A cohesive and unified identity for IndieWeb protocols

By admin
While

Twitter
ORG

’s current owner continues to seek the spotlight, his manic stewardship of the platform has seen most peoples attention move to alternative social networks and ways of connecting with each other.


Mastodon
PERSON

,

ActivityPub
ORG

and the

Fediverse
PERSON

have captured the imagination of developers and the media alike (if not the general public). And, as proven by

David Pierce
PERSON

’s recent article in

The Verge
WORK_OF_ART

, the

IndieWeb
ORG

is part of this conversation too. Now is the moment for this movement’s decade of work to shine!

As I’m often reminded by

Jeremy
PERSON

, at its simplest the

IndieWeb
ORG

is about having a website at your own domain. Great ideas don’t need logos to gain adoption. However, given its grassroots and somewhat anarchic nature, the protocols underlying the

IndieWeb
ORG

’s most exciting and powerful ideas lack a clear and consistent identity – if they have an identity at all.

This is not a problem complementary technologies face – communities formed around

ActivityPub
ORG

,

RSS
ORG

, JSON Feed and

Microformats
PERSON

quickly settled on icons for their respective projects.

Current branding used by the IndieWeb

Branding and design already feature within the movement, and the

seventh
ORDINAL

principle states that user experience is more important than any technical underpinnings.

IndieWebCamp has a clear and well-defined logo which has proven adaptable enough to be used for

Homebrew Website Club
ORG

.


IndieAuth
ORG

and Webmention have icons, though undocumented, applied inconsistently and with little agreement about what colour they should be. Micropub doesn’t have an icon, although there have been discussions about what this might look like.

Microsub
ORG

is currently icon-less too.

Others have reached the same conclusion: that there should be a set of related icons to represent these protocols.

In

2016
DATE

,

Shane Becker
PERSON

– designer of the current IndieWebCamp logo – while considering a logo to represent the

IndieWeb
ORG

wrote:

Part of my thinking for this design was to build it in such a way that it could be a part of larger design system for indie web related things. Namely, I want to design logos for all of the building blocks […] and those building block logos to be able to work together in a coherent way.

In

2018
DATE

,

Sebastian Lasse
PERSON

adapted the

IndieWebCamp
ORG

logo to create a set of derivative icons which he then used for a series of posters about the

IndieWeb
ORG

.

None of these proposals to my knowledge have been developed further. There does however appear to be consensus that any icons should have a relationship to an identity used for the wider movement, and share a common design language.

Proposal

I often find myself noodling on ideas for how such logos might work. In the run up to

this weekend
DATE

’s IndieWebCamp in

Nuremberg
GPE

, I had another go.

While not by any means my final proposal, what I’m sharing here, I think, could provide a starting point for kicking off a discussion about what a cohesive identity for these protocols might look like.

Initial icon proposal for

POSSE
ORG

,

Micropub, Webmention
WORK_OF_ART

,

IndieAuth
ORG

,

Microsub
ORG

and

Vouch
ORG

.

This design attempts to bring together a set of icons that share the concept of a node – a line and a point – and use this to add counters to each letter shape. This serves as a nod to the original logo for IndieWebCamp designed in

2013
DATE

by

Crystal Beasley
ORG

, and reflects the

POSSE
ORG

diagram drawn by

Tantek
PERSON

.

I’ve tried to incorporate existing ideas where available while trying to create a relationship between each icon. For example, the

IndieAuth
ORG

icon retains the shape of the existing icon while adjusting the counter to use the node motif, while the

Webmention
EVENT

icon retains the top right arrow.

Colours for each icon are taken from that used on the corresponding validator sites (for example the green used on Micropub.rocks) and share a colour palette that complements that used by the

IndieWebCamp
ORG

logo.

Next steps

There’s a lot more to be said of these ideas and discussion to be had around them, but my train is slowly approaching

Nuremberg
GPE

.

I’m going to suggest a session on this topic at

this weekend
DATE

’s event, but regardless of whether we end up discussing it or not, I will add my thoughts to relevant pages on the wiki. Hopefully a resolution can be found there soon.

(Long time readers of this site may recognise the title of this post. In

2009
DATE

I bemoaned the lack of any common identity across

UK Government
ORG

and that got fixed, so…)