “this is the one”. Although eventually, by mere common practice and usage, one did emerge because, I think, it was easy: a red letter “A” in the Zapfino font (you may have seen it around).

Anyway, let’s do it again. We’ve got a more limited goal this time around. Have you noticed that the freethoughtblogs design is, well, kinda ugly? We need a better FtB logo; something clean, elegant, simple, and pretty. Something I could tattoo on my forehead and no one would be confused and think it was a malignant growth. Help us out and come up with something for us!

We have a few ideas. Here’s a set of designs we had scribbled up before the launch of the site — I don’t know how we ended up with the specific one we’re using. You could just tell us that one of these is superior, or you could use them as inspiration for your own, or you could go off in a completely different direction.

Send them in to me, and I’ll screen out the winged penises* and other such suggestions, and pass them onto the other bloggers here and get their opinion…and the best I’ll post here for your input. We shall make the site prettier, pixel by pixel.

*This was not a suggestion. Please, no winged penises.

Crap. I’m going to get a hundred winged penises, aren’t I?

Comments

  1. peterh says

    The one modeled after The Thinker is nice, but the “blogs.com” needs a slightly larger font & stronger contrast.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    The current logo for some reason reminds me of a bus. Perhaps add a slogan, “Get on the bus.” This would tie into the whole bus ad campaign.

  3. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’m crap at expressing what I find visually appealing until I see it. That said, I think all of these are pretty bad. Anything that riffs off the current FtB logo—and a lot of them do—should be automatically out. The brain and the thinker are too visually busy. A logo that uses an image of an actual thing should abstract it down to its most simple, almost caricatured form; the eye shouldn’t drag on detail.

    Clean and elegant, yes, and modern-looking too, is what I’d be after .

  4. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    Yes, you are. That and the tentacled penises from the really creative ones.

  5. says

    Josh:

    Anything that riffs off the current FtB logo—and a lot of them do—should be automatically out.

    This ^ in spades. FTB is a bad combo of letters for most fonts, it’s just going to look ugly. A nice graphic with Freethought Blogs spelled out is better, but the graphic should be clean and simple.

    Using a brain isn’t bad, but who put that stupid asterisk on the side?

  6. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    This ^ in spades.

    FLOCKMIND!@

    ECHO CHAMBER$!

    NO DISSENT ALLOWED

    FEMINIST HAIR

  7. ambassadorfromverdammt says

    Since the fundies already think PZ is a malignant growth, that particular criterion might be hopeless.

  8. alanbagain says

    Looked up winged penis on Google Image – 56,300 hits although not all of them were winged. Still plenty to choose from.

    P.S. Whatever FTB does, DON’T CHANGE THE CROCODUCK!

  9. nataliewagner says

    I like the design in the 2nd row, 2nd column, though I think it’d be better if it weren’t in a speech bubble but rather a simple rounded-corner rectangle or a simplified thought bubble (cloud-style).

  10. says

    It’s obvious isn’t it? All you need to do is sketch a brain and broken shackle-chain such that their outline forms an “FTB.”

    How hard could that be?

  11. says

    Anything with a picture of a brain sucks — waaaay overdone (ditto the classic “atom” symbol like American Atheists). Beyond that….I kind of like the current FTB logo, ‘cuz I’m a sucker for joining letters together in clever ways.

    Which tells you about how seriously anyone should take my advice on graphic design.

  12. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    PZ: Is there any criteria for size or such?

    As large as possible.
    Oh, I thought that you were talking about the wqinged penises.

  13. says

    Large and scalable — we want it the same size as the current logo, but it would also be nice to be able to put it on a t-shirt.

    I tried putting “FtB” in Zapfino…hideous. Ick.

    I like the ambulatory vulvas. How about a sheela-na-gig?

  14. mck9 says

    Start with a typical icon of a padlock, with the inverted U-shaped thingy open on top. Now change the body of the padlock to a simplified side view of the human brain (just the cerebral cortex, for simplicity; leave out the olfactory bulb and the flocculus).

    You could also include a keyhole, as long as it didn’t look too much like a penis.

  15. mattmeeks says

    Large and scalable — we want it the same size as the current logo, but it would also be nice to be able to put it on a t-shirt.

    It needs to be a vector file, not a bitmap file, so the actual “size” is irrelevant. Vector files can scale virtually infinitely without loss, but you can’t really scale a bitmap file larger without compromising quality.

  16. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    You could also include a keyhole, as long as it didn’t look too much like a penis.

    A winged keyhole?

  17. killertapir says

    The asterisk in a circle design kinda reminds me of the anus flag for Greendale college on Community…just sayin’.

  18. says

    @7, @10:
    The asterisk is a symbol of freethought. It is so because it looks a bit like a pansy, which is itself a very traditional symbol of freethought, mainly because the name ‘pansy’ derives from the French ‘pensée’ meaning ‘thought’. The American Secular Union, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and several Humanist association use it extensively in lapel pins and literature.

  19. 00001000bit says

    Quick question:

    What is the “correct” name that should be used? Is it “Free Thought Blogs” or “FreeThoughtBlogs” (no breaks), or “FreeThoughtBlogs.com”, or something else entirely.

