Epic Logo Challenge: The Results
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By TheRyanFord   |   Watch
161 307 7K (1 Today)
Published: January 16, 2009
         
    
After many weeks of digging through all of the excellent entries and debating the merits of nearly every single one, I'm happy to announce that the Epic Logo Challenge finally has results.


It was a very difficult decision to come to, but at the end of our deliberation process we concluded that we will not be using any of the entries, and we will also not be using what we referred to as the "new" logo concept that had been slowly spreading throughout the site. The reasoning behind this decision is rather complicated, and is frankly rather upsetting to me personally.

In the interest of transparency, I'll be as honest as possible about what we went through and what occurred. I'd like to deliver this information in a chronological manner, so please bear with me.        
    
The Process

Recognizing the Need
In February, when I came back on board, one of my primary goals (set for myself, by myself) was to get the deviantART brand on track. The logo has always been rather awkward and difficult to use, and I felt it did a poor job at representing us as a brilliant, contemporary, and overall stylish community. So, I began a project to develop a new logo, and enlisted the aid of the extremely talented arpad, one of dA's best logo designers. We worked on this project like any logo design duo would: we built concepts, argued over ideas, and after many weeks we had developed what we felt was an excellent logo. For the record, arpad was paid exactly what he asked for and was not any sort of volunteer, nor was he taken advantage of. I feel I have to clarify this for people because I've seen some discussion assuming we paid him poorly or took advantage of him, and I assure you we did not.

Presenting the Idea
After arpad and I had buttoned up every last detail on our logo concept, I built a very elaborate presentation and scheduled a date for everybody from HQ (as well as visiting staff members from across the globe) to see what we envisioned as the new logo. Everybody quickly fell in love with it, and we collectively decided we should roll this logo out as soon as possible. I identified every area of the site where the original logo made an appearance and began building replacement assets for all of them. I then built a schedule for the rollout, marking dates for the following months where specific assets would switch over and use the new logo.

Getting the Community Involved
After a short while, we made the realization that we shouldn't really be pushing the new logo on people. We should be giving the community a voice and the ability to participate in the rebranding of the site which they effectively own. I'll admit, initially the idea of asking the community to participate in a logo contest, of sorts, annoyed me. I felt it devalued the work arpad and I had done up to that point. But after thinking about it, I warmed up to the idea because it put the community first. So, I worked to build a participatory contest around the new logo, and dA admins collectively agreed that we would consider all of the entries fairly and also consider the "new" logo as just one of the entries vying for the top spot.

The Legal Debacle
At deviantART, we have lawyers. We pretty much have to; it's just the way things are. Our lawyers caught wind of the Epic Logo Challenge and quickly told us in no uncertain terms that we could not use any of the entries. They also told us that we could not use our "new" logo. Effectively, they canceled out all of the work I, arpad, and all of you had done, in one fell swoop. So, acting on legal counsel, we suspended the project and began trying to figure out what to do next. This is partly why it took so long to come out with a "results" announcement: effectively, none of the "new" logos won. The winner was the original logo.

The mistakes made during this entire process were made mostly out of ignorance. Nobody within the company ever considered the possibility of all of this work being unusable, as we were not aware of the particular position the lawyers would take. We were effectively thinking with community minds instead of suit-and-tie legal minds. Frankly, I don't think any of us want to have legal minds. We're far too devoted to our community to really sit back and consider obscure legal implications before jumping on a great idea we have.

       
       
       
The Results

Now that you've learned about all of the crap that has occurred on the road to rebranding, it's time to get down to the gist of things. We can't use any of the logos, but we can certainly point out some of the best entries. Believe me when I say, there were some fantastic ones. I went through all of them personally and loved so many of them, and I'd like to share some of them with you. In no particular order, I present to you the best of the bunch:


Also, because we cannot pick a single winner, we're going to award everyone who entered the challenge with a 1-month deviantART Subscription!

       
       
In Conclusion
            
           It is unfortunate that what was to be a fantastic project for dA as a community and as a company had to be scrapped, but sometimes these things happen. Now that we know what not to do, we'll be much more careful in the future. At the very least, those in the community who were uncertain about a branding change can rest easy, as the winner of this challenge was our original logo. Thanks to everyone for their understanding and their support.        
        
    
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Comments (266)
Katieline's avatar
"After a short while, we made the realization that we shouldn't really be pushing the new logo on people. We should be giving the community a voice and the ability to participate in the rebranding of the site which they effectively own."

