New logo to clearly communicate the revigorated community

I feel that over the years more and more great initiatives have been made to make sure that Haskell is as inclusive and friendly as possible (without sacrificing the unique superpowers). And to show that it is usable in “practice”.

Very notably is the Haskell Foundation that seems to do an terrific job and a lot of fun things are happening right now.

After the interesting idea about a plush toy(Haskell plush toy) I got thinking. Maybe it would be beneficiary to do a rebranding in general or at least the logo?

I think that the current the logo is iconic and quite cool. But I think a lot of people outside the community is unaware of all positive energy in the community right now and the new direction of wider adoption. I think there is a quite high risk that people have already made up their minds on what Haskell is and who can use it.

I think that an updated logo can be a cheap way of making people take a new look at Haskell.

A new logo should be recognizable, iconic and connected to the uniqueness of the language but maybe even more important friendly and inclusive. And a mathematical symbol is, I think, quite daunting.

What do you think? My intent is not to step on someones toes - as I said, I like the current logo but think it is time for an update because of the reasons above.

It could be smarter to wait until we have some things currently on the roadmap(installer, how-to-book etc) to make sure that people coming can even easier see the changes and feel even more welcome.

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As much as I think this is a good idea, with a lot of merit, I just love the current logo too much, the risk of disappointment is very high!

On a more serious note, I think that’s an even better point. I feel like the @haskell-foundation’s been doing a great job helping sorting out a lot of long standing issues, maybe a new marketing campaign would be more warranted once a few of the more newcomer oriented initiatives start bearing fruits.

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The logo is widespread and iconic, as well as simple, easy to adapt to many circumstances, and also very expressive about what haskell is. It’s pretty darn near perfect in my opinion. One can always spruce it up with different colors, maybe some more visual flair, etc. But the shape/glyph itself is fantastic – one of the best logos for any language, imho.

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I think I agree with your description of all the strengths of the current logo but I think it is more important how people outside our community sees it than us.

Unfortunately, when I talk to people they have quite different views on the language and the community comparing to me.

With all positive things happening(that will make it easier than ever to pick up Haskell) I think it is great if we can find ways of communicating that.

I suspect that the current logo is associated with a lot of good and bad, in the best of worlds we could do something to keep the good and throw away the bad.

I think that a “worse” logo that makes people to give Haskell another/a first shot is superior to a “better” logo that does not.

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Unfortunately, when I talk to people they have quite different views on the language and the community comparing to me.

As an aside I’m curious to know what their view on it is.

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I think there are a few common thoughts I have heard:

  • It is a very difficult, uninviting language and you must know a lot of math before using it
  • It is an ivory-tower type of language. A few people that use it for themselves, not to solve other people’s problems
  • “It works fine locally but it seems ‘undeployable’” (no clear and easy way to get something out in production. With C# it takes 10 minutes for a total beginner to get a hello-world api, running in the cloud.)
  • “If I’m not interested in all the maths and category theory I’m not welcome and the language is not usable for me”
  • “The benefits of correctness is very expensive and it takes a long time to do something in Haskell so it is viable option only for banks and similar that works with ‘formal verification’”
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Tbh I don’t see why changing the logo would change how others see Haskell, so I think that focusing on trying to improve the very concrete points you mentioned is more worthwhile.

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I agree with @sclv, the Haskell logo is about as perfect as you can get.

I’d be against changing it.

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I agree with you that a new logo wouldn’t in itself change anything and the main focus should be fixing the underlying issues. But if we solve all challenges and no one notices then it would be practically the same as not doing anything. That being said, changing the logo is not the only way to communicate this, but I think a very cheap one.

But I think there is a lot of merit to the argument to wait with this discussion.

I’m yet to encounter a single mainstream-language programmer whose argument against Haskell was “hey sorry, great language and tooling, but this logo… nah, count me out”

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I doubt a new haskell logo would erase the current one. It could become slightly less sharp or whatever. There are plenty of ways to change a logo without losing its identity…

Rebranding is an enormous effort but imo it would be well worth taking if Haskell suddenly wants to communicate that it want to be recognized as something other than it was.

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What is the actual number of people you think will see a new Haskell logo out in the wild and say “Hey, that must mean they fixed all of those language design errors that stopped me from wanting to use the language.” or “Hey, that must mean the language no longer has a PhD in mathematics level skill floor needed to write a ‘Hello, world!’ program”?

I see nothing wrong with the Haskell logo and I agree with everyone who has already said that it is incredibly well designed, but even if there was an over all agreement that we need to redesign it or ‘rebrand’, I would be utterly floored if that had an effect on a single person who decided to not use the language because they thought the math barrier to entry was too great or that deployability was too much of a hassle. You haven’t given a single argument for why changing the logo would address any of the real, concrete problems you listed people have with starting the language and I see no reason why it would. It’s a logo…

Maybe this is my skepticism of the contemporary climate of brands and marketing but if I saw that, e.g. Amazon changed their logo, my first thought would not be “Wow, they must have really fixed all their workers rights issues and are dedicated towards providing a fair and nurturing work environment for their employees,” my first thought would be “someone got paid like $40k to come up with a new logo that’s slightly different from the old one because of a bunch of pointless focus group testing results.”

