Wikimedia official marks/About the official Marks

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The official marks of the Wikimedia Foundation can be found here. This page discusses the history and evolution of the marks.

Wikipedia puzzle globe and wordmark

The official English Wikipedia puzzle globe and wordmark.
The original Wikipedia wordmark and puzzle globe, used through May 2010.

Following the introduction of the revised Wikipedia puzzle globe in May 2010, the Foundation's usability team revisited the construction of localized versions of the Wikipedia wordmark (the stylized version of the word Wikipedia, with upper case W and A), and the tagline underneath the wordmark: "The Free Encyclopedia."

The guidelines for the construction of the Wikipedia puzzle globe and wordmark can be found here. Localized versions of the puzzle globe and wordmark number in the hundreds and can be found on the Wikimedia Commons.

The new guidelines are intended to formalize the manner of constructing localized versions of the Wikipedia wordmark, and to provide consistency in their appearance across hundreds of different languages and international character sets.

The original Wikipedia wordmark was created with the Hoefler typeface, designed by typographer Jonathan Hoefler in 1991. Because hoefler is a commercial typeface, and because the Wikipedia wordmark would need to be recreated in hundreds of localized editions for the first time, the Wikimedia User Experience team introduced the open-source Linux Libertine typeface as an alternate for hoefler.

Leading up to the Wikipedia Usability Initiative roll-out in May 2010, the Wikimedia User Experience Team also decided to take the opportunity to review the readability and aesthetics of the Wikipedia wordmark. From the original version you can also see that the "The Free Encyclopedia" text is no longer italicized, an effort intended to make the text more readable on-screen. Italics are also irrelevant in many non-Roman character sets. The team also decreased the size of the re-designed puzzle globe and lifted it up slightly higher above the wordmark.

Wikipedia puzzle globe

The completed puzzle globe.

In 2009 the Wikimedia Foundation undertook an effort to revise and update the classic Wikipedia puzzle globe, a globally recognized emblem that has grown to signify the multi-lingual, collaborative, and global nature of Wikipedia. The spirit and integrity of the logo needed to be upheld, but it was necessary to update the file format to increase the resolution and scalability of the image, and critical errors with the orientation and nature of the type symbols on the original needed to be addressed.

In mid-2008 the Foundation encouraged volunteers to participate in a new effort to fix some of the lasting errors and also to map out the rest of the globe. Historically there had never been a review of the back, bottom, and sides of the puzzle globe because the emblem had only existed in two dimensions.

The Wikipedia logo, originally created by David Friedland (Wikipedia user:Nohat) and based on an initial concept proposed in a logo-building contest in 2003 by Paul Stansifer, is discussed in greater detail on a page about its history on Wikipedia.

Along with the effort to map out the rest of the Wikipedia puzzle globe, the Foundation found a 3D animation artist and art director, Philip Metschan (Philip's personal website), based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Philip was asked to take the two-dimensional version of the puzzle globe to a full 3D model. Ultimately the 3D model would be used to explore the creation of new Wikipedia-branded products in the future, but also to explore the potential for a revolving or animated globe in video production.

Over the course of the 3D model's construction Philip worked with the new map of characters and intricately built the puzzle piece locations to map as closely as possible to the originals. Unique questions about the texture, style, and nature of the object itself were considered, and ultimately the color and style were finalized.

The new globe has completely independent, textured and smoothed puzzle pieces, 51 in all, representing just a portion of the breadth of character sets and languages at work in Wikipedia. Because We Can, a build/design firm based in Oakland, California was asked to take the new 3D model in late 2009 and construct the Foundation's first life-size signage for its new offices, a process they discuss on their blog.

Wikipedia puzzle globe renderings

These renderings from the 3D globe design process showcase the object from different perspectives, highlighting shading and texture details. The designer pin-pointed the exact position to properly render the globe as close as possible to the original view, resulting in the classic 'hero' version.

What characters are on the Wikipedia puzzle globe?

The detailed discussion and character selection process for the revised Wikipedia puzzle globe took place on the Meta project development wiki, in a thread known as Wikipedia 2.0.

Characters were generally selected based on their relevance, most notably by discovering the range of characters used at the beginning of translated versions of 'Wikipedia.' Notably, Klingon was removed as one of the visible characters from the original 'hero' version of the puzzle globe, replaced instead with Amharic. All characters now represent active and growing Wikipedias.

Click on the individual characters for more information about the image.

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Transparent.png Transparent.png Transparent.png Transparent.png Վ.svg Transparent.png Transparent.png Transparent.png Transparent.png Transparent.png
Transparent.png Transparent.png Transparent.png Telugu va + (i).svg Khmer vo+i.svg Transparent.png Katakana u and small i serif 1.svg ው.svg Transparent.png Transparent.png
Javanese wa + i.svg Gujarati va + i.svg Gothic winja.svg Hoeffler É.svg Bengali rhoshsho u.svg Greek uc Omega.svg Wikipedia's W.svg و.svg Gurmukhi vava + sihari.svg Cyrillic Я.svg
Cyrillic В.svg Lontara w + i.svg Oriya letter wa + i.svg Burmese v + i.svg वि.svg 維 GungSeo.svg Cyrillic И.svg Hangul wi serif.svg used in Nahuatl Wikipedia Laotian w + i.svg
Syriac waw.svg Glagolitic vede.svg Malayalam va + short i.svg Inuktitut u.svg Georgian ვ.svg Kannada va + (i).svg Hebrew vav.svg Thai wo waen.svg Tāna vaavu + vowel i.svg Cyrillic У.svg
Tagalog wi Hoeffler U.svg Mongolian wa.svg Limbu wi Cherokee wi.svg Tibetan wa + (i).svg Tamil va + (i).svg Sinhala va + i.svg Hoeffler Ä.svg Classical 典.svg
Tai Le wa Hoeffler V.svg Cyrillic Д.svg
Greek pi.svg Arabic yodh aleph.svg Hoeffler İ.svg

Stylized 'W' of Wikipedia

Stylized Wikipedia 'W.'
Comparison of original Linux Libertine 'W' with stylized 'W' mark.

The stylized Wikipedia 'W' is often used to indicate the Wikipedia brand or project when the puzzle globe or Wikipedia wordmark is not convenient, for example as a favicon in internet browsers.

The 'W' was originally created from the Hoefler type set. It is not a 'W' character, rather it consists of two upper-case 'V' characters overlapped to further express the linkage and center of the mark.

Further iterations of the stylized 'W' have been created with the open-source typeface Linux Libertine, resulting in a close approximation of the original Hoefler-style mark.

The Wikimedia Foundation mark

Wikimedia Foundation mark.

The Wikimedia Foundation mark was created to represent the encompassing nature of our project. It was created by Wikipedia user:Neolux (with an SVG version created user:DarkEvil, and further revised and optimized by Philip Ronan and user:Zscout370, and Artem Karimov). The symbol represents a human figure holding a stylized book. The red/green/blue colors - the primary colors, represent the basic elements of illustration and imagery.

The typeface of the marks, Gil Sans, are re-purposed and localized by Wikimedia chapter organizations.

For a full list of localized Wikimedia Chapter marks visit: