Dead Drops

Create a logo for 'Dead Drops’, an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space.

€0prize pool

Create a logo for 'Dead Drops’, an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space.


'Dead Drops’ is a non-commercial art project and global movement. Currently 3-4 coders improve the 'Dead Drops' site and work on mobile apps (iPhone & Android), all voluntary. ‘Dead Drops’ was initiated by the german artist Aram Bartholl during his artist in residence at EYEBEAM in New York City, October 2010.

‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is open to participation. If you want to install a dead drop in your city/neighborhood follow the ‘how to’ instructions and submit the location and pictures at

Task Definition

'Dead Drops' is looking for an awesome brand logo to be used along with the brands name. It's important that the logo can be adapted to several media, like website, apps, T-shirts and coffee mugs ;)

Target Group

The Internet.


  • sincere & reliable
  • clear & precise
  • 2.0 & timeless

Mandatory requirements

No skulls! (Those have been over used in the last years). Black / White designs are welcome (but not mandatory, we had the idea to keep the site b/w). I like the idea that the subversive approach and political comment of is hidden behind a sort of classic Web2.0 like design. Sharing, open source, open culture and free Internet are central topics of 'Dead Drops'.

Existing designs
Please find attached some unreleased design in progress which will be used for map markers soon as an inspiration.

Download material

Click on the following links to download working material and additional information related to the project.


Show older comments (13)

... and here's a video of Aram introducing the project in his own words!

Oh, and here's the project website:

I hope you find this task engaging and fun. It's an experiment in our OpenZone mode - remember it will only has a short submission period of two weeks.

I like this idea!

i have a question, does it have to be something similar to the existing designs? what does "will be used for map markers soon as an inspiration" mean? Thank you

HI baniermartina,

I think Aram is including the design examples to show you guys what kind of style he likes. These little pins are "map markers": if you have a look at the site

and you scroll down, you can see there's a world map there... with lots of markers indicating the location of dead drops (public USB flash drives). I presume Aram wants to replace those standard markers with personalized ones in a later edition.

BTW I just realized there's a bug in the English version of I'll contact Aram about it...

Ok, thanks alot Nadine :) that was very helpful:)

@banieramartina yes, nadine pointed it out right. these or similar will be the map markers. we are also planning some new features: wireless drops and live drops (the hand)

@everyone feel free to ask me more questions!


very fun idea. but what about environmental damage to the plug? they won't last long out in the open. maybe it's more realistic to make this an indoor project. i've already added a dead drop to my ass in support.

That gotta hurt Tiegan. addition to enviromental eventual "low profile" the dead drops should be? I mean it lookslike the more unseen the better. Have you been accused of damage property?

By the way I love you stay out of the cloud idea!


After watching the i get actually have to use an existing cavity!! cool!!

epoxying to the bottom of a privately owned pay telephone is not an existing cavity. not cool at all.

The idea is quite breaking the doors - with the drops in the wall - just one concern - preventing people from getting vira, trojan horses etc. and inappropiate files putting on those drops? - because you actually do not know what is on those before you plug in...

Who will be in charge of controlling that?

it is a f.... shame that my english is that bad, i don't exactly understand everything. aaaargh. i want a german translating tool :)

Google translate is your friend ;) And you could always contact the contest guide to help you with some questions.

sorry i have to ask:

for me the word drop comes from to drop, put in something, letter dropping etc... "hinein geben" "einfügen" in german. there are so many logos with a "tropfen", and i don't understand these association, could someone explain it to me?

it means both, in the concept it is more the einfugen-meaning (put your files etc). but in english "drop" also means "tropfen" (drip, drop of water for example). Hope this helps :)

it doesn't translate well into english. there are unrelated connotations which water down the product message. i'd play down the drips. it's okay to use it as a witty hidden element, but most people are making it the main focus. very few first year design students would make such an obvious mistake.

hi mgo,

ich habe hier noch einen Link zu wikipedia, wo beschrieben wird, was dead drop ist (oder besser, woher der Name kommt)

Da der Link englisch ist, hier mal meine grobe Übersetzung des ersten Satzes (der meiner Meinung nach alles sagt):

Dead drop ist eine Methode, die in der Spionage verwendet wird, um Dinge zwischen zwei Individuen mit Hilfe von einem geheimen Ort übergeben zu können ohne dass diese Individuen sich direkt treffen müssen.

