Steve Rainwater and Ron Grant have provided this brief history of DPRG’s online presence and logos.
From the inception of the group in 1984 until the 1990s, the only logo was the “marching robot” graphic. It was a piece of clip art used on newsletters and a t-shirt. This logo appeared on the very first DPRG flier that was posted at the Ross Ave Heathkit center to attract our first members.
You could probably find the original artwork if you dug through the clip art libraries of old shareware publishing programs from the late 1980s.
Prior to 1993, we had no online presence at all. When Roger Arrick took over as president in Jan 1993, he talked Steve Rainwater into hosting a message and file area for the DPRG on his dial-up BBS, The Interocitor (Fidonet node 1:124/2206). The BBS was ASCII-only so no graphics for a logo there (none of those new-fangled ANSI graphics on Steve’s BBS!). However, Roger used a “robot at the drafting table” graphic in the printed newsletters from that era. It isn’t clear if this graphic was considered an official logo, and it isn’t known if Roger created the graphic or if it was another piece of clip art.
In 1996, Steve Rainwater started hosting a website for the DPRG. Jim Brown designed and maintained that first website. He created a simple text logo using the Revue font (a typeface loathed by designers everywhere almost as much as Comic Sans). Below is an example of the Revue font (note: It is isn’t the website header that Jim used).
In January 1997 DPRG moved from the BBS discussion forum to a MajorDomo mailing list. DPRG shifted from MajorDomo to a GNU Mailman list sometime later. Those early BBS discussions were lost but everything from first 1997 post to the mailing list until today has been preserved in our list archive.
In 2002, after Jim Brown had left the group, Steve Rainwater did a redesign of the website to update it and integrate a membership management system. Steve talked his wife Susan into doing the website graphics. But as a designer, she was only willing to work on the site under the condition of not having to work with the god-awful Revue typeface, so that called for a new logo. The plan was for some members of DPRG to come up with a logo design before the site launched.
Around this time or maybe a little earlier (it was when DPRG met at Bill Priest Institute) Bob Jordan, then the DPRG president, presented the logo known alternately as the “thumbs up robot” or “Robbie” logo. It is believed to be original, hand drawn artwork created by his son, Ben. It was used on some fliers but never adopted as an “official” logo because some members thought the robot’s smile looked a little too mean or devious or maybe would be scary to children. But it was quite popular in spite of that and turns up frequently enough to warrant a mention in a logo history.
Meanwhile, the launch date for the new website rolled around mid 2002 and DPRG didn’t have an officially sanctioned logo, so Steve’s wife Susan whipped one up on the spur of the moment to allow DPRG to go ahead with the website launch. The assumption was that the logo would be replaced shortly with an official one. Her logo is the red, gray, and white “swoosh” logo with the State of Texas on it. Just for good measure, Steve included the Robbie/Thumbs Up Robot image further down on the page too. That swoosh logo header and the website remained mostly unchanged until 2016. It is still used on DPRG videos and legacy webpages.
Members were too distracted after the website launch and forgot about logos for a while. DPRG was growing rapidly, had just gotten access to the space that became known as the DPRG Warehouse, and had started working on 501(c)(3) status around that time.
The current logo used by DPRG was designed by Ron Grant. It evolved from a dark cartoon sketch made by Frank Elia on the white board in DPRG’s old meeting place “the warehouse” on November 29, 2005. It became DPRG’s official logo in 2008. At the time, swapping the website’s swoosh logo for a red variant of Ron’s logo design was considered, but it didn’t occur.
Picture by Steve Rainwater
From this sketch a robot outline started to evolve. The result of this robot profile would become known to club members as “Robie”.
There were many false paths and concepts tried.
At this point of the design, you can see that the idea of the robot standing in front of a map of Texas with a star at Dallas’s location had been decided. Ron mentioned being impressed with a previous DPRG logo design featuring a Texas outline and starburst (the red swoosh web banner). The inclusion of that concept with the robot was liked by all club members.
The robot’s head and visor continued to be refined.
Star shape, size, and placement was fiddled with and a white border was added to the robot-Texas field. The Texas profile was also simplified.
The final approved version of the DPRG logo (2008). Note that the text was changed to white from black and the grippers were refined.
Today the logo is often used in vector form (ex. laser cutting). This version has the star simplified and moved slightly. Also, the web address is lower case.