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The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has released a new resolution on branding work by the Wikimedia Foundation. Please read the full text of the resolution here.
In September 2021, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees passed a new resolution on branding which extends the pause on all renaming efforts and endorses new projects to strengthen branding for affiliates and Wikimedia content. Please read more about the resolution, and the process that led to it, on the Diff blog. Questions about the resolution itself can be asked on the movement brand project talk page. Thank you to the 9 community advisors and staff from the Wikimedia Foundation who worked closely and collaboratively with the Board over the past year to create this important milestone.
2021 Board Update
Cross posted from Wikimedia-l
I am happy to share with you that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has passed a new resolution on the topic of branding . Some context As you may remember, last year the Board paused all work under the 2030 Movement Brand Project, in order to rethink and improve the Foundation’s approach to community participation and decision making around renaming. After year-long work, attentive listening and thoughtful conversation between the Board, Wikimedia Foundation staff, and community advisors, the committee has come up with a recommendation for next steps. The recommendation was unanimously approved by the Board and captured in the above mentioned resolution. The Wikimedia Foundation will therefore be resuming its role to steward and protect Wikimedia brands, in partnership with our broader movement, and the ad hoc Brand Committee concludes its work .
What are the main aspects of the resolution?
Importantly, this resolution extends the Board’s decision that the Wikimedia Foundation should not pursue renaming work for this fiscal year (until at least July 2022). Instead, it directs the Foundation to support the Wikimedia movement through three main areas of brand work that protect and support Wikimedia’s reputation throughout the world. Please read more about this decision on the Diff Blog .
Wikimedia Foundation teams intend to share more information on new projects, including their plans for engaging our community, in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Foundation staff and I are available to answer clarifying questions on the Wikimedia brand / 2030 movement brand project talk page on Meta . You are also welcome to join the Board’s Open Meeting on October 20th, where you will be able to ask questions and hear from the team directly .
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the community advisors to the Brand Committee. This group has worked with us since February 2021, lending their time and expertise. Their input to the process has been invaluable and we appreciate their commitment to help us find a productive way forward. Thank you -- Lucy Crompton-Reid, Joao Alexandre Peschanski, Megan Wacha, Justice Okai-Allotey, Rachmat Wahidi, Erlan Vega Rios, Richard Knipel, Phoebe Ayers and Jeffrey Keefer!
I would also like to thank our Brand Studio team at the Wikimedia Foundation for their hard work, dedication, professionalism, flexibility, openness, and vision they brought to our joint work on the future of branding.
Together, we made sure that the next steps for brand work are closely connected to our 2030 strategic goals and we have no doubt they will be an important service to the Wikimedia movement. I look forward to watching these plans come to life and invite the community to actively participate in these discussions and decisions as they unfold.
Shani Evenstein Sigalov Chair, Brand Committee Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation
-  https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Resolution:Next_Steps_for_Brand_Work,_2021
-  https://diff.wikimedia.org/2021/10/14/wikimedia-foundation-board-of-trustees-new-resolution-on-branding/
-  https://meta.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Communications/Wikimedia_brands/2030_movement_brand_project
-  https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Community_Affairs_Committee/2021-10-20_Conversation_with_Trustees
2030 Movement brand project summary
Our free knowledge projects are created by a global movement. Since 2003, we have used the term “Wikimedia” to refer to this movement. However, after 15 years, the name “Wikimedia” remains unknown and confusing to the outside world. This may make it an ineffective tool for explaining who we are, demonstrating the impact of our work, and inviting new people in. The 2030 Movement Brand Project is creating a proposal for movement names and designs based on our best-known brand.
The proposed movement brand will consist of a naming convention and design system for the movement, affiliates and the Foundation. All communities and affiliates are invited to get involved in its development. If the proposed brand system is approved by the Board of Trustees for use, it will be adopted by the Foundation and it will be available for affiliates to opt in based on their needs.
How do you capture an ecosystem of people, projects, technology, content, and values? How do you do that in a single name? Or a design?
In 2003, we started using “Wikimedia” to describe the interconnected knowledge across projects as well as the communities and affiliates who make that knowledge available. But we learned, based on research, that “Wikimedia” is not a name that is well-understood or recognized by many people around the world.
This disconnect impacts our ability to fulfill our 2030 strategic direction: if the world does not know who we are, how can we guarantee that anyone who shares our vision can join us? If the world does not understand our movement’s interconnected projects and communities, how can we become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge? Creating a compelling, unified brand will communicate who we are and what we do, inspiring people of all backgrounds to join us and helping us reach our shared movement goals.
This project has the objective of evolving our movement brand in order to clarify who we are, simplify entry points for newcomers, and grow participation. The development of this project is informed by the qualities for good movement branding that emerged in the 2019 research and consultation (see below), and integrates new feedback as the project advances.
