The amazing adventures of Doug Hughes

Reactor Logo Design Contest – Who will win $400? You decide!

One week later, the entries are in for the Reactor Logo Design Contest! To refresh your memory, last Monday I announced a contest where participants could submit a design for either a Reactor Logo or a design for the Reactor Blog sample application. Winners will get all the following stuff:

  1. Licenses for the Alagad Image, Captcha, and Zip Components
  2. 6 Months of hosting for ReactorBlog with This is a $120 value. For details see
  3. $125 in free stuff at (donated by myself and the contest sponsors)

That’s roughly $400 worth of stuff! One person might actually win twice!

The Reactor Design Contest was supported by the following companies and people:

Alagad – Alagad is my own company. Through Alagad I sell the various ColdFusion components and contract and consult clients in ColdFusion (and other) development.

SystemsForge – Generating custom web applications. With the SystemsForge active application generator you can generate close to 100% of web applications including persistence, business logic, facades and UI. Easy re-use of metadata across n-projects, and the ability to change anything in the application. Product launch September 1st, 2006. Best of all, we’re going to tell you how we do it, so you can build your own generators for free! Sign up at SystemsForge ( to keep up with the latest ideas – for free.

Jabico Enterprises, LLC – Jabico is a well rounded company, offering highly maintainable web-site and web-application development, search engine optimization and marketing, and information security consulting services. In addition, Jabico provides developer-centric web hosting solutions inlcuding Cold Fusion, PHP, ASP.Net, ASP, MySQL, MSSQL, etc… through it’s subsidery Sasquatch also provides DSL and Dial-up services throughout the western United States

Chris Blackwell

And another person who wishes to remain anonymous

The Blog

The blog contest has not closed yet. I will be extending this by one week (or more) and clarifying the instructions within the next few days.


The Logo

To vote for a logo leave a comment on this entry. Please state the name of the designer that you’re voting for. Please vote for only one person. If there’s ambiguity I’ll make the final decision.

Some people submitted variations on the same logo. In these cases I’ve just done my best to pick which one I think was the best to show below of the ones they provided.

Without further ado, the entries!

From Josh Tynjala:
Josh Tynjala

From Brad Sorensen:
Brad Sorensen

From Barry Whitley:
Barry Whitley

From Rachel Maxim:
Rachel Maxim

From Trond Ulseth:
Trond Ulseth

From Christopher Smith:
Christopher Smith

From Laura Arguello:
Laura Arguello

Which one’s your favorite?

Comments on: "Reactor Logo Design Contest – Who will win $400? You decide!" (103)

  1. Sean Corfield said:

    Christopher Smith gets my #1, Josh Tynjala get #2.


  2. Nordin Haouari said:

    Josh Tynjala wins for me


  3. Tormod Boga said:

    Nice contest, and some pretty good contenders here..
    My vote goes to Brad Sorensen.


  4. If I have to pick from these options… its Josh Tynjala overall logo minus the three orange cirles and plus Brad Sorensen orange target with a less intense drop shadow on Josh’s blue background.


  5. Niklas Richardson said:

    Josh get’s my vote! 🙂


  6. Trond Ulseth said:

    My vote goes to Josh Tynjala – but I agree with the coment by Hans above. A combination of Josh and Brad would be killer.


  7. Mark Drew said:

    I love the reactor framework and from a IDE perspective (I would say that wouldnt I?) I think my first choice is:
    Brad Sorensen, as it makes a great icon and can be used all over the place

    Second choice would go to:
    Christopher Smith;s logo.

    I would say to both those designers some construtive critisism if I may? (stop reading if you dont want to hear it)
    Brad: improve the “reactor” font and you would have a winner (i.e. like josh’s maybe)
    Chris: shrink the circle around the “atoms” a little and it will be perfect. it can be used as an icon as well as part of the logo.

    Just my 2 new pence.


  8. Mark Drew said:

    Apologies for the typo’s above by the way… not enough coffee today.



  9. Joo Fernandes said:

    My vote goes first for Barry Whitley and the second Josh Tynjala.

