Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The Public Domain Geocaching Logo (and a blog redesign)
This is the first in a two part series on "things in the public domain hammered out by the community in Geocaching forums." No, really it is. Any guesses on what the next topic will be? Anyways, the proper name for the symbol above is the Leatherman Variant of the Public Domain Geocaching Logo. That name sounds a little long, and a little complex, but it's easily explained. Public domain means people are free to copy and alter the logo as they wish, Leatherman is the Geocaching.com username of the Geocacher who designed it, and it's a "variant" as it was one of several designs submitted. Submitted to whom, you ask? To a forum thread in the Groundspeak forums in October, 2002, that's who. This thread appears to have been started because a lone Geocacher and a whole Statewide Geocaching organization were using the official trademarked Geocaching.com logo to put on their signature items, and were making alterations to that logo. Groundspeak decided that legally, they could not allow these alterations.
Downloadable versions of the Leatherman Variant can be viewed on this website created by a participant in that 2002 thread. Obviously it was generally agreed upon to be the "best" logo submitted. You also see something called the "Gustaf Variant". This variant has fallen into disuse, if it ever even was widely used, which I personally don't believe it was. It should be rather obvious that our Opencaching.us logo uses the Leatherman variant "G". The Leatherman variant with the yellow sun behind it was originally designed by our German friends at Opencaching.de and is used throughout the worldwide Opencaching network. Although we at Opencaching.us are actually in the process of changing ours to a yellow outline of North America, rather than the Sun. Where else have you seen the Leatherman variant? How about this blog last week? You can see it on the top of any page on Cacheface.com! Personally, the blogger prefers what is known as the "Sissy-n-CR clean version", which you can see as a repeated pattern as the background image of his personal Twitter account.
Note that the creator of that Groundspeak forum thread identifies himself as a corporate attorney in the first post of the thread. Nice to have an attorney who is a Geocacher around to give birth to such an idea. There is a usage and trademark information page regarding the official Geocaching.com logo. Note that it says those "terms constitute a legal agreement". Groundspeak does not generally go after people who have used it for small numbers of signature swag or personal clothing items, but believe me, I've seen several violations over the years, be it in caches in the field, or at events. You should really be using the public domain Geocaching logo for your personal signature and clothing items. There is also some "legalspeak" on the bottom of the main page for the public domain logo, although it doesn't go as far to say it constitutes a legal agreement, nor it is a Creative Commons License.
This was announced over the weekend on our Twitter and Google+ accounts, but you may have noticed this blog has been redesigned! We tried to use "our colors" as seen on our website The colors were eyeballed though, couldn't find the exact hexidecimal color codes on the server (yet, at least). We think it looks a lot better, especially the boxes in the sidebar. Feel free to contact us or post a comment on your own personal thoughts though. We also added the slide show widget to the sidebar. It currently contains 23 photos uploaded to our website. You may spot fellow OCNA Admin Dudley Grunt in a couple of them. You also may spot the blogger standing at the high point of Indiana in there too. These photos will be updated/changed on what we will refer to as a "regular basis". In general, we reserve the right to add/subtract widgets to the sidebar on a whim.
Any graphic arts wizards out there who would like to design a nice header for the top of the blog with a background image? (and sharper text?) We actually threw that one together in Microsoft Paint, and it could use some improvement. The OCUS logo is transparent. Please contact us regarding that matter, if you can help!