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Analyzing Technology Logos (with the help of Sporcle)

05.31.2010
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Branding can be an important part of having a recognizable software project or language.  However, the quiz entitled "Open Source Software and Language Logos" shows that a few popular technologies don't necessarily have widely recognized logos.  I created this quiz as a fun little distraction for the DZone community, but after being played over 1,500 times, the quiz stats were robust enough to have some real analytical value.  I thought I would share some of my observations and ask for yours.

Pretty much all of the quiz-takers were led to this game via DZone links, so we should keep in mind that the results are indicative of the DZone community but not necessarily the developer community as a whole.  I'm sure Java would have ended up at the top, regardless.  94.4% of the players recognized the cup o' Java.  Other seasoned organizations like Apache and the Ubuntu project (under Canonical) have done a good job at keeping their brands at the forefront of their technology.  Google has also done a good job at bringing the Android logo to such widespread recognition (78%) in such a short amount of time.



Linux-related logos were very recognizable overall.  Even the openSUSE Chameleon (I thought it would be a tough one to recognize) had over 50% recognition.  MySQL's dolphin was very recognizable, along with the GlassFish fish and the Tomcat cat (you could probably use logic to get those).  Perhaps the unique animal logos leave a better impression than simple logos like Wicket, Subversion, or NetBeans.

NetBeans and SpringSource's logos were not very widely recognized, which was surprising to me because NetBeans (43% recognized) and Spring especially (40% recognized) are very popular.  Python's logo (which looks like Mayan hieroglyphics to me) was pretty low (46%) for such a well-known programming language.  

At rock bottom we have the logo for the Low-Level Virtual Machine project (my personal favorite), which I expected to be not widely recognized, but I needed to have a handful of really difficult ones along with the really easy ones.  I guess you could say that I shouldn't have put Microsoft's Silverlight in the mix because it's not open source, but like LLVM I was drawn to it's cool, unique design.



Final thoughts:
The scores on the quiz formed a nice bell curve with most players getting around half of the answers (which means it had a good mix of difficult, easy, and mid-level logos).  WIth six minutes to play, time wasn't an issue so there was plenty of time to think hard and give up when you were certain you didn't recognize anymore.  Although there were a few anomalies like the low recognition for Spring, NetBeans, and Subversion, most of the statistics correlate pretty closely to the popularity and ubiquity of the technology.  Just compare Java's brand recognition to that of Clojure's.

You can find the correctly labelled logos on this page.  More Sporcle quizzes from DZone could be in the works ;-).

What did you think of the quiz?  Do you think these stats provide any useful information?