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.
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.
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!
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.