[antlr-interest] possible ANTLR logos

Graham Wideman gwlist at grahamwideman.com
Wed May 30 16:41:23 PDT 2012

I think I'd like to at least raise for consideration the following points:

Whether or not ANTLR aficionados like or dislike the proposed logos is only one aspect of logo choice. (Of course, we don't want to dislike it!)

First, here are some representative considerations.


So this has me asking, what are the design requirements that are fulfilled by the proposed designs, and on what principles are the designs based?

Pretending to be a naive viewer, I note that the most eye-catching feature is the red circle.  It has some some subtle gradients, suggesting that it is a sphere, though the sphere shape is not carried through to the letter projected upon it.  The red circle draws attention to the "A". In turn, the A has some pointy and triangley stylization that has been conspicuously applied, as though the special shape conveys something additional, though I've not understood what.

Although it is pleasant to look at, I find myself asking, how is any of this (the  red, the circle/sphere, the "A", the stylization) thematically related to the business of ANTLR?  Kyle mentioned: "I think it's neat that the A icon evokes in-order traversal and looks a bit like a stylized antler."  To be honest, I myself have difficulty seeing that. 

(Hmmm, now that I've stared at it *really* hard, the "A" has turned into an open safety pin of the kind used for diapers. ANTLR -- a tool to keep all that language cr*p in one place!)

Further, all the emphasis is on the "A", which in the acronym (ANother Tool for Language Recognition") is actually the least important word (though it is the letter which is emphasized when pronouncing "antler").  Some play on the "R" would make more sense from a semantic point of view.

There's also the aspect that though the acronym ANTLR has a long history with this project, the english word "antler" which it strongly alludes to is unrelated to the underlying quest, so that creates some additional cognitive noise, which is exacerbated by emphasizing the leading letter as though, despite the all-caps, Antlr is a proper name and not an acronym. 

Contrast with Flickr, which is not an acronym, and deviates from an actual english word by the same amount as ANTLR does, but the alluded-to word is much more related to its business. That logo commonly appears all-lower-case ("I'm not an acronym"), and with initial cap when written in narrative ("I'm a proper name").  (And I just now noticed that their logo actually emphasizes the last letter, though I don't know why!)

I don't know what to conclude from all this -- to me a distinctive red cricle seems as good as a distinctive blue square or a purple rectangle enclosing the whole acronym or whatever, but has not gone any further than that to communicate anything in particular, or with particular memorability. 

Perhaps there actually has been some clever thinking behind all this -- that would be interesting to hear.  (And do I have any better ideas at the moment? Nope.)

Finally, I would advocate some thought about how the color of the logo impacts on the color theme of other artifacts, most notably the website. Might be just fine, but it would be good to think that through now rather than discover a problem later.

-- Graham

At 5/30/2012 12:09 PM, Terence Parr wrote:
>Hi, I'm working on a logo for antlr. trying to narrow it down. any of these grab you?  I'm for sure going with the A in red circle but what about other placement stuff? I tried one myself using his graphics with a small "ANTLR" under:
>Here are the others to consider:
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