[Osmf-talk] logo update

Tom Chance tom at acrewoods.net
Mon Dec 19 14:25:47 UTC 2011

Hmm, I'm not particulaly bothered myself but I've always been told that
acronyms and other abbreviations are generally bad practice for branding.
Why? Because they usually don't convey anything meaningful on their own,
and remember logos will often be used out of context. A general rule is
that you should never start out with an abbreviation for your brand.

Exceptions are where:

* you need to detoxify an existing name or project a new image (e.g. BP)

* the abbreviation or acronym is more friendly than the full title (e.g.

* people already know you by your initials (e.g. MTV)

* the abbreviation is easier to remember (e.g. IBM)

* companies using abbreviations are usually successful in spite of their

I've also been told that you don't want to split your brand in two by using
one version (openstreetmap) for the domain and web site text and another
(osm) for the logo. You pick one or the other, not both.

I've never heard anyone call Wikipedia "wiki", and the only circle I've
ever walked in where people regularly start with abbreviations is the techy
geek world of recursive acronyms and companies like 3M/IBM/etc.

I only ever hear OSM among fellow serious contributors, whereas people who
are peripherally aware of the project, who use the web maps or who have
dabbled in contributing have always called it Openstreetmap or

If we want to focus on that regular contributor audience, perhaps we need
to commit to OSM for the domain and the rest of the web site, only spelling
"OpenStreetMap" out to explain the name on background "about"-type pages?


On 19 December 2011 12:46, SteveCoast <steve at asklater.com> wrote:

> Osm has some advantages. It's shorter. We're not really just a street map.
> Most people call it osm (apart from old osmers). OpenStreetMap appears in
> the URL already so don't need to repeat it.
> Reminds me that most non technical people call Wikipedia just "wiki" for
> some reason.
> Steve
> On Dec 19, 2011, at 3:34 AM, Tom Chance <tom at acrewoods.net> wrote:
> On 19 December 2011 09:20, Andy Allan <gravitystorm at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 18 December 2011 23:04, SteveCoast <steve at asklater.com> wrote:
>> > Many of them have fallen in to the "OSM text plus a pin" bucket with
>> some interesting variations on how to represent a pin.
>> Given that pins on a map is pretty much the antithesis of what we are
>> all about, it's worth updating your briefing to discourage them. I'd
>> even prefer the sweaty-armpits logo (#79)!
>  +1
> My first two reactions are:
> - our current logo concept (data shown in map) isn't half bad
> - why this obsession with the "OSM" abbreviation, which will mean nothing
> to most visitors?
> Tom
> --
> http://tom.acrewoods.net   http://twitter.com/tom_chance

http://tom.acrewoods.net   http://twitter.com/tom_chance
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