An emblem for open government

As we’ve written about quite a lot so far in 2010, we are launching a national campaign to make government more open, transparent, and ultimately: accountable.

Today, we’re excited to put out one of the most important parts of building this campaign: the “emark” that will be emblematic of what we as an open government community stand for.

If you hadn’t noticed it yet, this is it at right.

This mark (as part of a full logo below) is a very important step because we’re not just building a campaign. This is a movement we’re part of. And when we say “we,” it is not just “the Sunlight Foundation” that we are talking about. It’s all of us who care about changing the relationship citizens have with their government by making it more transparent, participatory and collaborative. It’s anyone who thinks that government can work better on their behalf and has a responsibility to do so.

We hope this emblem is a first step in giving us something we can all own and point to as a symbol for what open government means to us, and what we believe. We hope it becomes a rallying point for those standing up to make an open, transparent government something we can hang our hat on – or our iPhones and Androids on.

We believe that what government does, how it is influenced, or how it spends our money are all things that are public information – and today, “public” means that the government’s data must be accessible by any citizen, at any time, from anywhere: online and in real-time.

Through the campaign we hope to dramatically further the movement for open government that has been building, and give it the infrastructure it needs to be successful at the local, state and federal levels for years to come.

The full logo that we’ve created for the campaign looks like this at left, and is what we’ll use for things like the campaign’s central website. While “Public=Online” could (or, will, I should say) one day be a fulfilled goal as a campaign and no longer be needed, the open government mark as indicated above is “evergreen” as we say, and can be used for years to come – no matter the campaign needs of the day related to openness and transparency. It’s also intentionally not “Sunlight centric” (one of our criteria), so that while it may be “powered by Sunlight,” any organization working toward government transparency can use it on their website or in their materials.

There were a large number of other criteria that we at Sunlight, and others around the country, felt the emblem needed to fulfill, and this video by our new media wiz, Noah Kunin, very creatively walks us through some of the logo’s features.

Google Group

The Wiki

We will launch our nationwide campaign in full in March to put necessary pressure on government and build the massive political muscle that will be required to get government to do what we need. Please join us by getting involved in whatever way works best for you. If you’re reading this, you’re already helping actually. The next step is join in the conversation via our Google Group “Citizens for Open Government” or even simply leave a comment below letting us know what you think.

About Jake Brewer

As the Campaigns and Engagement Director at the Sunlight Foundation, Jake is responsible for all external affairs and campaigns aimed at making government on the local, state and federal level more transparent. Jake is a veteran national organizer and social entrepreneur, having served as Director of Strategic Communications for the Energy Action Coalition (Power Shift '09), Director of Partnerships at Idealist.org and Director of Education Without Borders. Jake and his team are responsible for outreach and citizen activism campaigns, like the highly successful "Read the Bill" initiative, which helped push Congress to post legislation online for public disclosure and comment. Jake is an expert on the transparency community and the importance of engagement between the public and its government. Jake has most recently appeared on MSNBC, CNN, BBC America and NPR.

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