    And a comment:
    Traditional logo design isn’t a “grab the right one the first time” type thing. I’d suggest (if artists are willing) that if you find something close to what you like, that you see if any refinement can be done to nudge it closer to your desires. If you go to a traditional marketing agency, you don’t just grab a logo from a box, it is an iterative process.

  20. says

    For the record, we ended up with the logo we have because it fit the theme (mostly the color) that I and our site tech had chosen to build the site around. That logo and all of the others above were made by Jeff Hebert, who was kind enough to do them for free and in his spare time (he’s also the one who did the banner on my blog many years ago, which I still like very much). He does really good work and I had given him almost no suggestions for how I wanted it to look, so he just gave me a whole bunch of possibilities to build on. I was far more interested in function over form as we were looking to build the site so I just kind of gave it a shrug — “Eh, that one looks good enough.” And I felt I had imposed on him more than I should have already, so I didn’t want to ask him to spend any more time on it than he had already done. So I’m all for coming up with something new and different and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

  21. jimnorth says

    second symbol, second column with the asterisk in the circle of the b.

    sorry, don’t do images well.

  22. carlie says

    Dear Non-God nothing with word balloons, please!!!! Sooooo overdone. And makes it look like an app button. That is bad.

    The other problem with using just the initials is that when you see a big F and B in a small logo, you think of facebook. At least, I do. Yeah, I know, facebook’s logo is just the f, but people often abbreviate it as FB. So the T would have to be prominent, or just go with the words.

  23. says

    out of those, i like the last 3 in the right column. graphically clean, but friendly looking.

    i don’t think it’s a great idea to have “blogs” written in a different font and on a different line than “freethought”

    ps: doesn’t “ftb” seem like the comic book sound effect for somebody sticking out their tongue and blowing a raspberry? (not necessarily a bad connotation!)

  24. says

    Yeah, connotations matter, too. When Ed sailed these past me, the first one on the top left immediately gave me the heebee-jeebees — it was in red. Big red F to a teacher? No way, it looked like a grade splatted on the page.

    I should dig up the old, old suggestions for Atheist that people came up with; I think the image files are somewhere around here.

  25. nataliewagner says

    Oooh, I like it! 2nd row, 2nd column, with the inner portion of the b shaped like an asterisk. Except, again, I would prefer if it were a rounded rectangle rather than a speech bubble. I’m kind of with Carlie on that one, though a cloud shape of sorts would still be acceptable, if you ask me.

  26. Patricia, OM says

    …counting penis’s is hard… you’re doing it wrong silly, should be, counting hard penis’s is fun… Does the Queen of Sluts have to do everything?

  27. carlie says

    The asterisk in a circle design kinda reminds me of the anus flag for Greendale college on Community…just sayin’.

    I am so glad I’m not the only one who thinks that.

  28. PsychedCT says

    whichever logo you choose, please make sure that it can be iconized nicely. At least with FireFox (not sure about Internet Exploder) it appears to the right of the address bar and is used in bookmarks. When the current logo showed up in my book marks, I couldn’t figure out WHAT it was supposed to be.

    Whatever else the asterisk is SUPPOSED to be, it reminds me too much of Wal*mart’s logo

  29. Irene Delse says

    Jafafa Hots:

    But you know what I really want? A freaking favicon.
    My bookmark looks naked.

    Yay, favicons! Seconded!

  30. quatguy says

    Of all of the ones shown, I definately like the rectangular “Thinker” logo the best. My only worry is that it is not original and is coopting a well known cultural icon, but maybe that is a plus?

  31. Michael says

    Speaking of winged penises, did anyone see that video clip of a Russian press conference where someone put a dildo over a remote-controlled helicopter, and flew it around the speaker?

  32. says

    And for that matter, OH MAN DOES ATHEISM IN GENERAL NEED A BETTER LOGO. That Renaissance-Faire/Scarlet Letter “A” is painful. Movements (and dare I say, religions) need a symbol, not a logo, something that can be reproduced by anyone with a can of spray paint.

  33. Patricia, OM says

    *Idiot Christian of the Day Award*
    My meter man just pounded on the door to ask if the dawg and attack chickens were “put away” – the Bulldog is – ??? who the hell is aftraid of chickens? Then he informed me that he is going to turn me in to the police for the illegal 3X5 index card clipped to the door knocker. The card says:

    No bible thumpers.
    Fuck Off!

    Good luck to him. Idiot.

  34. says

    Patricia, it made me laugh out loud. Or maybe that was just relief after the hours of 503 errors.
    ++++++
    Back on topic: PZ, your readers can do better, we haz amazing skillz.

    All the FTB type logos suck, the font (type, grrrrr) doesn’t matter. I wasn’t going to say anything until the site stabilized.

    I’m still not going to. Until the site stabilizes.

    FWIW, you and Ed et al were winging it and trying to get the FTB site running. (Hi Ed!) I sincerely thank you for that.

    I don’t like the site logo, and I don’t like the cartoon of PZ.
    But I don’t read books because of their cover.

