Communications/Wikimedia brands/2016 Wikimedia brands perception report/2016

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A report on Wikimedia brands and their perceptions among Wikimedia community members. This report represents the findings of research interviews at Wikimania 2016 which featured 20 Wikimedians from 16 countries and 12 different language groups.

To better understand perceptions of Wikimedia brands, the Wikimedia Foundation Communications team conducted series of community interviews during Wikimania 2016. The interviews asked participants to reflect on Wikimedia brand elements such as projects names, logos, reputations, and public awareness.

This page colleges the research methodologies, participant demographics, and key research findings.


The Communications team interviewed 20 key members of the community, including 2 members of the FDC and several former or current chapter presidents.

The group represented:

  • 16 countries
  • 12 languages
  • 10 men
  • 10 women

In reviewing the notes, common themes, phrases, and descriptions emerged. We have documented these commonalities here as preliminary findings on community perceptions of the Wikimedia brand system. You can find the collected brand perception research notes here.


Each interview was approximately 30 minutes in length. While one research team member asked questions, a second team member recorded notes.

Two sets of visual guides were used to show Wikimedia brand marks and to compare Wikimedia brand marks to other well-known international brand logos.


On Wikimedia projects[edit]

Participants prefer explicit symbolic connection between project branding and project purpose.

  • Nearly half of participants (9 of 20) cited clear “symbolism” between project logos and their meanings as what made branding “good,” “great,” or “perfect.”
  • By contrast, 11 of 20 responses documented “confusion,” complained about lack of “connection,” between visual assets (logo or colors) as reasons for why participants disliked the brand.

Participants most often cited “Wikidata” as a great project logo.

  • 8 of 20 responses selected Wikidata as an ideal example of project branding. [1]
  • One participant said “In terms of semantics it’s perfect- the color, font, and barcode.”
  • Others explained “Wikidata has nice symbolism,” “it is simple and obvious,” and “it is quite clever. It spells ‘Wiki’ in morse code.”

One-third of participants dislike “Wiktionary” or “MediaWiki” logo.

  • 7 of 20 participants explicitly disliked Wiktionary logo. Another 7 of 20 respondents disliked MediaWiki. [2]
  • One participant said “Wikitionary is the worst. It feels like an early stage free software startup. Too amateur.”
  • On MediaWiki, four different responses complained about the lack of connection between the sunflower and the project. One participant said “the sunflower has nothing to do with anything.”

On Wikimedia[edit]

Participants most often defined Wikimedia as an “organization of support” for Wikipedia.

  • Half of all participants defined Wikimedia by relating it to “Wikipedia” explicitly.
  • Others described Wikimedia as an “umbrella” organization (4 of 20 responses), as a “movement” (4 of 20 responses), or a "foundation" (3 of 20 responses)

25% of participants said they never describe Wikimedia outside of the Community.

  • These participants expressed difficulty in succinctly describing what Wikimedia is, and how it is different from projects like Wikipedia.
  • One participant said “I don’t want to explain that there’s stuff other than Wikipedia because it’s such a long story.”

More than 50% of participants “love” the Wikimedia colors and the logo’s round shape.

  • The “simplicity” of colors was cited by 13 of 20 respondents as positive attribute of the Wikimedia brand system.
  • 10 of 20 responses praised the round logo shape for suggesting “unity” “softness,” “a globe,” or “harmony.”

On Wikipedia[edit]

Half of all participants said they never need to explain what Wikipedia is.

  • Participants across regions reported that Wikipedia brand awareness was very high, and that they never needed to explain the site.
  • However, some participants (4 of 20 responses) explained a frequent need to explain how Wikipedia “works” including “how we edit” and how information is produced.

The Wikipedia logo’s “incomplete” section was the most praised part of its visual design.

  • 11 of 20 responses explicitly celebrated how the “idea that the puzzle globe is incomplete … evokes a feeling that you want to add something” or that “the puzzle is almost complete but missing you.”

One third of participants wish the Wikipedia logo included more languages.

  • While 8 of 20 responses praised the inclusion of a range of language characters in the logo, 7 of 20 called for more.
  • One participant explained “When I first say it, I didn’t like that it was only a few languages. We need to show more languages.”
  • Another suggested “make the [puzzle] pieces smaller to show more…”