HTML5 Logo: Fu or Fail?

The W3C—they pretty much define web technologies—has a shiny new logo for all the new HTML5/CSS3 hotness. That's good right? Not too many in the know think so.

The W3C is trying to do something awesome for web technology as viewed by the general public: give them a visual language on which to frame their understanding of the modern web. I suspect they hope it will help having their kids not look at them with that tilted-confused-dog-face look when mom and dad try to mention all the newfangled HTML 5 hotness.

Many of the thought leaders in web technology and design including Jeremy Keith, the Grubinator, folks at Ajaxian, Hoefler+Frere-Jones—and others that will comment soon I'm sure—basically agree it's gracious to call it overreaching, and more akin to an awkward kid at a high school dance trying to look cool. In reality he's pretty much spasmodically flailing around like a mental patient.

In short the early consensus can be overly simplified: A for effort (it is nice looking!); F for strategy.

Can it be saved? And by saved, I mean changed.

I'm fairly certain the horse has already left the building. Trying to wrap all-things-web around the "5" from HTML 5 and encompassing all modern standards-based web technologies with this moniker is what leads to the ultimate fail in this situation. The Gap, anyone?

There might be a sliver of a chance to convince the digerati to buy into it if they had included another technology alongside it like say CSS3. Maybe it could have been Web 5.3, and saved us from the other pending misnomer that is sure to be Web 3.0. Sorta like Spinal Tap and 11, but not quite.

I doubt any changes will be coming …

Does it really matter?

Nope! Change is often received negatively. This move might actually be something that our moms and dads can finally grasp, and we'll know what they mean, even though they don't know what they mean.

You know?

Anything redeeming about it?

It is a cool logo, and the site is informative and a showcase of what a modern website employing said technologies can in fact do. I like the iconography and badge builder; that doesn't mean you have to though. All in all, there are good ideas and the graphical execution is well done and professional.

… if this saves us from "Web 3.0" I'll be elated, and that alone is worth it.

Even though in the end I'm not totally sold on the whole concept's strategy, I can certainly live with it. Heck it may even make selling modern websites easier in the coming months, e.g., "But Mr. Client, if only you adopt this extra technology you'll be able to complete your HTML5 Merit Badge! (see opening image)"

More importantly, if this saves us from "Web 3.0" I'll be elated, and that alone is worth it.


Congrats to the W3C for stepping out and actually doing something. It may not be semantically perfect—oh the irony—but it's certainly acceptable and looks great.


    Jay Gilmore
    Jan 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM
    Love it!. I think the adoption of new web standards even if it means using blunt instruments for the masses to describe it. When communicating with people about new things, using accurate terms can be trumped by things they are familiar with or will lead them to a deeper understanding and to the finer points and differences between related topics.

    Michael van Laar
    Jan 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM
    No average website visitor cares about any technical details a webdeveloper uses to make a website look good or to provide nice features. No average visitor ever cared about the various “Valid XHTML” and “Valid CSS” banners we saw for years. (By the way, no one even cared about the “Optimized for Internet Explorer“ badges that were hip ten or twelve years ago – except that they were lame excuses of lazy webdesigners.)

    So why would anyone care about HTML5 badges. For the end users of our websites we could also place a badge on our sites that states “I'm a cool and hip guy who really knows how to build modern websites. I mean really!” And for all the other web developers out there: Hey, if someone really wants to know how one of those cool features on any of the hip websites works, he will find out that HTML5 is involved by himself – without the need of a little banner. So this HTML5 badge may be a nice idea, but it’s also highly superfluous.
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Ryan Thrash is the husband of an insanely supportive wife, father of 2 great kids and lives in Dallas, TX. Having co-founded the MODX content management platform in 2004, he looks forward to a world where HTML5 and CSS3 is the norm, and IE6 ceases to exist.

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