  35. F says

    I like the current logo*, but never mind that. What you need is to provide a favicon.ico file, regardless of logo.

    * Or anything based on a giant F like the upper-left logo would be totally killer. Because, um, I like the letter. Right.

  36. Irene Delse says

    – I like the second logo from the top in the 2nd column. Nice sciency look (maybe a bit too much, though, for non geeks?)

    – Fourth from the top in the 2nd column is not bad either. Simple, clean, just the words necessary. Maybe a little too basic?

    – The ones on the 3rd column… Not bad, but what’s with the ’70s look of the font in bold? And the typing machine small font? Makes one think of a vintage alternative magazine. Not that it’s a bad thing, of course, but possibly not what you are looking for.

    – Oh, and loose the ones with the asterisk on a solid disk. It looks like something about to mimic corn, if you know what I mean.

    – 1st and 3rd from the top in the 1st column from the left: nooo! Ugly as sin… and not in a good way.

    – The ones with the Thinker: erm. Good concept, execution a bit… schematic.

    – And while I’m at it: anything with an asterisk, better put the asterisk a little above the line, as in an equation. Also, as PsychedCT pointed out, let’s avoid to make one think of the Walmart logo!

  37. carlie says

    Movements (and dare I say, religions) need a symbol, not a logo, something that can be reproduced by anyone with a can of spray paint.

    Like a letter? I know, taste is relative, but I love the A. Makes me think of Hester Prynne.

  38. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes you will, Professor Poopyhead.

    We learned evil from the master PZ.

  39. janeymack says

    Well, I’m with Caine @ #61 at the moment…!

    I don’t have any problem with the current logo. Does kinda look like a bus, now that I look at it. But I think I like it better than any of the alternatives.

    I don’t like the Thinker or brain ideas–too busy, and look like crap small. I also find the asterisk kind of annoying–maybe the Wal*Mart connotation?–but I also didn’t know that it was a symbol of freethought. Or that pansies were either (and I love pansies). So maybe something could be done to work in the asterisk idea. I don’t know, I see an asterisk, I look for a footnote, so I have mixed feelings about that.

    I’m a lot more concerned about randomly not being able to access the site than I am about the logo once I get there! (Hi, my name is Janey M. and I’m an FTBaholic…)

  40. says

    While you are at it, can FTB add a ‘last 24 hours’ feed like on Science Blog? It makes it so much easier to check up on all the blogs at once, rather than have to go into them one by one – no-one has that much time

  41. says

    Hi, Janey M.!

    So maybe something could be done to work in the asterisk idea.

    I seriously dislike the asterisk. If a pansy is wanted, then do up a line drawing of a pansy, it’s hardly complicated. (I love pansies too, but there’s zero connection in my mind between a pansy and an asterisk.)

  42. kreativekaos says

    PZ… I see your point about the first logo of the group. Now that you mention it, I can see your trepidation about using it(not to mention the potential for making your students anxious!)

    All of the logos with just the letters all seem a bit too much in the same vein. Personally, I like something that combines font and image, as in the ‘Thinker’ logos,… particularly the rectangular one. With its toned-down detail, it is visually eye-catching– providing a bold black/white visual contrast (somewhat symbolizing the difference between reason/non-reason), as well as utilizing a widely known work of art that has always conveyed thoughtfulness, finally being punctuated by the name of the blog.

    But would love to see any really creative, different designs. Like some have said, design can be very much an iterative– even EVOLUTIONARY– process.

  43. says

    As for The Thinker, it’s easy enough to do a stick figure thinker, but I’d rather not have it at all either, because of the connotation that it’s men who are doing all the thinking.

  44. says

    Caine, # 30: Yeah, I know. :P I was trying to work in a gross-out joke and a mention of Josh’s new favorite critter at the same time.

    ‘Tis, #78: Pansies, regardless of the etymology, don’t look like very thoughtful flowers. The spot of yellow in the middle always makes them look like they’re hanging out a tongue in a “DERP!” expression.

  45. RFW says

    One difficulty with many of those: the prominent F and B inescapably suggest either Facebook or football. And too many of them look like collegiate varsity sweaters.

    An earlier reply commented that the particular three letters don’t work well together in most fonts. Maybe the answer to that is to use two or three fonts?

    Another suggestion: free thought = liberty. How about using the Liberty Bell in the logo, stealing a page from those loathsome idiots who set up “Liberty University”?

    Which in turns reminds me of the famous saying of a slave freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, free at last.” If something of that spirit could be worked into the logo somehow, ‘twould be double-plus good. (No, I don’t mean the God part, but the intensity of feeling at being freed after years of servitude.)

    If the part about Thank God Almighty were left in, it would totally confuse the suckers…

  46. says

    RFW:

    An earlier reply commented that the particular three letters don’t work well together in most fonts.

    That was me.

    Maybe the answer to that is to use two or three fonts?