    Maybe a mix of them


  10. Ian Welsh said:

    I agree with Hans and Trond above – a combination of Brad’s logo on Josh’s layout – if that is allowed.

    If I have to choose one – Josh.


  11. Marco Antonio - Brazil said:

    Barry Whistley looks fine. Except for the Reactor characters.


  12. Matt Woodward said:

    Rachel Maxim gets my vote. They all look great!


  13. Rachel Maxim all the way.

    Josh, Brad and Rachel are the top three. But….

    Josh’s requires a dark background and doesn’t really stand out. Brad’s wont size gracefully. I doubt the logo will ever be displayed on a page at that size.


  14. Brian Kotek said:

    I think Christopher Smith’s is good and simple. Josh’s is also nice and would be my second choice. But all of them are very good, nice job folks.


  15. Mark Drew said:

    I guess when (and if) the respective artists want to re-design and re-submit you would add a poll?



  16. vishy kasinadhuni said:

    1. Barry Whitley
    2. Christopher Smith
    3. Laura Arguello


  17. tony weeg said:

    rachel maxim’s really tips by boat


  18. Rachel Maxim. most versatile!


  19. Bret McDermitt said:

    Great logos all in all. Rachel Maxim’s is #1


  20. Danilo Celic said:

    Brad Sorensen’s


  21. Rachel’s rocks my world.


  22. my favorite goes to Rachel Maxim designs.


  23. 1. Rachel Maxim
    2. Chris Smith


  24. Doug Hughes said:

    There was a bug in my comment system (i forgot about it – oops!) Everyone was getting notified and couldn’t unsubscribe. I’ve fixed this (I hope). Please unsubscribe now if you want.

    Furthermore, I’m deleting any comments that seem harasing in nature.



  25. Jim Collins said:

    vote for Rachel Maxim! Simple! Clear!


  26. Paul Carney said:

    Josh’s version with Brad’s image – that’s the winner that looks most professional and powerful.


  27. Rachel Maxims logo design catches my eye. I vote for her entry.


  28. Rachel Maxim certainly gets my vote. It’s clear, to the point, and works well with the page.


  29. Rachel Maxim. Really like the color of the graphics


  30. Dan Sorensen said:

    I love Brad’s Logo with Josh’s horizontal layout for the wording. I think that would remove the need for a dark background.


  31. Paul Carney said:

    Okay – Rachel must be telling everyone she knows to come vote…. 🙂

    Because there have been so many votes for her since I was last here, I came back and took a look, but I am still not convinced. It is too simple for a product.

    I don’t know any of the people who submitted, so I have no bias on favorite person. But I still believe that the first 2 have the most professional product look and feel. Rachel’s looks too simple for such a powerful product.


  32. I like the straightforward, clean design of Rachel Maxim’s work. Very cool.


  33. “The goal of this contest is to design a logo for Reactor. The logo will be distributed with Reactor, will be displayed on the yet-to-be-created Reactor project page, and wherever else needed. The Reactor project page will be a new section added to and will have the same design, colors, and general layout. Ideally the logo wouldnt look out of place on such a page.”

    Shouldn’t we take the original rules into account when voting? For example, the logo should work with the design of Josh’s logo is the only one that appears to have taken this into account… with the blue background similar to the DH header. His logo could also easily be reversed to work on white. Brad’s target could work as well with a different font, and seems more brandable. The others are all great, but don’t fit as well with the design of the site and wouldn’t work on a blue background.

    I still like a combination of the logos from Josh and Brad, though this makes it a bit harder to distribute prizes. Anyway, here’s a sample of what that would look like on both a blue background and white background.


  34. Richard Davies said:

    I vote for Brad Sorensen’s. It’s got a great icon: simple yet still interesting, versitile, and carries the “reactor” theme well.


  35. Scott Stroz said:

    I’d have to go with Brad Sorensen.


  36. I think I just killed the Flickr link. This one should work:


  37. Brad Sorenson. Nice, clean, cheap to print.


  38. phill.nacelli said:

    My Votes:

    1. Brad Sorensen
    2. Christopher Smith
    3. Josh Tynjala

    My 2 Cents:

    Take Brad’s Logo and either put in place of the O in reactor so that you can also have a long banner (I like that you can also have an icon).

