Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees’ new resolution on branding

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The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a resolution to advance key areas of global branding, while extending the pause on renaming work.

This resolution outlines the next steps in the Foundation’s work on branding and is the result of year-long work of the Board’s ad hoc Brand Committee, which took place in close collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Brand Studio Team and a group of 9 community advisors.

Last year, the 2030 Movement Brand Project was paused by the Board of Trustees after volunteers and affiliates who signed the community open letter on renaming felt that the project had neglected the views of Wikimedia communities and presented risks to community identity. 

The Board of Trustees, after careful consideration of community feedback, brought together a temporary Committee on Brand to strengthen how we as a Movement work together and make decisions on branding. This committee of Trustees worked monthly, taking in insight and advice from the Brand Studio team at the Wikimedia Foundation, to identify new ways to protect and promote the reputation of Wikipedia and Wikimedia as the world’s leading source for open and free knowledge. This work matters so that we can continue to invite everyone around the world to share their knowledge, and ensure that our content is used and trusted. The Committee has also invited 9 advisors from the community (representing affiliates, the online communities, specifically from the group that drafted the COLOR letter, global south / emerging communities, as well as AffCom). 

As a result of this resolution, work on renaming the Wikimedia Foundation remains paused at least until July 2022, and the Brand Studio team at the Wikimedia Foundation will instead focus on new projects to support the Wikimedia movement. This new work includes: 1) supporting flexible naming for all affiliates, including the use of taglines; 2) exploring  the idea of creating a sound logo to improve attribution of Wikimedia content on audio devices; and 3) supporting affiliates with updated brand guidelines and piloting changes for interested affiliates in emerging communities. The Brand team will continue to offer support to the Movement with training, resourcing, and guidelines, and the Foundation will continue to steward and protect the Wikimedia brands overall.

Zack McCune, Director of Brand at the Wikimedia Foundation, shared “Wikimedia is a community-driven brand. Over the last year, the Foundation and the Brand Committee have done a lot of listening and reflection about how to best serve the Wikimedia movement and the important reputation it has built as the leader of free knowledge around the world. This resolution moves brand work away from our past renaming efforts, to offer new, shared, flexible resources that support our affiliates and ensure that Wikimedia content is seen, attributed, and celebrated.”

In the coming weeks, the Foundation will share more information about these new projects, and ways for volunteers to share their perspectives and get involved.  

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