    Absolutely not. *cringes at the mere thought*

    Liberty Bell

    If something of that spirit could be worked into the logo somehow,

    NO! No, no, no, no. Gads, a logo should be clear, clean and simple. You don’t get that by adding on a fucktonne of stuff or using an already widely used symbol, which also happens to be associated with a whole lot of peoples who are most definitely not freethinkers.

    As an artist*, your suggestions are not making me feel well, to say the least.

    *Yeah, yeah, I’m working on something.

  47. says

    [Libertyt Bell] also happens to be associated with a whole lot of peoples who are most definitely not freethinkers.

    ….and NOT associated with most of the planet’s population, be they freethinkers or no. Geez, some Americans….

  48. says

    Eamon Knight:

    ….and NOT associated with most of the planet’s population, be they freethinkers or no.

    Excellent point. It’s important to remember that Pharyngula is a global blog. More to the point, this is the internet, not ‘merica.

  49. tonyxprice says

    A lot of you may not know this and I tried finding if someone mentioned it in the comments, but most professional designers are not going to partake in a design contest like this. There is a definite “no spec” rule in the design community. (the common comparison being “You wouldn’t hold a contest for someone to fix your toilet”.)

    If you want a high quality logo, I would suggest hiring a designer and paying them for the work.

    Crowdsourcing ideas here in the comments is a great step. Good for getting ideas out there, good and bad. And yeah, no Zapfino (or Papyrus, Comic Sans, Curlz, etc).

    Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just giving you the point of view from someone who gets paid to do these kinds of things.

  50. says

    tonyxprice:

    A lot of you may not know this and I tried finding if someone mentioned it in the comments, but most professional designers are not going to partake in a design contest like this.

    Ya don’t say. In this case, you’re wrong. There’s more than one artist* here and a whole hell of a lot of talented people.

    Calls like this have always been successful, and generated a lot of good work. Happened not that long ago with the call for new Pharyngula banners at SB Pharyngula. So successful, in fact, that the banners went into rotation rather than one being selected.

    *I happen to be one of them, and yes, I routinely get paid for such things too, however, it’s no big deal to work up a quick design for a community I’ve been part of for years.

  51. macallan says

    The brain logo looks like it should say “Just like RationalWiki, but without the [[]]”. That said, I don’t really like either one of the suggestions any better than the one currently in use :/

  52. says

    As for The Thinker, it’s easy enough to do a stick figure thinker, but I’d rather not have it at all either, because of the connotation that it’s men who are doing all the thinking.

    Not only that, but it reminds me too much of Tebowing.

  53. evader says

    I’ve sent you my designs PZ. Very simple/basic stuff.

    Oh… damn it… I forgot to make one in Comic Sans!

    ^_~

  54. doofusmagnus says

    Of the ones featured I like the thinker in the circle.

    Whatever is chosen, I think the font used should be serifed and typewriter-like, to lend an air of respectability. I’m not sure what’s up with the sci-fi weirdness we currently have. :/

  55. notfromvenus says

    Out of these, definitely the middle one on the second row. (Possibly using a rounded square instead of the speech bubble.)

    It’s clean, simple, has good contrast, will scale well, will look good in different color schemes, and is vaguely reminiscent of the periodic table. And has no asterisks. :)

  56. René says

    I suggest an ft ligature, as in here. If in red it would strongly suggest a connection with the atheist Zapfino A. That this is a blog needs no mentioning.

  57. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    FTB

    Fuck Teh Bullshits?

    Yeah, maybe it should be written out …

  58. says

    Imagine what a car designed by a committee would look like—okay, it would look like a Jaguar XJ-S from the 80s—but seriously, this branding by popular vote is seriously flawed and you will just end up with more crap. Hire one design professional to do your branding. Have them give you a style guide and follow it for consitency and brand continuity. Follow it.

    Why does the skeptical community think that graphic designers will just do everything for free? It’s disrespectful of the creative professionals in our community. My company works with a lot of nonprofits and they all realize the value of professional creatives and pay us accordingly.

    Make this an RFP with a budget of, say, $1000 and see what you get. Choose the artist or firm you like best and then let them do their job.

  59. Timothy (TRiG) says

    Why does the skeptical community think that graphic designers will just do everything for free?

    Because it’s demonstrably true.

    TRiG.

  60. davem says

    The golden rule – Keep it simple. Despite my browser objecting to it, ‘Freethought’ is usually represented as one word – why have two letters for it? Or put it another way, it’s obviously a blog, so why have the ‘b’ for blogs – unnecessary. With only two letters (or only 1 at a push), a clean design is so much easier…

  61. municipalis says

    Timothy (TRiG) says:

    Because it’s demonstrably true.

    Which is a very unfortunate belief. Jessica Hiche wrote a great piece on the subject. She also created this.

    I really wish the site would hire someone to create a a nice visual identity. Heck, I’d even donate towards it. The current iteration of this site is just hideous (that blue! blech!), and none of the logos there are particularily inspiring. The middle logo of the second row and is okay, but without any colour it lacks any impact.

  62. says

    I think this is being overcomplicated.

    There’s a perfectly good logo present at the bottom of each example in the first column. Keep the text and throw away the graphic.