Oh, DA, if only you still had this attitude for us. :(
Reply  ·  
KuletXCore's avatar
Thoughts about :rabbithole:?
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Sir-Tristan's avatar
So what did arpad's look like?
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FlutterGirl7's avatar
The lawyer thing is bs and y'all know it. It's as simple as a little agreement form, they agree to surrender all rights to you, deal is done. I've done enough contests(tho not this one) and know a few lawyers in the entertainment industry as well as run an official fan club that regularly does cthese sort of contests. Just admit it. You didn't like any of the results so you ditched 'em all..Anyone with common sense knows it. Especially after reading the long winded excuse that never actually states why the lawyers supposedly said you can't use them. You lose people's respect by lying like that.
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LuisaRafidi's avatar
What was wrong with using the logo you and *arpad created?
Reply  ·  
wildartguy's avatar
wildartguy|Professional Traditional Artist
Was very disappointed to have missed the comp, until I saw the outcome.
Probably the best result IMHO, Logo design is extremely important and can't be fooled with lightly.
Some of the entries were fantastic and a few were right on the brief, The putative official idea was good but the Typo was very ordinary. Not nearly enough attention paid to the relationship between the symbol and the Type. The 'ART' in particular threw me, it didn't sit well with either the symbol or the first word, weight and curves being particular worries, while the dropping the overall height to the x-height of the l/c seemed unneccesary. A shame contestants weren't offered the option of tweaking what was an excellent, strong symbol that ticked all the boxes.

In the end, everyone involved seems to have done well, but as usual the lawyers did better. Art and culture are the prey of lawyers, but then so is everything else.

What will need to happen, I imagine, is that as the brand is so recognised and effective (despite being bloody unwieldly at times), is that it will most likely just evolve slowly for the next 3-5 years until dA makes another large leap of some form, at which time a new Corp ID (costing millions), will replace it.

Final thought: Anyone at all interested in logo design and Typography should have a good look at the brief first and then have a really good look at the work above - especially some of the small ones. All in all a great insight into the creative process and the creative mind (and why lawyers should be used for making breakwaters)
Reply  ·  
strigae-excandui's avatar
strigae-excandui|Hobbyist General Artist
:giggle: i only just read this ... i was wracking my brain trying to figure out who gave me a month subscription... now i know thanks :D
Reply  ·  
fluoroid's avatar
Ditto that. Awesome.
Reply  ·  
Spear-Of-Destiny's avatar
So what is the correct procedure for re-branding you site?

I assume the lawyers told you how to go about it; and, not only how NOT to go about it..........
Reply  ·  
lynucs's avatar
lynucs|Hobbyist Interface Designer
For some reason this explanation seems really odd. It doesn't sit well with me, a bit fishy I would say, hmm.
Reply  ·  
RaeLogan's avatar
RaeLogan|Hobbyist General Artist
Oh... So this is where my subscription from last month came from ^^

Cool ^^
Reply  ·  
sensestied's avatar
sensestied| Digital Artist
what a crappy taste you guys have :S
Reply  ·  
AmandaRobbins's avatar
I totally understands. Logos are more than just a pretty graphic in front of a company name. A lot of legalities wrapped up in it.
Reply  ·  
AmandaRobbins's avatar
Why is there no edit feature on comments? ;_; Pretend my spelling is perfect right there. It's late, okay?!
Reply  ·  
5tef's avatar
LUV dA
Reply  ·  
Malion's avatar
Malion|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've just seen this... hmm, well, I expected as much, especially after the lengthy qualifications of the contest.
But it all turned out ok I guess... at least know I know where that mystery month subscription came from, and right on the tail of my other contest entry subscription.
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kyuketsuki-chan's avatar
Wait, when did this happen? I sent in an entry and didn't hear about a thing. I'm not sure if I got the subscription. I might have, because I bought a year long one not long ago, and I think it must have added one month on, cuz I saw it had changed from 12 months to 13 months. I had a feeling this would happen, anyway. It's never easy to decide on a logo.
Reply  ·  
KatCardy's avatar
KatCardy|Professional General Artist
thanks for that... we've been wondering what the deal was! .. I'm not sure I understand why DA cant change their logo for legal reasons.. surely companies all around the world re-brand and update their images on a daily basis? o.O .. but still, I don't mind as I liked the original logo... it just must be very fustrating for all involved.

Thanks for being straight with us.
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Aioliki's avatar
Oh that's too bad :( there were so ma ny great logos
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rcmck's avatar
So it is illegal to have a new logo?
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Wirls's avatar
Thanks for the subscription!
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cairnthecrow's avatar
I'm sorry that some people seem to think that you all are corporate bastards. dA is an awesome place; without a dedicated staff, it would be impossible to remain that way--it would have gone the way of Myspace long ago. (Another topic for another day, Myspace.)

I like the old logo; I loved the would-have-been new logo; I'm not sure that I would have loved one of the user-generated ones. There's certainly some great logos, and there are a few in particular that I thought were brilliant, but they would have been a bit of a leap.

At any rate, thanks for being as open as possible. Reading the comments here, it's really quite sad that so many people can't get it through their heads that you all won't/can't share more information. A nice handling of a rotten situation, though. :)

Hopefully, next time a logo redesign comes around, it'll actually be cleared with the lawyers first.
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