Genauso läuft ja auch USB-Stick Projekt.

Hoffe das hilft Dir.

'Dead Drops' is looking for an awesome brand logo to be used along with the brands name.

My question is regarding this line in the requirement. Is Aram looking only for an icon/symbol? Is it okay to integrate text within the composite logo or is this strictly a 'no text' requirement?

On our last week of Aram's assignment, a note to all participants and those still working on their submissions:

Do please take the time to ivestigate and think about the concept. Read the link Ilines has posted for you above! (

The idea of dead drops goes well beyond just USB symbols and drops of liquid. Try to think about it more conceptually. Good luck!

Sure will, texastee :) Thanks for the inspiration!

Please answer the previous question from Hauptbahnhof. As for me i would say : yes it's a symbol-only contest (or letter-based symbol). No 'brand name' involved.

Ok, let me check with Aram

because this is a charity contest, i think every participant deserves a one on one comment and direction from aram. this is in his best interest as well as the future of charity work at jovoto. i was hoping he'd do this without my suggestion, but we are halfway through already.

If this is what Open Zone stands for I will never be part of it again.

A team member who is bashing ideas!


... and is contributing ideas himself...

Dudes 1. i don't bash, "i emit a critic". 2. if you don't wanna be "bashed" at all, or given a "bad" evaluation, then i advice you to contact Jovoto and ask them to suppress the ratings "better trash it and start over again" and "poor idea, a lot of work is needed".

i thought it was a "she" .... :)

okay guys. fun is fun, but you've made your point and it's time to support nadine. she has the most at stake here and we shouldn't let our pettiness affect her experiment. i got bashed too and accepted it. it isn't against the rules to hate every idea. if you have a problem with a specific rating, negotiate it with the person responsible. it's good practice to follow recommended protocol before resorting to public protest.

I think the message is very clear.

And not a bad word about nadine.

HI teigan. You say you were bashed, i suppose you're thinking of me (because i was accused to do so…), so i reviewed them and i see no bashing at all : "Ah! that's sexy! Some potential…" "Sexy too! something to work on." "Some potential. but gotta work on the design… get rid of the "underground"."

(i misunderstood what you said, sorry)

we have some local terminology here jpgh. "bash" = rate harshly. i enjoy getting low ratings, but some members are very proud of their ideas and feel insulted by a 1 or 2 rating for an idea they put genuine effort into. i'm not taking sides here, but please try to work this out amicably for nadine's sake, and a favour to me.

Allright. ? (who's Nadine ?)

tbh i don't think people are upset by low ratings. everyone has the right to rate however they feel an idea is worthy to be rated.

they are upset about actual bashing in the comments.

idk about others ideas but i saw 1 idea where "he/she" just put "lol".

if you're gonna "constructively criticize" someone else's idea and work -- which they've put time and effort into, regardless of how "shitty" you think theirs is -- well you should give them suggestions on how to improve or atleast the reasons WHY you think the idea is not up to your oh so high standards.

i'm sorry but i am just truly pissed that someone just goes around thinking they are above everyone else just cus they feel they are more talented or professional or whatever the hell. and i'm dissapointed that such behaviour is tolerated here.

i support this project but i don't support rudeness.

i'm sorry you may be offended by my comment. i will leave a more complete answer later on.

Uh oh, what went on here while I was enjoying a lazy Sunday? :(

Let's all not get too emotional here, let's try to sort this out. A disclaimer ahead: I (and jovoto) did not know jpgh is involved in a Dead Drops project. And judging by his explanation, he was not "sent by Aram to participate in this contest, nor is he a very closely knit partner of the prject, more of an occasional supporter. Still, it would have been nice if jphg had said something about this from the beginning.

As to the ratings and comments: You're right, jphg uses a higher number of negative ratings than what is common here. I'll talk to him about this.

You can send me personal message if you want. but i can give a public answer meanwhile: 1. i'm glad you understand my position with the DD project: fair supporter but remote team member. 2. … in a way, i announced it with my first submitted designs, see the line "… prior to this contest". 3. i wait for your mail. But if you're recrimination is about giving negative ratings, then you must totally revise the rating procedure.

ratings below 3 are reserved for projects you recommend the author abandoning and starting over. could you please go back through the projects and consider whether that's the message you really want to send? we respect your right to stick to the ratings you first gave, but we also ask all raters to adjust their ratings as the projects progress.