    (The image PZ linked is scaled down too far so I reproduced approximately here, though I prefer the original font)

    Having said that, I did have a (very quick) go at an idea. It contains both a speech bubble and a brain (combined!), so no doubt it’ll be hated by a couple of commenters above..!

    As well as representing (free)thought and blogging (ie, speech), I admit I’m somewhat enamoured with the secondary symbolism of “speaking your mind”.

    The execution isn’t great. It probably doesn’t need to be so explicitly brainy; just a smooth word balloon with a brain silhouette might be enough. I’ll revisit if the idea has legs. But as I said up front, just the text would be sufficient in my opinion.

  63. municipalis says

    Kevin Anthoney says:

    Some examples of good and bad logos, just for the hell of it.

    Here’s a whole site dedicated to commenting and judging various company rebrandings: Brand New

    Who knows, maybe they’ll pick up an FtB rebrand?

  64. abb3w says

    But there are such adorable possibilities for Winged Phalloi!

    Of course, this particular case is actually the work of a professional artist — Ursula Vernon. That seems unlikely to be an insurmountable obstacle, as:
    1) She’s been fairly tolerant of the Internet-at-large adopting her “Biting Pear of Salamanca”
    2) While she’s not exactly an atheist, she’s probably more to the freethinker end of the religious spectrum
    3) She’s a commercial artist; waving a modest amount of money could probably yield a non-exclusive license for a logo use, though any eventual toy-making rights would probably require an additional license fee.

    Still, even aside from money issues (a price tag of “free” really has some significant merit at this point in the FTB lifecycle), that one’s a little too endorsing of the supernatural to really fit the FTB environment, and none of her other existing options fit all that much better. Commissioning a new work would add to the cost, and production need to be fit into her fairly busy schedule of writing/illustrating more books for her Dragonbreath series. While it’s interesting to consider what symbolism would one associate with a Winged Phallus to indicate its Freethinker nature, it’s probably not a practical question at this point.

  65. flex says

    Maybe Freethought blogs should represent a function of time:

    F(t)

    Yes, it would not be an immediately obvious symbol. But to me it implies transition without the suggestion that the members are superior (unlike the “bright” suggestion of a few years ago).

    However, a quick check reveals there already is another blog on blogspot called f(t), and it would be impolite to poach.

  66. macallan says

    #104
    F of t as in free of thought? ;)
    Too bad Evil Atheist Conspiracy is already taken ( over and over again )
    A logo with a brain would be nice but for FSM’s sake it should look different than RationalWiki’s. Not that there’s something wrong with it but one looking like a ripoff of the other would be rather unfortunate.

  67. says

    +1 on what Tony X Price said about spec work. Crowdsourcing is good for a lot of things, but a logo is not. There is certainly a VERY anti-spec design crowd that will pounce on this and make a stink if they hear about it. I posted a similar comment earlier in the thread, but it didn’t go through for some reason…

    It’s disrespectful to designers to have a logo contest, even if there are good artists here, it’s a waste of their time to compete. Find a willing good designer to donate his or her time, work with the FTB people behind the scenes, and don’t try to please everyone, there are already wildy varying opinions here and few of them have anything to do with good design and more to do with details that don’t matter.

    If I need a bridge built across a river, I wouldn’t go to a grade school and ask students to come up with a design. If I need an appendectomy, even a non-profit appendectomy, I wouldn’t post a blog request asking everyone to come over and give it a try, I’ll find an experienced professional who i can communicate with professionally and get it done right without wasting a lot of people’s time.

    If you would argue that design isn’t as important as engineering or medicine, you’re probably right, but you’re also insulting my career and a many designers who have promoted free thought and creatively presented new ideas for centuries.

    Bb.

  68. says

    In the second column, the top and the fourth-from-the-top logos are my choices because they are designed professionally.

    It should not have an asterik nor “The Thinker”.

  69. rhysdippie says

    This whole thread gives me the cold sweats. I’d be more than happy to chip in to pay a real designer. There is no way you can get a good logo with this process. When a pro makes a logo it doesn’t just appear fully formed in their computer, it takes hundreds of iterations and a lot of thought. Why you think you are going to get something good from amateurs or weekend warrior designers with minimal effort I don’t know. A good logo is going to cost more than $1000 as well. The right person may offer a discount, but to expect something good for free is not going happen. I suggest you make a post with a PayPal button. You’ll pay for a real designer in minutes.

    The existing options are amateur at best.

    R

  70. says

    I woke up today and the cats had spread feces around the floor. And I had diarrhea.

    Still there was not enough surplus for me to give a shit about designers who are going to be offended by a logo contest.

    I’m not against employment and income, I used to have some myself years ago. But if I were in a social group and we decided that the “Freethinker’s Hall” needed repainting and all got to work on it, I’d roll my eyes at anyone suggesting that what we were doing was offensive to professional painters.

    If there’s a designer out there who is offended by a logo contest then they have too much time on their hands. If their livelihood is threatened by “amateurs” designing logos for their own sites then they might look into a different career.

    Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on that. My apologies to all of the professional writers out there for my free use of words without proper training.

