POSSE is growing up: a call for feedback on the new logo

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We've been running POSSE (Professors' Open Source Summer Experience) for three summers now, and we've seen some wonderful change stories come through in that time; campus programs flourishing, students getting jobs and internships, open source projects getting new shots of adrenaline as classes dove into contributing to their communities.

POSSE is growing up. It's time its logo did as well. And in the spirit of open source, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

A little history first. The current POSSE logo was something of a last-minute "well, I guess we need something!" scramble - we brainstormed on the wiki, got a number of sketches.

We ended up with this sketch (thanks to Mo Duffy) which I vectored up with an owl cribbed from a public domain Wikimedia Commons vector image mashed with the first sans-serif font I hit in Inkscape.

After some further tweaking between myself and Mo, we landed with the owl you see today. It wasn't designed with any audience in mind. After many workshops where I got swag with arbitrary font and color mashups, we decided it was time for the POSSE logo to get an upgrade which has lead us to this point.

The amazing Libby Levi came up with the following three concepts:

POSSE logo option 1

POSSE logo option 1The owl is round and simple, taking the place of the "O" in POSSE. He's  part of the group, the team, not going at it alone. The owl icon is cute and approachable, but the overall impression is very crisp, modern, and bold—this is an organization that's training the next generation of open source pioneers.

Fonts used: ChunkFive, Designosaur

POSSE logo option 2

POSSE logo option 2The flying owl is jumping into new projects and experiences, knowing that POSSE is there for support if he needs it. The type treatment is playful and friendly, but still sophisticated. It gives the impression of a solid foundation to start from and return to, which is what POSSE hopes to be for its members.

Fonts used: ChunkFive, Designosaur

POSSE logo option 3

POSSE logo option 3This option has a hand-drawn, DIY feel that is representative of the open source community. The lines that make up the owl represent all the individuals and voices that come together at POSSE, and together they resemble a thumb print, reminding POSSE members to take what they learn and make it their own.

Fonts used: Logisoso

Which is your favorite?

Vote below then let us know in the comment section why you picked the one you did. (Note: do not get too hung-up on color. The final logo will have a green, orange and navy blue option.)

The voting and feedback gathering will close on Thursday, June 30 at 12p EST. That does not give you a ton of time so get going. Then, stay tuned and in the upcoming weeks we will release the final logo.

POSSE logo 1POSSE logo 2POSSE logo 3
Which is your favorite?
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roy's picture

The first one is the only one where there's still a chance that the owl will be read as an 'O'. Also, the black and red circle variants are fun.

2: needless circle, not so great looking owl.

3. overall too thin, too weak

mackanic's picture
Open Source Sensei

What a great article - thanks for the chance to vote.
1. Not clear it is an owl
2. Reminds of the old logo for Mobil oil: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_VC_ksdWc5_U/SwiXHkO9ttI/AAAAAAAAADs/tzaNH4sjn3...
3. Cool owl

jadudm's picture
Open Minded

You commented while I was commenting! Sneaky!

jadudm's picture
Open Minded

I'm with @roy.

1. You could play with the typeface, perhaps. The important dimension, in my eyes, is that it is a strong typeface that will show up clearly in print and on the web; T-shirts using this logo will "work." The owl does fit the "o" space nicely.

2. Although I agree with @roy that the owl isn't easily interpreted as an "o," it is an "o"wl, which might make it easier. I would ditch the circle, however, as it increases the size of the logo with a weak line that doesn't do anything for it in terms of strength. I'd consider a caps typeface in all cases, since it is an acronym? And, I still am not keen on the typeface.

I wonder: full caps, drop the "P" (add about 16 points compared to the rest of the typeface), and then elide the "rofessors open source summer experience" into the big "P"? As a trope, it then makes clear that the acronym means what it says underneath? Eh. Whatev. At the end of the day, we all wish we were cool enough to be designers, but the fact is, we're not. :)

3. No. Too weak. It might work if we were opening a modern, hip makerspace on 5th Ave where people had time to ponder what we were doing in there (and, we'd need some really spiff outfits to wear while we were haxxoring FOSS code), but my concern is that it wouldn't work on a T-shirt. I like the owl's fluff, though.

Excellent stuff. Although I think #1 is stronger in some ways, I like the playfulness in #2.

algotruneman's picture
Open Enthusiast

Owl # 3 is my favorite. Could the text be made more solid?
I think it was the look of the round "buttons" that made my decision. In those examples, the lettering is thicker.

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bbehrens's picture
Open Source Sensei

I'm going with #1. The typeface is bold, and that owl ... well, you just want to reach out and squeeze it. The third owl looks very distinguished, very regal, but almost appears to have a wispy beard, making it feel very different from the first two.

j_q_adams's picture
Open Minded

Great work to all involved! As a "brand guy", I'm excited to see this kind of thoughtful consideration given to the branding of this community program. And I'm excited to see the feedback on the designs being "open sourced"! -- the new brand paradigm of the future?

Anyhow, I am really torn between #'s 1 & 2, but I ultimately decided on #2 because the image and connotation of the flying owl was too strong to be denied. It's optimistic, uplifting, and a great metaphor for enabling our professors and, ultimately, our students to excel.


As Red Hat's resident Brand Manager, John Adams strives to both protect and advance the Red Hat brand every day.

j_q_adams's picture
Open Minded

P.S. I see the "needless circle" in the 2nd design as a moon, serving as the backdrop for the flying owl. I really like it! I think the logo would be weaker without it, so I say "keep".


As Red Hat's resident Brand Manager, John Adams strives to both protect and advance the Red Hat brand every day.

Spencer's picture

I like the scruffiness of owl number three. I also think the color variations are the most eye-catching.

Allison's picture

As a stand-alone icon I prefer the owl from option 3. But the owl from option is clearly an 'O' therefore that is the most legible. I'm not a fan of the owl in option 2 at all.

Jen's picture

I really like the #1 - think the owl is a pretty fast read, still looks enough like an "o" to make sense and is simple enough not to overwhelm the word or the phrase.
#3 - the owl is cool. So cool in fact, that it totally distracts from the word itself so I wouldn't choose that direction.
#2 is fine, but the others are even more fine...

quaid's picture
Open Minded

Just a quick drive-by-observation. The red-owl circle mark in the second logo looks too much like the Red Hat 'Shadowman' logo, I think it will be mistaken for Shadowman at small sizes and at quick glances.

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Gordon Dunlop's picture

I like the concept of #2 where the owl is flying i.e. moving forward and soaring above the rest

pchestek's picture
Open Minded

The owl is most "O"-shaped in the first. Not at all in the second. Third was ok, but I wasn't as fond of the secondary logos.

Ahmed Faris's picture

I like no 3, but it would be good to use no1 as the outline as it is the only one with the shape O
can we try No1 with line drawings like No3
it will be DIY=OpenSource, keeping the shape O. and it will look good in RED

davidburney's picture

Great illustration of the subjective nature of design critique. Be careful asking what people 'like'--a community can easily begin acting like a committee.
My favorite? Hmmmm. They are all beautiful and from the business case (as i understand it) answer the need. I'd proudly wear either one on a tshirt. I say the amazing Libby Levi has earned the right to make the final call. I give her my proxy.
Thanks for asking.