"To become an integral part of people’s lives, Wikipedia needs not only to have a strong brand, but also a strong core story and the ability to own a part of people’s minds," Moving Brands strategist Camilla Grey tells Co.Design. "It is one of the top most visited websites globally, millions of people rely on it for information, but still when you think of universally relevant Internet brands, Wikipedia is never the site that comes to mind. … The existing mark limits the brand in terms of the different stories it can tell about itself, and its ability to change and adapt to the world around it."
The subtext here is that a powerful brand is instrumental to Wikipedia’s success. Wikipedia is a non-profit. Presumably, the more visible the brand, the more likely the organization will attract the donations it needs to stay afloat. And an eye-catching logo can help.
The designers drew a mark out of just five lines, a nod to the five principles Wikipedia operates on. That produces a "W" with nine equidistant nodes, one for each of the encyclopedia’s nine sister sites. From there, a second line courses through and around the W, with its precise look changing depending on what keyword you search. Grey explains:
The mark is created by charting the momentum of content throughout the nine Wikimedia sites and generated according to the chronological order of content creation. Opportunities for content to be filled in are revealed with each new search. If one of the nine points on the mark has not been hit, it is an indication that there is no content available for that search term on that Wikimedia site. Hopefully, this will encourage people to add their own content when they see an area is missing.
In short, the mark is designed not only to capture the remarkable variation within the Wikipedia empire (though are 3.2 million permutations really enough? Seems small for a site that’s given us everything from an exhaustive history of Metroid to 29,000 words on 7th Heaven episodes), but additionally to subtly nudge people into actually improving the sites—it’s like a workhorse, with a capital "W."
[Images courtesy of Moving Brands; hat tip to Brand New]