  71. municipalis says

    bryanbedell and rhysdippie – completely agree. And with a designer you get a coherent visual identity for the whole site, not just a little image that will (probably) get abused to hell.

    As I said above, I’m willing to chip in a little bit. If a bunch of people do the same, and the site owners (who are in a position to profit from the site) put in a bit more, we could have something really nice.

    Also: please fix the mobile browser’s version, which is completely screwed up at present and is almost completely unreadable

  72. municipalis says

    Jafafa Hots:

    I’m not against employment and income, I used to have some myself years ago. But if I were in a social group and we decided that the “Freethinker’s Hall” needed repainting and all got to work on it, I’d roll my eyes at anyone suggesting that what we were doing was offensive to professional painters.

    If there’s a designer out there who is offended by a logo contest then they have too much time on their hands. If their livelihood is threatened by “amateurs” designing logos for their own sites then they might look into a different career.

    There are two issues here:
    a) What you get with a professional designer is much more than with a slip-shod ‘contest’ like this. Face it: FTB is ugly in more elements than just the logo. Paying someone who knows what they’re doing gives you a much, much better chance of something that works aesthetically as a whole.

    b) The reason why professional designers get upset at this kind of attitude (and note: I am NOT a designer) is because there is a general attitude out there that creative work is not worthy of a decent wage. It’s not about the ‘competition’ (as you often get what you pay for), but having to constantly justify why you are charging above minimum wage for your work. Every friend I know who works in arts/design is frequently approached by people who are looking free or drastically under-priced work, because the attitude is “Oh, art is something people do for fun, therefore this will be fun for you!”.

    The article I linked to above (and here) has a more thorough discussion about the issue.

  73. Irene Delse says

    municipalis:

    the attitude is “Oh, art is something people do for fun, therefore this will be fun for you!”

    Wow, that’s a nice straw man you have here! Beware of starting flames.

    Also: please fix the mobile browser’s version, which is completely screwed up at present and is almost completely unreadable

    And give me a pony, too…

  74. says

    If I need a bridge built across a river, I wouldn’t go to a grade school and ask students to come up with a design.

    To stretch the analogy – there’s already a rickety makeshift bridge in place that was built to get the furniture in. It’s ugly but functional. There’s no money available to replace it, but you’re welcome to volunteer for the job. If no one does, the ugly bridge stays, and you’ll just have to put up with it every time you visit…

  75. municipalis says

    Irene Delse

    Wow, that’s a nice straw man you have here! Beware of starting flames.

    That was a direct quote from an email one of my friends received when she quoted him her price.

    And give me a pony, too…

    Okay, let me modify my request: either disable the Mobile version of the site, which you currently can’t do and prevents you from seeing the whole right column of blogs, or fix it. Reasonable?

    Kagato:

    To stretch the analogy – there’s already a rickety makeshift bridge in place that was built to get the furniture in. It’s ugly but functional. There’s no money available to replace it, but you’re welcome to volunteer for the job. If no one does, the ugly bridge stays, and you’ll just have to put up with it every time you visit…

    But if the bridge we end up with is just as ugly and makeshift, then what’s the point? We just wasted a bunch of people’s time for no result.

  76. says

    I am perfectly fine with amateur logos for this site.

    What the fuck is this supposed to be, PepsiCo? Do we need to do marketing studies first?

    Me, I come here for the content.

    Personally one of the things I hate most about the web is the way designers dictate so much of it, and use design not to make the site more usable, but use design to be able to use design.

    “It’s been almost 18 months since out last design revamp, we’re falling behind!”

    “Wait, you’re not using an Ajax pop-up for this form? You’re just using a standard web form?!?! Don’t you know that standard forms went out years ago? You need to use Ajax for your site so that the forms appear to pop-up, with rounded corners and semi-transparent panels and a drop shadow to make it appear to be three-d? And most importantly, to limit access for those who have older machines? What are you thinking?!?!”

    “Wait, your Ajax form has rounded corners? That’s so 2011. Don’t you know everyone is transitioning from rounded corners to sharp corners, like we had back in 2005? It’s a retro-minimalist thing. You’re falling behind Facebook with this look!”

    I used to do advertising layout for a paper, and forms/brochure etc. for the print shop. Way back in the dark ages of the 1980s. I can’t draw for shit, but I can lay things out.

    And you know what matters most to me? Content.

    I don’t WANT to have to whitelist every damned thing on every damned site in NoScript, thus reducing my security, all so that you get to have your fucking password entry form look 3-D.

    Yes, this is a rant.

    CONTENT, can we concentrate on that please?
    And if this, as so many have claimed, is a community, what the fuck is wrong with it looking like it’s built by a community?

    The local Latino cultural center has a mural on the walls painted by local artists and kids, for free.

    I like it. Target and GameStop and Wingstreet and Mechanics Bank, which are in the same plaza, probably wouldn’t go for that look. Their problem.

    :) (this was a rant-while-smiling™)

  77. Sal Bro says

    No bible thumpers.
    Fuck Off!