    Good Job to all though…



  39. charlie griefer said:

    Brad Sorensen’s

    i think it’s the easiest to use as just a logo with no text necessary to complement it.


  40. tony weeg said:

    actually rachel is a friend, and i dig her logo idea.
    im not sure i dig the top half of her logo as much as i like the lettering of the bottom of it.

    so, id say that i like josh’s idea of colors/layout, brad’s radioactive symbol, and rachels lettering. replacing rachels symbol with brad’s.


  41. Trond Ulseth said:

    If Paul Carneys suspision is true, and I beleive it is since all Rachel votes are from people with only first names and none of the among the crowd we at least know are regular readers of Doug’s blog, I think maybe a simple count of votes might not lead to the best, or even right result.

    Unlike Paul though I could be biased since I know one of the submitters very well. However, his(my) logo is not the best one. I think that the flickr link by Hans illustrates the opinion I expressed in my earlier post.


  42. Adam (my last name is "LEHMAN") aka Adrocknaphobia said:

    Such drama…. I guess this is why polls are normally private. Normally people don’t get the option to critizie other peoples votes and come up with ‘combiniation’ candidates as they go.

    Seems a bit hippocritical though; Trond, Hans and Nikals vote for Tynjala and accuse Rachel of having her friends vote?


  43. Trond Ulseth said:

    Tony, I think from your description that maybe you are mixing Barrys and Rachels logo. Barrys logo is the one above Rachels name.


  44. tony weeg said:

    you are right trond 🙂 and just for the record, i gave both names, email address etc… and since i was mixing them up, supplant barry’s name for rachels, as i like that font, with the mashup i mentioned earlier.


  45. Doug Hughes said:

    Calm down people. This is just for good sport. Let’s just take it easy.

    I’m not going to count the proposed mashups. Sorry, they’re nice and all, but how would I split the prize? And is that fair? Nah.

    I’m only going to count “first” choices.

    If there’s any resulting ambiguity I’ll make the final call.

    Let’s keep the spirit of this thing in mind, please.


  46. Doug Hughes said:

    One other thing. The names of the creators appear ABOVE the logo, not below.

    Given that, I vote for Josh Tynjala!


  47. Trond Ulseth said:

    Adam, Tony, Doug and others. It was not my intent to heat up the discusion, and if I did I am sorry. My only intent is to see Reactor get the good logo it deserves 🙂

    Love and peace from Norway


  48. Rachel Maxim… good work.


  49. Ben Smith said:

    I like Brad Sorensen’s the best.


  50. Sven Christiansen said:

    Brad Sorensen’s is the best.


  51. my vote is for Rachel Maxim


  52. A vote for Rachel M.


  53. Liz Hughes said:

    I’m voting for Brad Sorensen’s design. It’s clean and I like it! I think it fits well with the product and the company.


  54. Cliff Meyers said:

    For some reason my original vote “Rachel for teh win!” was deleted. Is that considered a harassing comment? It was just a joke. Anyways, I’ll recast my vote for Rachel. I like her logo a lot.


  55. vote rachel.


  56. vote for pedro!


  57. I vote for Rachel Maxim.


  58. I agree that counting the proposed mashup wouldn’t be fair for purposes of the contest. However, for purposes of having a logo on the Reactor project page, should it be ruled out as well?

    Anyway, in case my vote wasn’t clear before, based on the rules (“Ideally the logo wouldnt look out of place on such a page”), I think Josh Tynjala should get the prize, followed closely by Brad Sorensen as the runner-up.

    Everyone did a nice job and deserves congratulations. Nice work all!


  59. Emily Dykstra said:

    Rachel Maxim!


  60. Rachel Maxim said:

    For the record, I do not want to win if my logo is not the best by a true popular vote. The point here is to give Reactor a great logo.

    I’m sorry a *few* friends Adam asked to vote turned into a gigantic viral marketing scheme…

    I’ll be the first to say (and Adam can attest to my complaints as I was designing it) that design is an iterative process and it’s pretty near impossible to design a perfect logo on the first try. Changes are inevitable. How about the “popular vote” winner just makes tweaks per Doug’s preferences to accomodate background colors, etc?

