Ideas for redesigning the Rust logo

Have you never seen rust eating iron and steel. Surly you have.

That rusty gear gear logo conjures up great things. Memories of the glory days of the industrial revolution, when we were building huge iron steam engines, locomotives, railways, bridges, ships, power stations. They were massive, powerful, strong and very enduring. A lot of that stuff was rusting hulks around the place when I was a kid. The rusty gear is very symbolic of industrial strength.

Rust never sleeps. It eats iron and steel. But paradoxically it can also form a protective skin that prevents further corrosion and failure.

Iron and oxygen are not stable together. Combined as rust they reach stability.

Anyway, if you change the Rust gear logo to some modern professional logo designer style you totally lose that industrial ambiance of the thing. Becoming bland, meaningless and un-memorable, just another random logo squiggle, as the examples above demonstrate.


I agree with @jjpe, the current logo is easy to recognize and I personally like it. If any changes were to be made I would rather think in terms of evolving the current one carefully rather than making too drastic changes.

Regarding scaled down versions, I had an idea of using outlines instead of a "filled" version (sorry for the lack of a better vocabulary, I'm not a designer), however, turns out a little searching lead me to a version that looks like this and I think it looks pretty nice even when scaled down pretty small:

Maybe skip the "bolt holes" in the scaled down version though as that makes it look a bit too "busy".

(Clipped from this article:

There's a trend to modernize logos by switching from a serif font to sans-serif, dropping all ornaments, and keeping only essential shapes.

For Rust that works great! It makes the logo legible at very small sizes, and it's even in Unicode already: ®



Logos had to be low res in the days of silk-screen printing for technical reasons but that no longer applies today. The logo at the top of this page, while being small, is perfectly fine.
If you must simplify, get rid of the pentagram of holes and reduce the number of teeth to, say, thirteen.


Logos that still are still recognizable and familiar are still important in at least one place today. The favicons that get put on the tabs in web browsers.

Of the twenty odd tabs I have open just now the small Rust logo in black and white is doing a pretty good job of making this pages tab quickly findable amid the fuzzy mess that many other sites have..


A new logo for Rust is appreciable.
Also, we should not forget there is an R programming language for data science, so an R inside a circle does not seem a good idea. I prefer a logo with Rust fully spelled in it.

No problem there. The R programming logo is completely different. One of those bland, nondescript, professional logo designer style logos I was talking about above.

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There is only one thing about the Rust log that annoys me. And I'm amazed that in all this discussion no one has mentioned it. In fact all the alternative suggestions make it much worse.

The shape of the gear teeth is not correct.Not the shape one would expect of proper industrial gears for the last 100 years of so. They would not mesh nicely:

As engineers we should get this stuff right.

On the other hand I prepared to allow that little bit of artistic license.


There is one thing which I really think is good reason of not changing the Rust logo. There are many logos which are derived from this one, and this is good - they are connecting Rust initiatives with language itself. Examples: important crates as stdweb, or local Rust initiatives like Rust Wrocław.


The Rust logo is a bicycle chainring, not a gear. Examples of real chainrings:

In the original design brief for the logo, Rust creator Graydon Hoare wrote,

So long as it's visually apparent it's a bike part, not just a generic "gear". Gears get terribly overused in computer logos :(


Fair enough.

It's not correct for bicycle chains either.

Anyway, I vote for keeping it as it is.

Here's another idea:


It's a stylized R that looks a bit like this:


Also, I've written a little tool to experiment with the current Rust logo. You can adjust the number of teeth, the spacing, etc. It generates an SVG, which you can save by pressing Ctrl+S.


Aside from being coglike, it's pretty - nicest so far. I think there is merit to having a logo you could draw quickly on a whiteboard.

I don't like it very much.

  • It doesn't solve the biggest problem that anyone has with Rust's logo. The R looks fine, but the teeth are so fine that they disappear when the logo gets small. If you're looking for things to fix, try to fix that.

  • The "R" in this new one is so stylized that you wouldn't know if you weren't told.


Since the problem is the teeth, maybe it could make sense to have different versions of the logo for different sizes?

I don't know exactly how the teeth can be best represented at a smaller scale, but I suspect it's a lot easier if it's not trying to also work at larger scales.

That thought crossed my mind as well. After all real gears have more teeth when they are bigger. Might not be something you can do easily if you want to trademark the logo.

I don't really see any problem with the teeth. The Rust gear at the top of this very page has looks fine.

The Rust gear on the favicon in the Chrome browser tab is so small that I cannot make out any teeth. But it's a circle with an 'R' in it which makes it immediately obvious which tab has this forum displayed.
It's more distinctive than most of the other icons in my browser tabs.

Everything is just fine.

IMO that's an advantage. Otherwise it would be almost impossible to create a small variant that still looks nice.