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Supporting the EFA and MDGs with Open Educational Resources

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New Global OER logo



The new OER logo was designed by Jonathas Mello, working together with UNESCO, to create a common identity for the global Open educational resources community of practitioners, projects and researchers.

The logo can be adapted for all of the world's languages. UNESCO initially released versions in the 6 UN official languages and Portuguese (available for free download here). User submissions for other languages are discussed and agreed here, at OER community in WSIS KC platform - as discussed here about the best Arabic spelling for OER. The new logo was released as Creative Commons CC-BY and instructions on how to use it can be found here.

This Global OER logo was created for the 2012 World Open Educational Resources Congress, at UNESCO HQ in Paris.

The new design creates a common global visual idea, representing "subtle and explicit representations of the subjects and goals of OER". The half-circle shape calls on the idea of a rising sun and upward direction. The bottom section represents an open book cover, shown in a profile view. Its shape and variation in width recalls a common symbol of a flying bird, representing freedom, no borders, progress and diffusion. The three sheets of paper reinforce the idea of a book, a traditional resource of education. Its angle gives a notion of dynamism and movement towards the center of the picture. Following the sheets of paper, the three hands stand for the collaboration and collective knowledge involved in OER practices. Having the hands as the main focus of the logo reflects the main purpose of OER: human education.The increasing size of the hands show the increasing interest, development and use of OER. The overall aesthetic figure is highly iconic and identifiable in different sizes, in a balanced proportion that easily fits different applications. The main lines were drawn in an organic way, transmitting the human/personal role in OER, turning away from a technicist or materialist focus to create OER in the language and culture of the author.

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Last updated 1127 days ago by Jonathas Mello

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Dear Jonathas,

Thank you very much for your prompt response and thoughtful consideration to re-license your creative work. On behalf of the free culture and OER global community I commend your decision and extend my sincere thanks to you.

Your decision to use CC-BY license is a testament to the values which underpin the global OER movement.

As a designer, you make a valid point about protecting the integrity and usage of the design. I think its an excellent idea to publish recommedations for its use. The CC-BY license also affords you the necessary protections in this regard.

See for example: 

What can I do if I offer my work under a Creative Commons license and I do not like the way someone uses my work?

I include a copy of the relevant text from the CC FAQ site:

"CC licenses do provide several mechanisms that allow licensors and authors to choose not to be associated with their works or uses with which they disagree. First, all CC licenses prohibit using the attribution requirement to suggest that the original author or licensor endorses or supports a particular use of a work. This "No Endorsement" provision protects reputation, and its violation constitutes a violation of the license and results in automatic termination. Second, licensors may waive the attribution requirement -- choose not to be identified as the author or licensor of the work -- if they wish. Third, if a work is modified or incorporated into a collection, and the original author or licensor does not like the how the work has been modified or used in the collection, CC licenses require that the person modifying the work or incorporating the work into a collection remove reference to the original author or licensor upon notice. Finally, if the selected CC license permits modifications and adaptations of the original work, then the person modifying the work must indicate that the original has been modified. This ensures that changes made to the original work -- whether or not acceptable to the original author or licensor -- are not attributed back to the licensor.

 Personally I think a generic CC-BY license is more than adequate to maintaining the integrity of your design, but there are other options you could consider depending on your own intentions.

For example, you could dedicated one version to the public domain -including your usage recommendations. In this way any adaptions do not necessarily need to be attributed to your original work. In parallel with this public domain version you can release an CC-BY-ND equivalent which will ensure that the work which is attributed is not adapted. Having a parallel public domain version in this scenario would not restrict the freedoms of users, but at the same time achieve the design you would like to be attributed for. 

Thanks again -- You lead by example!

Wayne Mackintosh 1127 days ago

Dear colleagues,

Thank you very much for your comments!

Initially, we had chosen the license ND aiming to maintain a coherence in the logo, "respecting" shapes and meanings, however after this very instructive discussion I understood how do we (OER practitioners) could benefit from a different license, and how the ND was restricting its use.

Instead of the ND license, I will just leave a recommendation to preferably maintain its shape/appearance (to serve the purpose to which it was created: create a common identity among different nationalities and projects to sum strenghts and representativeness).

Early tomorrow I will change the license to CC-BY at the Unesco website, which I believe would be the more comprehensive type of licensing allowing its use in different projects (is it right?).

Again, thank you very much for your kind comments and suggestions. I hope to keep contributing and learning from such qualified colleagues!

Best regards,


Jonathas Mello 1127 days ago

Hi Mike,

As I posted elsewhere:

The irony of using an ND restriction is that most legal jurisdictions would deem a translation to be an adaptation and therefore not permissible under the respective national copyright act.
Therefore anyone wanting to translate the logo would require permissions from the copyright holder.  I'm sure that this is not the intention of the logo and would imagine that UNESCO is keen to have as many translations as possible to promote OER's potential in realizing education for all. 
Let's keep our fingers crossed that the copyright holder will gift the logo in the spirit of sharing which underpins the open education movement. In this way the "story" of the logo will continue to grow - I can't think of a better reward for an artist than people wanting to build on creativity and ensure that the story continues.

(Note: This post on the forum is dedicated to the public domain. As this is my copyright it does not adhere to the terms of reference of the default license of this site.)

Wayne Mackintosh 1128 days ago

Geat logo! But would be ideal only with CC-BY or CC-BY-SA license

Warm regards


Anil Prasad 1128 days ago

Wayne and Cabel are making a very important point. I think the logo looks great and I understand why you would put BY and ND on it.  But, as I understand their point if a person intended to make their document without BY or ND restrictions that person would not be able to use the logo  -- the logo license requirement would determine the use of all of their material.  My sense is that CC alone or CC0 would be the only choices that would not restrict the document more than a creator desired.     Mike Smith

Marshall (Mike) S. Smith 1128 days ago

Being involved in the evaluation of OER for courses in a real-world university setting, I can attest to the fact that the ability to work according to the "4R" rule is critical to the successful implementation of OER. I respectfully endorse the comments by Cable Green and Wayne Mackintosh.

Irwin DeVries, Director of Instructional Design
Thompson Rivers University - Open Learning
Founding Anchor Partner - OERu

Irwin DeVries 1128 days ago

Sadly, the WikiEducator community, OER university and many free culture projects would not be able to use the logo due to incompatible license in the absence of gaining custom license permissions to include the logo in a published OER work using a free cultural works approved license. 

To facilitate wide adoption and reuse, I request on behalf of the free culture for the copyright holder to remove the No-derivatives restriction.

(As owner of the copyright  -- This post is dedicated to the public domain and is not licensed and the TORs of this website.)  


Wayne Mackintosh 1128 days ago

Really nice... les coudes qui se joignent représentent le travail collaboratif, et les paumes ouvertes le partage... Collaborative work and Sharing...

Jibril TOUZI 1129 days ago

I like it....... truly represents OER!!               Savithri Singh

Savithri Singh 1129 days ago