[okfn-discuss] new brand, new website: coming up next week

Tim Davies tim at practicalparticipation.co.uk
Sat Apr 12 14:19:20 UTC 2014

Hello Laura, all,

Thanks for sharing this update. The new logo looks great. However, the more
I read and reflected on the new brand content I did have some concerns I
thought might be worth raising for discussion.

I've blogged them in more depth at
essentially, they relate to the 'Motivation, Core Purpose and Tag
rather than name and visuals, and boil down to:

*1) A concern about process*
The Open Knowledge (Foundation) is, I think, widely understood as a broad
movement made up of WGs, Chapters, and many other volunteers as well as
core team. Developing a new brand was an opportunity to have an inclusive
conversation about what the community and core organisation understand by
open knowledge - and it seems, with this brand being presented as a done
deal, that opportunity has been missed.

Reading the responses of the 2013 survey that were shared on the OK(F)
blog, I also don't seem these reflected in the final core purpose and tag

Is there an openness to reviewing and more widely consulting the community
on this new brand before taking it as fixed?

*2) Data and tech-centricity*
The motivation, core purpose and tagline are more tech-centric and
data-centric than the OK(F) community is, risking sidelining other aspects
of the open knowledge community. For the tag-line just to be about data
seems particularly problematic.

*3) Understanding the difference of data, information and knowledge*
The motivation and core purpose statement appear to conflate date,
information and knowledge and use them interchangeably - but they are
importantly distinct. I would argue there needs to be a recognition of the
distinction of data, information and knowledge in order to develop a
coherent theory of change and purpose.

*4) Analysis of power*
The core purpose emphasises 'informed choice' as the primary means of
securing change - but does not address the need to change the frameworks in
which individuals are making choices. I think there is a much stronger
political critique of power to be found across the open knowledge movement,
and this is currently entirely missing from these statements.

I hope these thoughts (developer further in the blog post) are useful

Although I'm not currently active facilitating a working group or in other
volunteering within the OK(F) community, the new Core Purpose statement
certainly does not excite me to get more actively engaged again in future,
and I fear it will alienate others too.

In a spirit of constructive dialogue,

All the best

Tim Davies

On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 2:25 PM, Laura James <laura.james at okfn.org> wrote:

> All,
> As many of you know, we're refreshing our brand, and as part of this we
> will
> be refreshing okfn.org with our new brand next week.
>    - We're improving things to help Open Knowledge reach more people -
>    particularly communities who aren't involved in the open movement today
>    - Name change: from 'Open Knowledge Foundation' to 'Open Knowledge'
>    - New logo and better support for network use of the logo
>    - Words change: we have a new way of talking about ourselves, to make
>    sure new people to Open can understand what we're doing and why
> The network has been involved in the brand development process especially
> in the early stages as we explored what open knowledge meant to us all, and
> over the last weeks we've been sharing the final results with local group
> and working group coordinators.  We've also got a wiki page with all the
> information: http://wiki.okfn.org/About_the_Open_Knowledge_brand which
> we'll update as more materials etc become available, and as we work out
> what are the "FAQs" we need to answer. So news of the rebrand is already
> getting out, although we won't be formally announcing anything until the
> website is live.
> We've known from the start that no brand narrative or visuals will please
> all of the network, which is very diverse. Some people probably will not
> like the new logo, especially if they are familiar with the old one, and it
> may take time to get used to it; however, the overall brand refresh is
> designed to help us reach new people with the message of open knowledge,
> which will make even more positive change in the world - and that is really
> important. We've worked over several months with experts to develop a brand
> which conveys the powerful message of open knowledge and which will help us
> open up more information, and see it used and useful. This will enable us
> to build on the success of the first ten years of open knowledge and to do
> even more amazing things in our second decade.
> We're already getting some lovely feedback from community leaders, such as:
> *"I really like it!  :)   While my own approach to Open Knowledge is less
> data-centric than most, this logo leaves itself open (as it were) to enough
> interpretation to remain a great exemplar of Open Knowledge in all
> its forms...**I know I'll be proud to use it."  -- *from Heath Rezabek,
> our Ambassador in Texas. Thanks Heath :)
> The main okfn.org website will update next week (this has been a priority because
> this site hasn't done a great job of explaining open knowledge for some
> time, and gets a lot of criticism), and we'll gradually update other things
> (email sigs, business cards, letterhead etc) in the coming weeks. We are
> also very aware of community use of the brand, and will of course allow
> community use of the logo just as we have done with the old logo, but we
> hope that by providing stronger templates and tools we can all benefit from
> greater consistency in our brand than in the past.  We will be creating
> templates and assets and sharing these with the network as soon as we can,
> so we can benefit from a shared strong brand that says who we are and what
> we do, and helps us create more impact through open knowledge.
> Do let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
> We're excited about the new brand and how it will help us open up more
> information, and we look forward to discussing how local groups, working
> groups and projects around open knowledge want to use these communication
> tools to support their activities too :)
> Best regards,
> Laura
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w: http://www.timdavies.org.uk | m: 07834 856 303 | twitter: timdavies

Co-director of Practical Participation:
Practical Participation Ltd is a registered company in England and Wales -
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