LLVM Logo Redesign

Hi all, I have been working on a new logo for LLVM as a bit of a personal project. I speak to the rational below but I’ve finally arrived at something I’m happy with and it’d be great to begin getting some impressions / feedback from the wider community.

Redesigned Logo

This design is made up of all of the LLVM letters arranged into a wyvern dragon.

LLVM_animation

The logo performs well at small sizes without modification. I might create a modified version for 16px to optimise the pixel boundaries on the svg as it’s right on the limit of “too blurry” IMO but I’m holding off on that for now.

Variations

Raised Tail

Rationale

First of all I should say I’m not a designer, I work as a programmer during the day (well mostly night) so take the following with as many asterisks as you want.

I’m not a fan of the current logo. It’s a nice image but I wouldn’t call it a logo, more of a emblem or a mascot. It also gives me Yu-gi-oh or Pokémon vibes and while I admit I’m not up to date on the latest Pokémon generations I am pretty sure Compilermon isn’t in the Pokédex.

Current Logo

I decided that rather than complaining about it I would try my hand at creating my own version. It took a bit longer than I wanted (something like 30 variations sitting on my hard drive) but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve ended up with.

Would be cool to hear some thoughts or see if anyone else wants to have a shot at designing a logo as well.

Best,
Haikü

8 Likes

This looks good to me. Many of these points were brought up over a decade ago for the old logo and I generally agree that the current version, while an improvement, still suffers from many of the same criticisms.

A few users in the reddit thread asked for a few mock ups of how this logo would integrate with the existing website. As it currently exists the front page of llvm.org does not actually display the current logo but it would be easy enough to insert.

Also including an example of how it may look within discourse. I actually have less of a problem with the current logo on this page as discourse is quite colourful and you could make the argument that the logo serves as more of an emblem here, but it’s still useful to have a comparision.

imo, the raised tail variation looks more active, if that’s the best way to describe it?

I prefer the dragon.

1 Like

Active if a fair description. I think quite a few others prefer that version as well. Once the reddit thread dies then I will collate all the feedback here and go from there.

Feel free to explain why :slight_smile:

I liked the original Llewellyn wyvern and the current wyvern as well due to their artistic flair. The new one made from letters looks too formal for a framework that feeds hobby code and business code alike. Having a logo that doubles as a mascot is expressive. Having a logo without that expressiveness leaves much to be desired.

@timmyjose

(Technically, a dragon has 4 paws and wings, a wyvern has 2 paws and wings.)

Thanks everyone for the feedback! The response has been better than I was hoping for in both scale and sentiment which means we can make some pretty reasonable conclusions.

First of all a few stats:

  • This is now the most viewed thread on this forum (as far as I can tell) with almost 8k views
  • 292 upvotes on r/programming (87% Upvoted)
  • 29 upvotes on r/design (94% Upvoted)
  • 62 comments from the two reddit threads combined which are overwhelmingly positive (especially if you take into account upvotes on the comments).

I get the impression that r/design was more positive than r/programming partially because there was less of an attachment to the current logo among non programmers and some r/programming users down voted because a logo is not programming and they didn’t think it should be on the subreddit. That’s just a guess though.

I recommend reading the two threads linked above. There are definitely some common criticisms that are worth going through that I summarise below but first just so I don’t give the wrong impression it’s worth noting that these are the two most upvoted comments:

image

Criticism Summary:

The LLVM acronym is hard to make out in the logo and bring little value to the logo

I would agree that the letters are hard to see, though I’m not convinced that is necessarily an issue as I quite like them even if they are just an easter egg that most people miss.

I can see the argument that removing the letters might result in a cleaner overall design though, which is probably more important. That said more people liked them than didn’t so I think there is a bit of a trade off to be made here.

There’s too much negative space on the right and it doesn’t look “balanced”

I think I agree with that critique as well. One user proposed the raised tail version which I quickly put together and added to the OP and most people seem to prefer that. I think they prefer it partly because it addresses this critique but also because like @DesmondWillowbrook points out it makes the logo appear more “active”.

This new logo doesn’t say anything about LLVM and doesn’t have the charm of the original

I think this gets at your point @SamuraiCrow. Comments that this version isn’t as fun, is too formal and doesn’t say anything about LLVM were not common but present and I think need addressing.

Partly I think some of these comments were tied into the more general issue of nostalgia (some explicitly mention this) and some were I think just outright joking:

Some users mentioned that they don’t like the trend of simplifying / flattening logos and some others just outright think that the original is cooler (can’t win them all) but the critique that this logo doesn’t represent LLVM is I think a failure case (less so that the logo don’t say anything) if it’s true.

Partly it was my intention to make the logo less fun and more formal and here’s why. The message the logo should have conveyed in the past (and I would argue did, even if I have problems with it) was that LLVM is “fast”, “cool”, “smart”, “fun” and “open to people who would like to get involved”. LLVM was a new technology coming from a research project that had a lot to prove and was trying to beat some pretty big and well established ways of doing things. That was almost 20 years ago though and today I would describe LLVM as a foundational pillar on which a lot depends. It’s no longer just a research project made up of programmers who enjoy playing dnd/yugio/pokymon. It’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Foundation with a board of directors, many heavy hitting sponsors and many responsibilities (grants, sponsorships, financial reports, etc).

At this point I think the message LLVM’s logo should be conveying is that the project has institutional staying power in which you can place your grant money and trust (A little like a bank). LLVM is not trying to directly appeal to hobbyists or programmers in the same way as in the past, it’s trying to gain and increasingly retain the favour of large sponsors and research institutions. I also think LLVM is at a point where it can impose it’s own meaning into a symbol and probably get away with something much more abstract than my design. It’s already proved that it is fast, smart and able to compete with other compiler stacks so a logo that says little would by association to LLVM end up meaning all of the above. That said it’s possible I’ve overshot the mark, misinterpreted the “feel” that LLVM should be going for or just not achieved the look I wanted.

I’m up for making a few more versions to get it right but not if this becomes a endless task to please everyone. I’m not exactly sure who would have the final word on something like this so I might reach out on the mailing list to find out, if they say that LLVM has no interest in a logo change then we can leave it here. I think the overall response has shown that there is interest though so I’m hoping that is not the case.