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World Wide Web logo

The World Wide Web original logo

Let’s do a quick thought experiment. What comes to mind when you think of Amazon.com?

In addition to images of things you secretly covet (smile), the company’s logo would also flash across. That black and orange artwork with an arrow. You may not remember the details (is the starting letter “a” in lower or uppercase?), but as long as it has some memorable quality, the company’s motive is satisfied. You see, organisations spend a lot of effort, time and money in having a recognisable brand.

Let’s extend this to Microsoft Windows. We all have seen its logo and kind of know what it looks like. It’s square with four smaller squares. Right! But do you actually remember the sequence of colours?

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Now think about the World Wide Web. What images come to mind?
Computers, browsers, web sites etc. But do you know that our beloved global network has a logo? And it’s almost as old as the web!

This is what it looks like:

The World Wide Web logo

And it’s surprising that even seasoned web developers do not know that the WWW has a logo!
Well, now you know better!

Who designed the logo?

The web was developed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. This was a big undertaking and even though the title of the inventor of the World Wide Web has been bestowed upon him, it would be unwise to think that he was the sole creator. Berners-Lee received help from several people including colleagues at the high-energy physics institution.

One of them was Robert Cailliau. In fact , Cailliau had been assisting Berners-Lee from the start. In March of 1989, the two scientists had put forward an informal proposal to create an “Information mesh”. Robert Cailliau was actually quite involved with the web and went on to co-developed the first web browser for the Macintosh – MacWWW (also called Samba).

Just before the First International Conference on the WWW, Cailliau came up with the simple logo with three ‘W‘s. The logo was displayed at the conference and each of the six inductees to the World Wide Web Hall of Fame was presented a Chromachron watch with the WWW logo.

Why hasn’t the logo become famous?

There are probably lots of reasons why the World Wide Web logo is not as well-known as Amazon’s or Windows. I’m no brand manager and don’t think I can comment much on that. I suppose because the web was made free just after inception, and became “enmeshed” (pun intended) with our lives so quickly, it was never looked upon as a “product” – one that can have a logo.

Having said that, a ‘globe’ graphic/icon is generally used for the web. And this has been so overused that it now looks kind of clich├ęd. Also, people interpret the web in their own way – as a marketplace, information resource, networking etc. A globe icon is definitely more suited!

Here is a screenshot of what I got in Google Images. The original World Wide Web logo does come up twice but the rest are primarily globes!

Google Image search for the World Wide Web logo

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