At last month’s SQL Saturday in Chicago, we had two great distinctions:
- We were SQL Saturday #600, a milestone! (But weren’t SQL Saturday numbers going away?)
- We also were the first SQL Saturday to use the new logo, which is just one part of the major rebranding project undertaken by PASS last year.
At PASS Summit 2016, PASS announced several new logos as part of it’s rebranding campaign. There were new logos for PASS as a whole, SQL Saturday, 24 Hours of PASS, PASS Summit, and Business Analytics. In general they’re not terrible. I actually really like the new PASS logo. The old one just never made sense to me. Was it a St. Andrew’s Cross spider on top of a storm warning flag? (Since Sharknado was a hit, a movie about a hurricane full of spiders is a guaranteed blockbuster, right?) If there was any symbolism behind that old PASS logo, I’ve never heard it.
Old (left) and new (right) PASS logos
The new PASS logo, on the other hand, has a nifty story behind it. It’s all the different facets that make up PASS coming together into one. I like that.
But then there’s the new SQL Saturday logo.
Old (top) and new (bottom) SQL Saturday Chicago logos
SQL Saturday’s new logo is much more refined than it’s predecessor, and it’s very evident that a lot of effort went into these new logos and this rebranding as a whole. That being said, I think the new logo falls short in a few key areas.
First of all, there’s the symbol itself. It definitely works well with the PASS logo, but look at it. If you’re thinking in SQL about it (and since it’s a logo for SQL Saturday, that’s not too hard to imagine) you’ll see that it’s literally “<>”, the T-SQL operator for “not equals”. I have to imagine that whoever designed this logo was a graphic designer with absolutely no clue what SQL is, or what the logo they designed meant to people familiar with it. And I think that’s okay to a degree, but very early-on in this process someone at PASS probably should have looked at that and said “ya know, that looks like a not equals operator. Is that really how we want to symbolize SQL Saturday?”
Second, the typeface used in the new logo is much more modern, and the letters are significantly thinner than the old one. It looks great on a computer screen or when printed on paper, but think about what SQL Saturday logos are used for. In a lot of cases they are embroidered on things like shirts or jackets. Did whoever designed this logo know that? Once again I’ll assume they didn’t, otherwise they probably would have accounted for that.
The smaller a detail is, the more difficult/expensive it becomes to embroider, and this logo definitely qualifies. Just look at the PASS logo located inside the SQL Saturday logo. It’s microscopic. We had to use a bolder typeface for the speaker jackets we gave out in Chicago this year; it just didn’t look good otherwise. We also had to make it single-color, and remove the gradients. But by making all those changes, we technically changed the logo, which has become a big no-no in recent years. The SQL Saturday Wiki states: “Per the SQL Saturday license, the event logos provided to you by PASS are not to be altered in any way.” So if changes are necessary to be able to embroider this logo, but it can’t be altered in any way, does that mean organizers will have to run afowl of the license agreement? Or just do away with speaker shirts altogether? I don’t know, and I’m not sure there’s any way to tell.
SQL Saturday Chicago embroidered on jacket
It really doesn’t have to be this difficult though. This logo is still quite new, relatively unused, and there seems to be quite a few members of the community (SQL Saturday organizers in particular) who think this logo could use some work. Why not change it now? I’m sure there’s a way to come up with something that fits in with PASS’ new branding, is easier to embroider, and has a better message than “not equals.”