@jphg ah ok, I hadn't read that explanation under your idea in that way. I thought it was an idea you had worked on in some entriely different context.

I will make an answer in PM to texastee, but @teigan, read this : from time to time, i come back here and look at the designs. if justified, i modify my ratings (for example for this project that has gained quality :, but don't expect me to change every low ratings i made. For example this one,, should even not been displayed in the list of the submissions. It's a joke. + I'm kind of stupid, i believe what the text means. If a text says "if you click here, you consider that the work should be trashed", and if it's my opinion, i click. Why shouln't i act in the contrary of what i think and what the official text means ?? Otherwise, Jovoto must add a statement on all of its pages, saying "the text we put on rating 1,2,3 is not what it means…". :-/ But here is the tricky stuff : Jovoto don't want us to rate designs, Jovoto wants us to rate "IDEAS". Lets take an example : What is the idea behind this ? the idea is "i use a drop in the logo design". Okay. Value of this idea ? Not far from zero because about 15 persons has made the same idea before this guy, and actually i don't find it relevant to the DD project. Now what ? Should the author of the idea trash it or rework on it ? If he reworks on it, will it be the same idea ? Yes and no. :-/ Plus : if i forget the "idea-rating" to focus on a more tangible aspect of the work, aka the design, i must use the same rating as well. Then on the previous case, the rating could be 6 or 7… because it's true this guy has made a better drawn drop than others. So ? so :-/

some of your ratings were very harsh. and i see you've changed them. thanks you. to me every "idea" has potential. sometimes you realise, the idea you threw in the waste bin yesterday is a winner. i agree with you that jovoto is very weak on the idea side of design. i doubt this is going to change by you calling attention to it. the average community member doesn't have a conceptual understanding of what you're criticizing. that include the professionals. to me it seems like the students/beginners on jovoto have a better grasp of good design practice, although their ideas are often ignored for lack of flashy presentation.

Can I summarize the current frustration with this project as this: The lack of appreciation/involvement from Aram on the one hand, and instead merely critical and boisterous feedback from someone who has a (loose) association with the project on the other.

Seems to me like the person we need now to shed some light or give his opinion is Aram. I've tried to contact him - please give me a couple of hours.

I'm truly sorry this fun project had to turn sour in this way. I'll be back with more info.

hey everyone,

i haven t followed the contest and development over the weekend and just got a note from jovoto. i am sorry there ve been misunderstandings and i am sorry i weren t here to solve them and to take part in the discussion.

yes, jphg is part of the deaddrops team (taking care of the forum and helped on the design side etc.) it is also true that the stuff he pitched here he already pitched to me weeks before the contest. since he s not taking the final decisions in design questions (i do) i didn t mind he pitched his ideas here again. as jphg stated above he acts here as an individual, true. maybe it wasn t a good idea to have part of the team in the contest, sorry about that. and sorry about it wasn t clear who is in charge of what. i also think his commenting and voting policy was not always very diplomatic but that has already been discussed above.

i believe the open zone initiative by jovoto is a great idea. i was super impressed by the number of entries and your dedication for dead drops here. there are many ideas which i like a lot and have a lot of potential! i ll start to comment on those tonight and will make up my mind how to value your all work. (maybe will not have only one logo but a changing logo on every page reload ;-) i am exited to look through all these proposals in the coming days and i am very curious for the community vote outcome.

the 'working-for-free' discussion is very important. i totally understand both sides, i am often asking these questions myself. ...

thx for all your commitment and proposals! i do value your work, everyones' !

(have to run now ... will be back later)


Hey Aram,

great to see you're catching up with the project. I am so excited about the creative outcome and I am pretty sure that the ramblings here are a little bit exaggerated. people could simply stay a bit more respectful and open ... even more as DD is such a fun project you created.

Cheers b/

hey mr. b/ ;)! yes, word! i agree thx ARAM

hi bunterberg meinst du mit "people could simply stay a bit more respectful and open" ... die lieben Kreativen?

.....dann ist dein Kommentar wohl nicht ernst zu nehmen.