    On a side note, I had to pick my entry from about 20 comps (it was hard to choose) so what’s the problem with entering multiple entries? It’s clearly about popularity and not a random raffle….


  61. Dave Shuck said:

    #3… Barry’s is the hotness.


  62. Owen Zacharias said:

    Brad Sorensen has my vote


  63. Peter Bell said:

    Josh Tynjala beats Brad and Rachel by a hair.

    Given how people usually design logos (2-3 rounds of revisions) and given all the great comments, I think it would be great if you could ALLOW any of the designers to do a revision if they wanted to. It wouldn’t force anyone to do the work but would allow the top contestents to take end user feedback into account if they had the time and inclination. The whole point of open source is that you take the wisdom of the many . . .


  64. Bill Rawlinson said:

    Well I’m voting on behalf of myself and two co-workers.

    My Vote:
    Brad Sorenson – I just like the logo. But, it doesn’t convey alot of what the product does. But it is very clean and simple.

    CoWorker 1:
    Barry Whitley – It shows what Reactor does – not many logos convey a message as fully as this. Would prefer if the text under the orbs was reversed (orange text) as the white text is kind of hard to read.

    CoWorker 2:
    Josh Tynjala – No real comments I just like it.


  65. Josh Tynjala’s design displays the name prominently and clearly states what Reactor does at frist glance.


  66. Clayton Partridge said:

    My vote goes to Brad Sorensen and if a could vote a second time it would be for Josh Tynjala.


  67. Peter J. Farerll said:

    Brad Sorensen is the best. I like the fact that it just says Reactor.

    Josh’s is good. I’ve been bitten by the fact that something large looks really good, but when you reduce to a size that is usable on a website – the text looks too small, fuzzy or out of place.


  68. Mark Drew said:

    The mashup between Josh and Brad’s on flickr is just awesome. I would definately trust a framework with that logo 😉

    I am being serious, I know this is a competition but with any design brief, you have to follow the brief and then you get to re-design based on client feedback… this is the client feedback. Josh made a great font/banner and Brad made an awesome logo. Now, Rachel’s I am not too keen on. nice but not “professional” just my opinion.


  69. Josh Tynjala. Brad Sorensen’s is great, but the type lost it for me. So I think Josh has the better overall design.


  70. Nathan Strutz said:

    I like the one by Josh Tynjala! It’s got that bold, web 2.0 look to it.


  71. Cody Caughlan said:

    Josh Tynjala is #1!!


  72. Brian Rinaldi said:

    Vote: Josh Tynjala


  73. Rachels looks the most professional I think, she has my vote.


  74. Josh Tynjala said:

    I like the mashup between mine and Brad’s. That looked pretty good.

    As I think someone mentioned, colors can be changed. I made versions for white and orange backgrounds as well. I felt the blue one was the most visually interesting, so I asked Doug to display that one.


  75. Chris Phillips said:

    1) Brad Sorensen
    2) Barry Whitley


  76. Chris Phillips said:

    Another combination of Logos that I think looks nice.



  77. I would have to say I like Brad Sorensen’s the best. They are all kinda cool though. Nice work!


  78. Jim McMullen said:

    Brad Sorenson’s is great, but at smaller sizes the type will tend to become illegible. Change the sizing relationship between the graphic and the type, and you have a winner.

    If that’s not possible, I like Christopher Smith’s second.

    Kudos to everyone for your efforts!


  79. Jeremy Lund said:

    I vote for the CAPTCHA image at the bottom of the page 🙂

    Seriously, I like Rachel’s the best. I really like the concept of Barry’s, but I wonder how good it would look if it needed to shrink (for an icon or small logo)


  80. Sam Mitchell said:

    Brad Sorenson. Simple, yet refined.


  81. John Brunelle said:

    Gotta go with Brad Sorenson


  82. Rachel’s logo looks the most professional to me … but it also doesn’t look quite finished, like it’s only an initial sketch. I work with a very good designer and i’ve gotten used to 100’s of variations of second or third round logos hanging on the walls around me.

