The logo and name should probably be changed


Mirrored on because I’m not sure which place is more appropriate

I believe that the CommonMark name and logo too stubbornly hang on to branding associated with John Gruber’s Markdown. I believe that this is bad for two reasons:

  1. This is not respectful to John Gruber. While he might not technically have a copyright on it, he did request a few times for people to leave the Markdown branding alone. Each time, the project maintainers here backed off just enough to make him barely okay with it. And there are still definitely traces of the intention of the original branding, which basically is that CommonMark is “the real Markdown”. My argument here is about intentions, not words. The idea behind every single iteration of the CommonMark name has been to try to become the “real” Markdown. (More examples: “CommonMark” sounds like an abbreviation of “common Markdown”, and its “logo” literally says “mark down”.) Given this, it looks like John Gruber’s request was not really honored; he was just made unable to tell say objectively what is wrong with the current branding.

  2. In addition, having CommonMark’s branding tied to Markdown probably will hurt in the long run. This project is really successful and will probably become completely independent of Markdown sometime in the near future, and really deserves its own branding.

If there were no way around having this kind of branding, then doing all this might be acceptable. But I come with suggestions too!

  • I think this project should be renamed to “Mark,” or something similar. I think it’s quite hard to explain what the “Common” in “CommonMark” means without talking about Markdown, which is bad for the above two reasons.

  • The CommonMark current logo literally stands for “Markdown”, which (1) Gruber said no to and (2) does not read as “CommonMark.” I’m not a really good artist but I suggest some kind of logo that can be easily associated to the name of this project without knowledge of what Markdown is.


I say this with the most respect to all that this project has achieved, and even to all the branding consideration so far. It’s only because this project is so popular and successful that I believe that branding needs to be considered this closely. In addition, I understand that this post sounds a bit inciting, but that’s because I really want to hear people’s feedback on this and re-iterate. Thanks for understanding!

I believe I’ve read through the most of the discussions surrounding CommonMark branding (see below), but I don’t think any of them directly address these concerns. Please let me know if I’m missing anything—


The name has already significant recognition that would be lost if it were to be changed. Also most implementations ( have CommonMark in their names - those cannot be easily changed.


CommonMark is technically just a less ambiguous version of Markdown (with a few additions such as fenced code blocks), one that aims to be widely (commonly) used across many implementations. It’s not trying to be a replacement to Markdown (unlike the Markua project, for example, which is purposely not compatible in a number of areas). Users will likely continue to refer to the syntax as “Markdown” and in many cases may not be aware that their app has switched to using a CommonMark parser. Some apps will continue to use parsers that are not CommonMark-compliant and the markup entered into these apps will continue to be “real” Markdown.

It is sensible for apps which adopt CommonMark to continue to use the Markdown mark if the reason for using the logo is to signify that “you may type Markdown here”. Perhaps there is a place for a CommonMark-specific logo as well, for example on this website and the CommonMark GitHub organisation.

  1. John Gruber told us he had no problems with the name CommonMark.

  2. It would be pointlessly misleading to obscure our relation to Markdown. CommonMark is explicitly an attempt to give a rationalized version or flavor of Markdown which will be backwards compatible (as far as possible) with existing flavors. If I were starting afresh and creating my own light markup syntax, I’d make many different choices.

  3. I’d personally be in favor of developing a new CommonMark-specific logo. (But I’m not a graphic designer, so I’m not going to get involved with this.) I think there’s value in telling people “your text is going to be interpreted as CommonMark” – that helps them know how to write nested lists, for example.


This was already covered at some length in existing topics.

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