@clari: I don't understand your question. People in general would work as well ;)

hey all!

nadine asked me to drop some more briefing notes and to get a bit more precise after this 1st week of all your proposals. i ll go on after this and start commenting on some but 1st in general this:

  • there are a lot of ideas related to (water-)drops and usb plugs. (yes, i ve posted some myself and you guys also picked up from the marker designs above) this makes a lot of sense and there are some very good ones. but i can also imagine that a logo is more abstract and minimal. it doesnt neccessary need to be recognized as a specific object or need to have a direct link to the words or tools.

  • i also like the usb logo fork variations. makes a lot of sense here. i played with this logo myself.

  • i like minimalistic style. somethimes less is more. but of course it is also great to have a big FFFATTT graffiti style logo, especially on a T-shirt. i am tending to the minimal strong version but maybe we can fit in a modified T-shirt version with hip hop flavour

  • i like the idea to make look like a serious company with lots of VC money and a business model ( but in fact it is a revolutionary movement ;-) instead of young and fresh i would prefer a bit more layed back, serious and understatement (yes, i am old! (38 :))

  • some more key words along we can brainstorm: open, free, sharing, exchange, offline, distribution, anonymous, ....

  • in the end i am a customer like any other one i guess who doesn t know what he wants, haha ... but surprise me. i love the idea to have an of open design contest for this open project. today the first live drop (new feature) was registered. DD is constantly growing and new ideas coming in. it s the future of the INTERNETZ!! ;-)

love you guys! thx for taking part and dropping all these ideas!

Thank you for the kind words and explanation Aram. Success with your project.

And eh ... there are more people who can modify a forum for you.

lol. You don't loose north, don't you ? (french expression) The forum is basically a phpBB board. The original theme is Pro-silver but the style was in total inadequation with the site's theme ( The theme then was shifted to Minimal ( knowing that it did not comply with phpBB guidelines but was the most quick start to a "mostly white" theme. Then customized to fit with the site, then later modified again in the code to allow the use of Q&A captcha (which, in a way, make the theme more compliant with phpBB guidelines). But the thing is that the theme, even if simplified and tidied up, remains very confuse in the code because it uses a lot of tables. So: if you are a master in css, you are absolutely free to set up an entire phpBB by your side (strictly w3c compliant, absolutely table-free) to use along Thematic's thematic theme, and then you'll return back to us. And if you know the top-notch code that can get rid of the iframe scrollbars, you can send it to us too. Thank you.

Why don´t we all bury the hatchet and start again focusing on the ideas, that I´m think is why we all are here for ?

@flegido: yes, you are right. sorry. i wanted just to give a fair and documented answer about what Prodeo was refering to. no problem. Meanwhile, i found another sand box with the WWF contest ; and by the way, i understand a bit better what the idea rate system is about (actually i find it a bit more relevant to rate an idea in a advertising campaign than in logo design).

I hope you enjoy the platform, there are a couple of great contests still open.

Hello jphg. First of all it is not my intention to modify anything. I think you don´t understand what i mean. But I think you learnt a lot the last few days just as I did the last few month. ( I am talking about respect here) So lets have a new start here. Hello jphg. You have aproblem with the scrollbars? I think your peoblem is:

Well it looks like I can´t send any HTML here.

But you can have look at this. scrollbars: auto

And by the way ......

The W3C validator says: 8 faults on the page.

@Prodeo: validator: it sucks, yes, i'm totally aware of it, the original theme (Minimal) was… i can't say ! scrollbars : notify directly Aram. I've sent him a couple of code, he did not implement them already (lazy bastard!). But gotta say that someone else is currently working on the site, so let's wait and see.

Thanks for your reply. And when there are more problems. Don´t hasitate to ask.

Forgot to mention: scrollbars: off

now that newfag and oldfag have made up, can we all get back to the contest?

hey yo designers & droppers !

wow! it s awesome to see how you guys rock this contest! :D

i see a lot of detailing and fine tuneing in the last days and still new proposals dropping in, wow! i feel overwhelmed by all your dedication, input and ideas and it ll be really tough to take a decision. there are too many options but the crowd intelligence is pretty close i guess ;)

you all did a great job no matter who will make it. i feel honored by all your dedication pitching her for dead drops voluntary! thx so much guys!!

btw, the best news of the week was that dead drops will be part of the 'talk to me' show at MoMA this summer! :D i was blown away by that news!

Wow, that's awesome! Congrats (:D