    Brad’s looks the most “finished” to me and he’s got the color spot on for the word reactor, but the proportion is wrong … scale it down to a little under 100px tall, an good size in use, and both the word “reactor” is lost and also the visual impact of the graphic is lost. It kinda disappears.

    My genuine vote is to send these 2 designers back to the drawing board, and ask them for a second round with a range of variations. I’d ask Brad to work on that proportion problem, and Rachel to experiment with some color variations to bring the “act” out of reactor.

    My take it or leave it choice is Brad’s … and live with a 240px tall logo. Maybe we can have a tagline contest next? 🙂

    it’s hot!


  83. Joshua Scott said:

    They all look great. I think everyone is to be commended.
    Since I can only pick one, Josh Tynjala’s looks the best for Reactor.

    – JS


  84. Dan Sorensen said:

    My earlier vote was for a “mashup”, so to make it clear, if I have to vote for one, I’d pick Brad Sorensen’s logo. It’s professional looking and distinct enough that it wouldn’t ‘need’ the text in some circumstances.

    Besides, he’s got a cool last name. 😉 (no relation)



  85. Wouter Van daele said:

    Brad Sorenson has the best “icon”!


  86. Beth Bowden said:

    I vote for Trond Ulseth’s.


  87. Ben Johnson said:

    My vote goes for Brad Sorensen’s logo.


  88. Chris Blackwell said:

    I vote for Christopher Smith


  89. Ray Buechler said:

    Let’s try this again. For some reason my first comment never showed up.

    My vote: Josh


  90. Barry Whitley said:

    Whoops, I think I made the mistake of waffling around in deciding what to send to Doug, and I probably shorted myself a few votes. Totally my fault for not just sending him an entry though. I should have been specific.

    Anyhow, just as an FYI for anyone that cares, but I used the white letters because I built the logo initially using the blog banner as the background. I was going under the assumption that he wanted to keep a blue top and yellow content area. Obviously the white with yellow borders looks like crap when set against the mustard yellow content area.

    Also, not sure how many people are viewing in IE, but of course its a .png that also looks like crap if you’re using IE. Along those same lines, some of the other alpha stuff in the image just doesn’t match up very well with the background color even when you use a non-IE browser.

    If anybody is curious, here is how I was envisioning the logo usage:

    ( )

    Please don’t read this as sour grapes though. My vote personally goes for Brad. As soon as I saw that logo I had one of those “duh!” moments, as it is a pretty elegent solution.


  91. Seth Petry-Johnson said:

    Josh gets my #1, Brad my #2, and Rachel my #3.


  92. I think my favorite is Brad’s. Well done!


  93. I vote for Brad! Can I vote a second time? If so then Josh is my second favorite.


  94. Joe Gautreau said:

    I think Josh Tynjala’s logo would be the most professional looking. I think by dropping some faint shadows behind the circles and REACTOR font, he could really stand out.


  95. Doug Hughes said:

    Ok! I’m posting a blog entry that will announce the winner! Watch this blog for more detials!


  96. Michael McKellip said:

    Brad Sorenson gets my vote.


  97. Tim Heald said:

    Rachel Maxim. Hands down. Simple, versitile, and I think it would work well accross multiple types of media (print, internet and so on).


  98. Brad Sorensen – simple and clean


  99. John Allen said:

    Trond Ulseth’s great.


  100. Anonymous said:

    –Laura, Christopher and Trond’s logos are very childlike and playful (kindergarten science project)

    –Rachels’ logo is too simple and hardly gives a name like REACTOR any justice.

    –Barry’s logo is neat but overdid [over the edge]
    too much!

    —Brads idea is nice, simple, corporate, hightech, and very clean– just a little too simple [but thats O.K.)
    —Josh’s logo has the same feel as Brads, but it is more corporate, easy, and simple. The word “reactor” is vissible and the color is great. Very professional
    yet a little too simple!

    It’s out of JOSH and BRAD!! — looks like a real company logo!


  101. Barry Whitley as a designer it is most professional & clean look


  102. A Chemical Engineering said:

    The design of Laura Arguello is not a reactor. Is the typical refrigeration tower of a nuclear plant.


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