I can’t put myself in the mind of someone who walked away from Haskell because they saw the cognitive overhead as being too high or the industry ergonomics are too rigid but would see a logo design change and specifically think that signifies the overhead vanished and the ergonomics were dealt with; I am thoroughly convinced that person does not exist.

I think if the discussion of changing the logo is to go forward, the focus needs to change from what I’ve criticized above to actual substantive problems with the current logo or actual substantive benefits of a specific new design, not how rebranding the logo will cause people to think the language has become more accessible.

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I think I agree that it would be a shame to lose our current logo. I agree with @sclv that it’s nearly perfect.

I would definitely feel differently if I believed that a new logo would really attract a lot of attention from people who have previously dismissed Haskell. But I also think @KripkesBeard has a point: what will get people back to Haskell is fixing the problems that drove them away in the first place. A new logo isn’t likely to move the needle at all. And rebranding well is hard: it’s a lot of work to build recognition of a new brand.

From a few comments recently, I get the impression that you (I mean @mtonnberg) have run across a group of people with a very negative view of Haskell, and believe Haskell to be a deeply unpopular language. That’s unfortunate, but I don’t think it’s representative of any kind of consensus point of view among software engineers. I’ve typically gotten nothing but very positive response about my Haskell experience from engineers, employers, open source community groups, etc. who aren’t part of the Haskell community. So I’d encourage you to think about whether your experience here might be an outlier.

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I’m not sure why you’d consider lambda a mathematical symbol? Lambdas are pretty common even in more commercially accepted languages, just not in their logos.

Also why is a mathematical symbol in the logo a bad thing? One of the best things about Haskell as it becomes popular is to make mathematical thought and method accepted in programming: be a language not of repeating the same patterns but one that encourages mathematical and logical thought. I’m not sure Haskell should move away from that.

I also don’t think beginners get daunted by the logo (I sure wasn’t). The Haskell logo is no less or more daunting than the Rust logo.

What’s far more daunting is lack of documentation than a logo, to be honest.

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I love Haskell and the current logo so much, that at one time I was considering having it tattooed. I know there are some people that have Haskell logo tattoo. I bet they would be unhappy if the logo changed :laughing:

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I do believe that designs should breathe and adapt. It’s likely you’ll get a very biased waiting for thoughts in a forum post.

A poll is likely better.

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You are right that I have not given any argument for why a logo change would address any issue with the language itself.

My point was that people live busy lives and I think it is a non trivial task to get peoples attention. To read a blog post/news article or similar about all positive changes start with a single click.

The hypothesis I put forward was that I think a visual change could spark that initial interest, especially if the visual change is welcoming and successfully communicates an increased inclusiveness and friendliness.

To reiterate, this post stemmed from a positive place “I think a lot of positive things are happening right now - how could we spread the word” not “We need to rebrand because I do not like the current community”

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Just to be able to say a ratio of opinion exists here, I happen to believe the aesthetic of the current logo is trash. Typographically, it’s too sharp. A lambda, especially, needs to curl or it’s not a lambda, it’s a backslash with a leg. The typograhical class is called Brutalism precisely because it it brutal to the human eye, to deny the use of curvature. Haskell is the curviest language I know, and the most expressive, so to deny this typographical expression runs counter to how I see Haskell. It looks frozen in a past where we hadn’t quite worked out how to get ligatures into emacs.

It’s not going to happen, given ratio, but I began scrolling this thread excited. OMG, I would love to see a variety of ideas from people about what they see Haskell is right now. Maybe there’ll be a competition, where logos are presented and explained, and we can click a like button. I couldn’t care less the winner. If it was really bad, we’d just do it all again down the track.

We used to celebrate Comic Sans, remember? If not here, then where might we be able to have a bit of fun with who we are?

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Maybe we’ve fixed them already, but they’ll never know, because they see the old brand and think nothing has changed.

Our documentation has gotten so good over the last two years. Best in class in places. Our user tools are where now? Best in class already, or at least close enough we can see a daylight ahead. One-click install across all platforms is imminent once we all get to ghc 9. How’s our community going (in what is a fairly rough patch in the current societal context)? Well we care about it and are actively focused on this, and we seem to be able to have robust discussion about it. How’s our compiler? It’s a little slow, but we ask a lot. It now has a fully exposed API driving end-user tool development, linear types is in, and we’re collectively and realistically staring at dynamic typing as a thing we might do with skill and grace.

That list has moved the dial already. If this is accurate and a shared opinion, then we should tell everyone about it, fairly loudly.

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In my humble opinion, no, we haven’t.

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