The brand system to be proposed will consist of a naming convention and brand design. The brand design is expected to include logos and design styles such as typefaces, colors and ready-to-use templates. This brand system, if approved for use, will be adopted by the Foundation and will be available for affiliates to opt in. It will not propose changes to the content projects.
This project supports the Brand Awareness priority in the Wikimedia Foundation's medium-term plan.
The qualities of good movement branding (Movement Branding Criteria)
In 2019, the results of the 2030 research and planning community review presented six qualities/criteria surfaced by the community review that should guide the 2030 Movement Brand Project.
These qualities are also being referred to as the seven Movement Branding Criteria.
- Branding should reduce confusion about the distinction between organizations and projects, clearly identifying what roles platforms, volunteers, affiliates, and the Foundation play in the movement.
- Branding should protect and improve the reputation of the movement, increasing trust in our content and contributors.
- Branding should benefit all projects, so that Wikipedia's international popularity and centrality to our movement are used to improve usage and participation in related projects.
- Branding should mitigate legal and government risks to movement participants and affiliates, so that volunteers are not blamed or punished for project content in places hostile to project content and our policies of free speech.
- Branding should grow our movement by appealing to new users, contributors, donors, and partners around the world, and inviting them to join us in our 2030 direction.
- Branding should be adaptable and adopted gradually, allowing community groups to opt-in to the system in a way that is personalized and localized, at their own pace, with support from the Foundation.
Several of these points have been reinforced in 2020 by the volunteer-initiated RfC Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia, with a seventh quality being added at the conclusion of that RfC:
- The Foundation should not use the name Wikipedia, as a significant majority of the community has found it unacceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia to refer to itself.
We invite everyone to get involved. We encourage especially the participation of all movement affiliates because they are the target users of the evolved brand system being developed by this project.
A list of past project activities and updates. For a complete list, see the Timeline.
- 2021-10-25: ZMcCune (WMF), director of brand, clarified: "...the 'Movement Brand Project' may be marked as historical. It will not be continued. The Board's 2021 resolutions indicate new directions for shared brand development and stewardship." Special:Diff/22239571
- 2021-09-15: In a resolution, the Wikimedia Foundation board effectively puts an end to the current renaming activities. Resolution:Next Steps for Brand Work - "RESOLVED, that if the Wikimedia Foundation decides to revisit the possibility of changing its name--no earlier than July 2022--any considerations around name changes will involve a new participatory and deliberative process with the community."
- 2020-10-30: Requests for comment: Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia closed, with a significant majority of the community expressing it is not acceptable for the Foundation to call itself Wikipedia.
- 2020-10-06: Naming survey feedback report was published on meta and the full report on Wikimedia Commons.
- 2020-09-30: Board update: The Board made public a resolution decided on 2020-09-24: Resolution: Pause of Brand Development Work through 1 March 2021
- 2020-07-28: Foundation board reviews Project history and Timeline, created by the Brand Project team. (Concerns related to the misleading nature of these documents at the talk page discussion)
- 2020-06-22 and 2020-06-26: Board updates on Branding and on next steps released.
- 2020-06-23 and 2020-06-26: Brand office hours. See the report.
- 2020-06-23: Ongoing: A community open letter on renaming has been published and is accepting signatures. For related discussions in the projects see here.
- 2020-06-18: Brand project executive statement released.
- 2020-06-18: Report released on the naming convention proposal presentation.
- 2020-06-16: Ongoing: A community-initiated informal poll on naming issues.
- 2020-06-16 - 2020-07-07: Movement-wide call for feedback on naming convention proposals. Details on the the naming page.
- 2020-06-16: Live presentation of naming convention proposals.
These are rough project milestones and may change.
- Concept development - completed (January to April)
- Naming conventions for discussion (June - July)
- Foundation participation paused through at least March 2021
Every step of the process is documented in the project timeline.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Brand Network - Guides brand concepting and design process in collaboration with Snøhetta (the project design partner) and Foundation staff.
- Volunteer communities across the movement (cross projects, community lists, and village pumps) - Comments on proposed naming, design, and brand elements to highlight concerns, needs, and suggested improvements.
Wikimedia Foundation (Participation paused through at least March 2021)
- Steering Committee - Informs brand development. Representatives from Fundraising, Legal/Policy, Technology, Product, Finance & Administration.
- Brand Project team - Leads project development and documentation, and coordinates between movement, Foundation, and Snøhetta.
- Executive Leadership and Board of Trustees - Vet and review brand proposals.
Snøhetta (project design partner)
- Leads design work. Crafts brand proposals for Movement review.
- Project blog in collaboration with Snøhetta
- Wikimedia 2030 brand research (2017)
- Wikimedia 2030 Brand strategy proposal (2018)
- 2030 research and planning, project summary, community review, and results for details of this phase. (2019)
- New Readers awareness research & activities
- Community initiated Request for Comment (RfC) from early 2020 titled "Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia"
- Foundation board minutes regarding this project
- Project history for board review
- Project timeline for board review