Logo of Wikipedia
The logo of Wikipedia, an Internet-based free multilingual encyclopedia, is an unfinished globe constructed from jigsaw pieces—some pieces are missing at the top—inscribed with glyphs from many different writing systems. As displayed on the web pages of the English-language version of Wikipedia, there is a wordmark "Wikipedia" under the globe, and below that the text "The Free Encyclopedia", in the free open-source Linux Libertine font.
Each piece bears a glyph (letter or character), symbolizing the multilingualism of Wikipedia. They include the Cyrillic letter И (“I”), the Greek letter Ω (Omega), the Korean syllabic block 위 (wi), the Arabic letter و (Waw), the Chinese character 維 (Wéi), the Hindi akshar वि (Wi) at the left, the Bangla borno উ (U) , the Kannada akshara ವಿ (Vi) at the bottom, the Hebrew (and also Yiddish) letter ו (Vav), the Georgian ვ (Vin) and at the uppermost left the Armenian Վ (Vev). As with the Latin letter “W”, these glyphs are in most cases the first glyph of the name “Wikipedia” rendered in that language (for example, in Classical Chinese; similarly the Japanese katakana ウィ makes the sound “wi”).
The empty space at the top represents the (incomplete) nature of the project, and languages yet to be added.
An initial design of the logo was created by Paul Stansifer, a 21-year-old Wikipedia user, whose entry won a design competition run by the site in 2003. It was then improved by former student and software developer, David Friedland. He changed the styling of the jigsaw pieces so that their boundaries seemed indented and simplified their contents to be a single glyph, rather than a word. In the process, some errors were introduced. In particular, one piece of Devanagari script and one piece of Japanese katakana were incorrectly displayed.
In 2007, a modified 3D model was developed by Wikimedia Taiwan for Wikimania, when they distributed a 3-inch diameter spherical puzzle based on the logo, that attendees could piece together. It did not add other letters on the parts that cannot be seen on the 2D logo, but used that space to include small logos of the sister projects and information about Wikimania. A variant of that model was used to build a person-sized Wikiball that spun on a stand, featured during the event. This led to a renewed interest in getting a proper 3D model for the logo.
By 2007, users on listservs discovered that the logo had some minor errors. The errors were not immediately fixed, because, according to Friedland, he could not locate the original project file. Friedland added that "I have tried to reconstruct it, but it never looks right" and that the logo "should be redrawn by a professional illustrator." Kizu Naoko (木津 尚子), a Wikipedian, said that most Japanese users supported correcting the errors. In an e-mail to Noam Cohen of The New York Times, Kizu said that "It could be an option to leave them as they are. Most people don't take it serious [sic] and think the graphical logo is a sort of pot-au-feu of various letters without meaning."
In late 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation undertook to fix the errors and generally update the puzzle globe logo. Among other concerns, the original logo did not scale well and some letters appeared distorted. For the new logo, the Wikimedia Foundation defined which characters appear on the "hidden" puzzle pieces, and had a three-dimensional computer model of the globe created to allow the generation of other views. A partial 3D globe was commissioned for the Wikimedia office.
The new logo was rolled out on the projects in May 2010. It features the new 3D rendering of the puzzle globe, with corrected characters (and the Klingon character replaced by a Geʿez character). The wordmark has been modified from the Hoefler Text font to the open-source Linux Libertine font, and the subtitle is no longer italicized. The "W" character, which was used in various other places in Wikipedia (such as the favicon) and was a "distinctive part of the Wikipedia brand", had "crossed" V glyphs in the original logo, while Linux Libertine has a joined W letter shape. As a solution, the "crossed" W was added as an OpenType variant to the Linux Libertine font.
- Poll, Philipp H. "New Wikipedia-Logo using LinuxLibertine". Libertine Open Fonts Project. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- Oma L. Gallaga (May 23, 2010), New Globe, User Interface For Wikipedia, NPR
- "What characters are on the Wikipedia puzzle globe?".
- Noam Cohen (June 25, 2007). "Some Errors Defy Fixes: A Typo in Wikipedia’s Logo Fractures the Sanskrit". The New York Times.
- "This Logo Is a Work in Progress." The New York Times. June 24, 2007. Retrieved on July 11, 2011.
- It was torn down after the event. See this Category of Commons images for a sense of its size.
- "brand new" about new logo
- Wikimedia blog – Wikipedia in 3d
- The work was done by the Because We Can studio, based on the new digital 3D model.
- "Case details for Community Trade Mark E6671838". ipo.gov.uk. UK Intellectual Property Office. 2009 [last update]. Retrieved September 24, 2011.