To the Online Community,
As you may know, our principal theme for the 20th Annual Webby Awards is The Internet Can’t Be Stopped. But did you know this guiding principle dates back to our beginnings in 1996? That is, the Internet as a continuous product of code connected across time, ever being innovated and improved upon, becoming an unstoppable global force. Thus, our symbol—a spiral, not a spring.
Ten years ago, when the halcyon haze of the dot-com bust had finally evaporated and I saw the city that was once Walt Whitman’s New York, a cold harsh reality fell upon us. Our organization’s identity was, well, at best outdated, but probably really (actually) hideous. We immediately set to recast the spiral and our meaning in the world.
We aimed for something classic and timeless. Along with my partner in crime, Steve Marchese, I spent long nights at Coffeeshop arguing about our future identity. While we couldn’t always agree, we discovered that our stubbornness and hostility toward one another was informing the process nonetheless. So, we worked separately. Steve worked on the type and I on the icon—and together, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup made out of Jay Z and Beyoncé, our two artistic works joined, twinned together for ten years, a testament to what was good about the Internet, and in a way, life.
A decade later, on the eve of announcing our 20th set of Nominees, I must share what was so hard for me to believe: that where there once was unity, there is now discord. While the icon I devised still holds up, the type Steve set all those years ago is falling down, unable to withstand the pressures of Internet time, brutally beaten down each day by the good taste of the million, no, billions of eyes that regard it each day. Every time I see it, I hear it, standing there, pleading for mercy. Mea culpa, Steve.
Though it took a better part of an already jam-packed year, and thirteen separate design teams working in the basement of my Brooklyn apartment, I am proud to declare that what was once decrepit is now beautiful, whole and alive, again.
My technique was quite simple actually. Return to the core, the spiral. Live, relish and relinquish myself to its splendor and meaning—trust my gut above all else, above all taste and above all reason. Believe the truth, that while I was never trained, taught or mentored in design, it didn’t matter. I was born for this role and no one could really do it as well as I.
Executive Director, The Webby Awards