    This made me think of a simple black logo of a hand with stubby, round fingers flipping the bird. FtB could be tattooed in white sans serif on the knuckles. Clean and to-the-point.

  78. Irene Delse says

    municipalis:

    That was a direct quote from an email one of my friends received when she quoted him her price.

    Hint: nobody here posted this kind of silliness. Next time, better read the previous comments before jumping to conclusions.

  79. Irene Delse says

    @ Jafafa Hots:

    Lol, great rant! Anyway, I’d rather Ed and PZ and all the FtB bloggers used the ad revenue to make their server more stable than prettify the site, right now. First things first and all that.

  80. macallan says

    “Oh goody, this {site|logo} looks hideous! If you want it fixed – and there is no possibility that a bunch of hicks and amateurs like you can come up with anything professional – email me and I’ll send you a quote.”
    That’s what a bunch of posts look like to me.
    “What, you don’t give a fuck about professional?! I’m offended!”

  81. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    A couple of years ago a designer was let loose on my company’s website. It took several computer weenies over a week to get the site operational again. But it sure was pretty when it wasn’t working.

  82. Brownian says

    If you would argue that design isn’t as important as engineering or medicine, you’re probably right, but you’re also insulting my career and a many designers who have promoted free thought and creatively presented new ideas for centuries.

    Professional landscapers and gardeners have been creatively presenting new ideas for centuries too, but they don’t have a shit fit when you hire the neighbour’s kid to mow your lawn.

    Isn’t there some text in Helvetica you can be masturbating to?

    But it sure was pretty when it wasn’t working.

    Now, ‘Tis. It took an artist a lot of time and effort and thought to ruin your site functionality.

  83. says

    It would be wonderful to hire a professional designer to redo the site. We are, however, limited in our budget a lot, and what money we do bring in we’d rather invest in the talent that writes here. The intent is not to diss real, professional graphic artists but to get something usable now.

    Here’s the other factor that prompted me to put this up: I am about to sink some money into banners — we want these things to display at the Reason Rally and also at Convergence. I could just go for displaying the site url, but a little splash of color or prettiness would be a nice plus.

    I know this stuff costs money — we’re kind of limited in that resource, though, and we’re trying to aim it as efficiently as possible.

  84. Brownian says

    I’m in the midst of cooking dinner. I apologise to all the professional chefs out there.

  85. John Phillips, FCD says

    I like Kagato’s first suggestion back at #100. It’s clean, simple and needs no explanation. Can also be easily ‘shrunk’ horizontally, if needed, by vertically stacking the ‘free’ and ‘thought’.

  86. municipalis says

    Irene Delse

    Hint : nobody here posted this kind of silliness. Next time, better read the previous comments before jumping to conclusions.

    Please, reread what I said and try and follow my argument, as you obviously didn’t before jumping down my throat. Here, I’ll even spell it out for you: designers feel there is a general attitude out there (by general attitude I mean “an unspecificed but signficiant number of people believe or act like they believe”) that design work is not worth paying for. Designers are defensive about situations like that because they believe it perpetuates such an attitude. Had you paid a tiny bit more attention, you would have noticed that I wasn’t even advancing that position (and certainly not suggesting that this was the prevalent attitude here) – I was explaining why designers get defensive and you decided to butt-in with your snippy attitude. The only reason I’ve offered for supporting a designer is that the current site is ugly and an amateurish new logo isn’t gonna help it any.

    PZ Myers:

    The intent is not to diss real, professional graphic artists but to get something usable now.

    Of course. It’s all subjective, and maybe it will pay off, but odds are you’ll end up with something equally ‘meh’. Nice design – the type of stuff that leaves a lasting impressing – tends to take time and talent.

    And we’re talking design, the real issue with the site isn’t just the logo: it’s the logo, the background the css, the layout, the website oddities and clutter(like having both an “About the Author” and a “Profile” box or two boxes that say “Recent Posts”), the malfunctioning mobile site, etc.

    We are, however, limited in our budget a lot… I am about to sink some money into banners — I could just go for displaying the site url, but a little splash of color or prettiness would be a nice plus.

    I’d suggest seeing what comes of the design contest and if it’s nothing great, cheap out on the banners this year and put the money toward getting something nice in the future. Hell, try using kickstarter to raise funds toward it. I’d gladly donate towards giving my eyes something nice and polished to look at several times a day.

  87. Just_A_Lurker says

    Designers are defensive about situations like that because they believe it perpetuates such an attitude. Had you paid a tiny bit more attention, you would have noticed that I wasn’t even advancing that position (and certainly not suggesting that this was the prevalent attitude here) – I was explaining why designers get defensive and you decided to butt-in with your snippy attitude. The only reason I’ve offered for supporting a designer is that the current site is ugly and an amateurish new logo isn’t gonna help it any.

    Well, maybe you should listen. Nobody here is agreeing with that attitude. There are designers here and nobody needs to be “enlightened” with this new knowledge of why designers are snippy about things like this. Its not to spit in their faces like they shouldn’t get to get paid for their work. This is simply reaching out to the community to get a better logo. They are not asking or going forward with fixing the rest of the site yet so shut up about that already. They have hardware issues and are working on it. So why bother making it pretty until it works better? They are simply doing the design for banners they need for an event. And you know what? I think its awesome to have a thread like this because people get to chip in with ideas. It makes it feel more like a community, in my opinion.

