The wikiPedia foundation?

Ah, branding…

According to this on the mailing list, there is now an actual Director of Branding.

I’m genuinely curious what you think a “Director of Brand” does. Other than leading a rebranding effort, what does that role entail?

We’re talking about the same organization that hired search engine optimization consultants. For Wikipedia, a site with notoriously incredible search engine results page placement. And even among the sleazy underbelly of search engine optimization consultants, Wikimedia Foundation Inc. partnered with a particularly bad group.

We’re also talking about the same organization that unilaterally changed its logo in a dramatic “fade to black”.

Operating in good faith only works bidirectionally. When people are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and making bad decisions without community consultation, much less community endorsement, it becomes clear that at least one party is no longer acting in good faith.

So, no, I don’t think everyone is working toward the same goals here. Should we have a conversation about the neglected sister projects? Absolutely. This isn’t it.


What is going on here?  What was the “fade to black” thing?

As far as I can tell, the fade to black reference must be to the 2016 effort that went through the WMF stationary and business card stuff and regularized it.

In particular, a standardized alternative to the colored logo was presented, so the thing could be used on name tags and stuff where there wasn’t a color printer. This seems reasonable enough.

wmf logo white background 1 stationary

The work was done by Mule Design.

Ruh, roh.

Teh google tells us Mule Design is led by someone named Mike Monteiro (although his “co-founder” is listed as the nearly invisible Erika Hall).  I actually followed the guy on Twitter for a while, until I saw him drop some c-bombs in one of his conference presentations and then complain there weren’t enough women attending his talks.  By all means, it’s time for the WMF (WPF?) to ditch this guy.

But who have they got now? And what is new thing about?

The answer seems to be in this WMF blog post: Leading with Wikipedia: A brand proposal for 2030, By

The proposed system change suggests elevating Wikipedia into a high-visibility entry point that can be used to better introduce the world to our range of projects and their shared mission.

Is Wikipedia not already in a “high visibility entry point”, whatever that is?  And there are now “products”?

The company is “Wolff Olins, a London-based brand consultancy” although they have offices in NYC and San Francisco.  Oh looky they even have a Wikipedia article. The current CEO is Sairah Ashman (red link), who does not.

Sairah Ashman: this is what a CEO looks like

Sairah Ashman:

Ashman with client panel – no sausagefest here

She is an alumna of Harvard Business School and Goldsmiths University of London, an active supporter of The House of St Barnabas (working to break the cycle of homelessness) and a regular TEDx host and speaker.

I’m kinda liking this company, and in spite of the shenangans on the mailing list, starting to think it might be worthwhile to listen.

So what is this consultation?  Lots of glossy stuff to look at on the Strategy Session. Vague stuff, with circles and arrows.


Apparently it means putting the word “wiki” in front of everything. Commons will now become “shortened” to Wiki Commons.

Will Meta be shortened to wiki meta?

They are proposing to change all the domain names?

This is getting worse and worse, not counting the obvious fiddling with the numbers. Do they think no one is going to check the math?  Talk page here.

This is User:ZMcCune (WMF), Zachary McCune, Global Brand Manager, Wikimedia Foundation, on board since 2015.  Zachary hates the hashtag #basic to the point where he had a sign on his office created to have a lego woman appear every time someone tweeted the hashtag. “It’s like a cuckoo clock. For people talking about leggings.

basic hashtag sign basic hashtag sign with lego woman

So if you didn’t know before what a director of branding is like, now you know.

Right now, the machine lives at my office where it is annoying the hell out of the office dog.

Because someone is tweeting about #basic every 1.5 minutes and that sets our animated machine into motion.

Poor, poor Baxter the dachshund.



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