POV-Ray Logo Contest

POV-Ray's logo is widely known in the POV-Ray community. It's used in the splash image of the program, in its icon and in its documentation, and it's used on the POV-Ray website. Furthermore many people in the community use it on their own websites as symbols immediately identifiable with POV-Ray, and to promote POV-Ray.

However, POV-Ray have not always had this logo. In fact, even though the first public release of what we now know as POV-Ray was released in July 1991, POV-Ray didn't have a logo until December 2000.

The story of how POV-Ray got its logo is an interesting one involving lots of people, lots of discussions and lots of creativity. On these pages Rune tells this story from his point of view (though he found it amusing to write it in third person).

The beginning

On May 10 1999 a member of the POV-Ray community Rune S. Johansen posted a message in the POV-Ray newsgroup povray.general suggesting that the program POV-Ray should have a logo. [see thread]

The responses were very mixed, and Rune gave up the idea at the time. However, almost a year later, on February 21 2000, he pursued the idea again and took initiative to set up and arrange a competition to find a logo for POV-Ray. [see thread]

Rune came up with a sophisticated voting system and also made a webpage with all the submitted logos. [see thread]

Voting started April 16 2000 and was planned to end May 17. [see thread]

Need for a better contest

However, already on April 21 it became apparent that the competition had not been good enough. Several people had shown dissatisfaction with the rules and the way the competition had been held. Rune recognized this, and proposed a new contest being held which would be better with the utilized experience gained from the old competition. [see thread]

At this time Rune felt that he was spending quite a lot of time on the whole competition/contest thing, so he'd like to know the position of the POV-Team before he proceeded any further. It was after all his vision that POV-Ray should have an official logo, and for that he'd need the support of the POV-Team. Luckily they were pleased with the project. [see thread]

Discussions of the contest rules

The rules written on the page above did not pop out of the blue air. They were the result of thorough discussions in the POV-Ray community.

Discussions were held about:
  • Why POV-Ray should have a logo. [see thread]
  • What the general qualities of the a good logo are. [see thread]
  • If the logos had to be presentable in black and white. [see thread]
  • Whether or not the logos had to be made in POV-Ray. [see thread]
  • And the submission formats for the logos. [see thread]
Some people probably thought that things were being discussed a bit too much. But Rune felt that it was necessary to ensure that the majority of people agreed with the rules that were being made. He wanted to avoid a failure like that of the original logo competition, were some people had questioned the way the competition had been held after it was already over.

In the end Rune condensed the conclusions reached in the discussions and wrote down the set of rules for the contest. The deadline for submissions was set to October 31 2000.

Besides the logo rules which described the absolute requirements of the logo submissions, Rune found that it would also be a good idea to have a page with some guidelines describing what makes a good logo in general. So he wrote a page with such advice.

Submissions going slow

As October came it had been possible for several months to submit logos for the POV-Ray Logo Contest, yet only two logos had been submitted. Rune considered to just drop the voting and let the POV-Team choose whether they wanted one of the two logos or not. [see thread]

Disappointed with that situation, he finally decided to instead take a more active part in ensuring that more logos would be submitted by offering people to help them with their logo designs, in order to improve them and make them fit the rules of the contest. [see thread]

The voting form By October 20 two more logos had been submitted, making a total of four, and Rune decided to not drop the voting after all. He also created a web form for the voting, that way preparing a more automated voting process than in the first competition. [see thread]

Six logos ended up being in the contest and the voting started on November 4 2000. [see thread]

The result of the voting

On November 10 the voting ended and Rune proudly could present the result to the public. The winning logo was logo nr. 2 designed by Chris Colefax [website], a long time contributor to the POV-Ray community, member of the TAG-Team, and author of many useful include files for POV-Ray.

Chris Colefax's comment about his own logo was:

"This logo (or symbol, rather) attempts to encapsulate a number of ideas. Firstly, the symbol represents an eye with a ray being traced from it, capturing the fundamentally visual nature of POV-Ray and the rendering process POV-Ray uses. More obviously, it's a P, and both an O and a V can be seen in it as well, making the symbol specific to (and immediately identifiable with) POV-Ray, rather than raytracing in general. The basic symbol itself is a simple CSG construction composed of five POV-Ray primitives. The simplicity of the symbol means that it can be presented recognisably in a range of ways, from a graphical 2D logo to a full blown rendering, or incorporated discreetly into other designs and images."

Rune also requested a statement from the POV-Team, and eagerly awaited a reply from them telling whether POV-Ray would now get an official logo or not. [see thread]

The official logo

The official logo Finally on December 11 2000 the POV-Team announced that they would adapt logo nr. 2 (the winner of the contest) as the official POV-Ray logo, though with some small changes to it. [see thread]

As of the time of writing now, POV-Ray have had its official logo for more than three years, and it has been well-received and widely recognized in and beyond the POV-Ray community. Watch the POV-Ray logo on www.povray.org or use one of the officially supported POV-Ray Now buttons (designed by Rune) below.

Persistence of Vision Text Logo