    You also completely ignore the fact that this kind of thread has generated awesome banners that are still in rotation here. Designers here said they are happy to help and aren’t offended. You’re offended? Oh well, unless you offer your services for free you’re shit out of luck. They don’t have the money to pay anyone so its not like anyone is out of a job. I’d rather they use what money they have to help the bloggers and get this place running better. You know, like you requested.

    You are not explaining anything new. You could have simply said “I have nothing to contribute but if you want to raise a fund to hire someone to fix the whole site I’m game.” That’s it. All the rest is worthless bather.

    Ugh.

    I agree with those about the T needing to be more prominent due to facebook and all that. I really don’t like the big f, little t, big b. I don’t even really know how much the B needs to be emphasized. I don’t like the asterisk, it makes no sense to me and don’t think it will to many people. I’m also throwing my hat in with not using the thinker or anything similar due to the “rational=male” crap. Unfortunately, I have no skillz and I can only add my vote to what I don’t like. I wish I was more creative. =/

  88. municipalis says

    Just_A_Lurker

    Well, maybe you should listen. Nobody here is agreeing with that attitude.

    Maybe you should read. I’m only stating why the attitude exists. I don’t totally agree with it either. In fact, the section of text you quoted actually states exactly that. Let me bold the my exact words because you’re obviously too lazy to read:

    Municipalis: Designers are defensive about situations like that because they believe it perpetuates such an attitude. Had you paid a tiny bit more attention, you would have noticed that I wasn’t even advancing that position (and certainly not suggesting that this was the prevalent attitude here) – I was explaining why designers get defensive and you decided to butt-in with your snippy attitude.

    So, yeah. In the future you might want to familiarize yourself with the concepts found here.

    You also completely ignore the fact that this kind of thread has generated awesome banners that are still in rotation here.

    *cough*

    You’re offended?

    Way to reach. No, I’m not. However the fuck you came to that conclusion, I can’t imagine. Let me spell it out, AGAIN: I think the site is ugly right now. I think it can be better. I think it’s worth spending money to make it better. I’m willing to contribue my money toward that goal. That’s it. Everything else is you talking out of your ass.

    All the rest is worthless bather.

    Someone (Jafafa Hots )posted what I felt was a mischaracterization of the issue, and I attempted to clarify it. Then Irene and yourself jump down my throat with ridiculous assumptions and stuff words down my throat, and it’s me creating the ‘worthless bather’?

  89. chigau (同じ) says

    municipalis
    The rotating banners are actually here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/
    reload/refresh a few times.
    All of those banners have meaning to the people who frequent this(these) blogs.
    A professional would also need to be a regualar reader to be able to design a meaningful banner.

  90. municipalis says

    chigau (同じ:)

    The rotating banners are actually here

    Oh I know. I’ve been visiting Pharyngula daily for several years now, and I remember the post announcing them. My “*cough*” was meant to indicate disparagement at the assertion that they were “awesome”. There are a few decent ones, but most of them – in my opinion – are pretty bad (cluttered with bad proportions and horrible typography).

    More to the point, it looks like ScienceBlogs had paid a bit of attention to the overall aesthetic of the site. Nothing awesome, but certainly decent; a bit of colour, a bit of texture, no redundant content. As I’ve said above, the problem with FTB isn’t just the logo – the whole package is bleak.

  91. Just_A_Lurker says

    I’m only stating why the attitude exists.

    Well, lets see.. Oh wait… that’s why I said this….

    There are designers here and nobody needs to be “enlightened” with this new knowledge of why designers are snippy about things like this.

    Reading..yeah..

    Someone (Jafafa Hots )posted what I felt was a mischaracterization of the issue, and I attempted to clarify it.

    No clarification needed. We just don’t agree with the fucking attitude. It’s completely wrong in this instance. Like people have explained. No one’s shitting on designers and if designers get snippy about these submissions oh fucking well. I understand already why they would get snippy, in other places I would even defend them against that “you shouldn’t get paid for you work” attitude. However, right here, for this thread its stupid and pointless.

  92. municipalis says

    Just_A_Lurker :

    Well, lets see.. Oh wait… that’s why I said this…
    There are designers here and nobody needs to be “enlightened” with this new knowledge of why designers are snippy about things like this.

    Just_A_Lurker :

    No clarification needed.

    Oh, so I’m supposed to magically deduce from people’s snide and dismissive comments that they actually do understand the issue and are simply pretending to create a strawman argument for them to shit upon in an attempt to appear clever?

    And – really – even they did indicate some sort of understanding, is it really a crime for me to politely reiterate the point? Is that such an awful thing for me to say (and for you to read)?

    Was it really such a waste of your precious time – having to read something you already knew – that you just had to waste another half-hour telling me what a waste of time it is? I’m honoured – really I am – but go fuck yourself.