A short history of HubPages graphics


Over the past few years I’ve made hundreds of graphics for HubPages. Most of them have been total crap. Just real garbage. Everything in the image above has been banished from HubPages forever, and with the exception of this post, will never be seen again. We have also cycled through a number of terrible logos. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at every HubPages logo that has gone the way of the dodo.

July 2005

At this time, I was using Photoshop to create everything. Logos are something that should be made in a vector based image editing program, but of course, I was completely unaware. Also note that the text “PAGES” is horizontally stretched. That is a cardinal sin of typography I was oblivious to. I was using the typeface Arial, which is of course Microsoft’s ubiquitous knock off of Helvetica. I am ashamed of this.

August 2005

This graphic was proudly displayed on splash page. We even got some TechCrunch coverage with this thing. It’s more or less the same thing as before, rearranged in a wacky off-kilter sort of fashion. This logo just scares me.

May 2006

A variation on the above logo using the (freeware) typeface Cafeta. At this time I thought dafont.com was the only legitimate purveyor of fonts, and Jay and Paul encouraged me to use the web-safe blue, in order to match their links. This is worthy of embarrassment as well.

Early July 2006

One of my first logos from Illustrator (finally a vector based program. Paul Edmondson seemed to like the idea of a sprocket as the logo. I chose the font Futura, which marks my first acceptable decision in typeface selection. The letter spacing is atrocious (look at the tightness of “ES” compared to the looseness of “PA”). The “beta”, which was inserted with HTML, is a startling shade of web-safe red, though Paul Deeds was responsible for that.

Late July 2006

Apparently the Futura was bothering someone because the logo got cropped into just the sprocket, and the text was added in with more HTML, this time set in the web-safe font Trebuchet. Someone was probably making an effort match the font used elsewhere on the site for headings at that time. The intensity of the blue was dialed back, and the red “beta” was swapped with a pink one.

October 2006

I have no idea what “SM” means. I’m sure I could ask Deeds—he’s sitting right next to me, but that’s besides the point. I don’t think the average HubPages user would know what it means, so what’s the point? Nonetheless, it lasted surprisingly long. At least light gray is a nice choice.

April 2007

When they did a major overhaul of the site design in April of 2007, another web designer added a placeholder logo that looked similar to what we have here. We switched from an HTML Trebuchet in all capitals to a image Trebuchet in upper and lower-case, set in bold, with tight letter spacing. The red, blue, and green (all with gradients), mark was inspired by the idea of a central Hub that would spin you off in myriad interesting directions. It was met with little criticism, and even served as the bases of the YieldBuild logo which was designed sometime soon after. It would be extreme to say I’m ashamed of this, but I think everyone has seen enough Trebuchet. The spaced between the base of each arrow are too tight and the colors bleed too much on the grey background.

March 2009

And finally the current version. Notice how the space between the mark and the type was minimized. I switched from gray to white type and a lighter grey background.

Looking back on all this awful work, it’s amazing to me that I didn’t just give up and start doing something else. I suppose the hope of improving has kept me interested. My bosses at HubPages have always given me freedom to make plenty of mistakes—which is a good thing. Hopefully, the site will continue to look better as time goes on, and hopefully—after this week—we’ll never change the logo again.

20 thoughts on “A short history of HubPages graphics

  1. James, it’s obvious to see the improvements you’ve made. There is no doubt that hubpages is lucky to have such a driven individual that demands the best and never settles for less.

  2. James, the “SM” stands for service mark, and you should read up on trademarks if you wish to know more. Some of us average HubPages users know more than you might think….

  3. Reading a little further into this James you say ” hopefully—after this week—we’ll never change the logo again.”
    does this mean that Hubpages is getting a makeover again lol?
    …..jimmy

  4. The third one introduced in May 2006 is entirely different from the changing pattern. For me, the first two and last two logos look more professional than others and the current one is the best. Good work.

  5. Hey James great to see a blast from the past lol I remember to first cog logo but I have never seen the 2 before it, loved the old look of the site and and I love the latest look and with all of the added features since my first hub hubpages has evolved at a fantastic rate and is one of the best looking sites and easiest to use on the web.
    keep up the great work…..jimmy

  6. I love all of the logos wasy back to 2005 but then, I think I am still cosidered a newbie having not made pay out yet (heavy sigh) however, I am proud of being a part of HubPages and hope to be here a long time!!!
    That said, whatever logo you guys pick out, this one day hopeful writer will proudly display it all around my works in progress!!
    love to you all and thank you for making this website!!

  7. You didn’t point out that the arrows that appeared in ’07 are RGB. The three primary colors. 🙂
    If you look at a close-up of an LED screen, you’ll see that every single pixel has three LEDs – red, green and blue.

  8. Don’t whip yourself too hard. Stretching type isn’t really a Cardinal Sin. In fact it can yield attractive results in many cases, especially if it describes something that is actually being stretched e.g. Stretch Your Budegt. That is the whole point of graphic design, What looks good is good!

  9. Thanks for putting this page together. I wanted to be able to compare all the logos, since there is a conversation going on in the forum.

    The new logo has a very ‘friendly’ feel to it which matches the fact that this is a ‘social’ network. The previous logo picked up on the theme of change and movement, similar to the recycling symbol.

    Nice change into a new appearance and brand.

    Debby
    Graphic Designer in my previous life.

  10. I especially like this line given the current logo of HP:

    “Hopefully, the site will continue to look better as time goes on, and hopefully—after this week—we’ll never change the logo again.”

  11. Looking at the graphics up top, I’m quite fond of the RGB heart – we should use that one again for HubLove or something! 🙂

    Something that you and the others at HP may want to think about… doing something more BOLD… google tends to change their graphic on google.com I think daily. I think that if HubPages got into that, it may entice others to click it for a SURPRISE from HP… maybe a PRIZE for Hubbers (70% referral share for a week would be nice… hehe), a Highlighted Holiday Hub around certain holidays, etc. etc. etc. Just a few thoughts.

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