Monday, February 2, 2015

Ada Mascot Art Competition

What's all this? An art contest? With prize money? For realz?

Let's get this out there right up front: The artist creating the winning entry receives a prize of $700 (US). Entries are due March 13, 2015. Here's the contest announcement, which lists the rules and submission information.

The purpose of this blog post is to help out interested artists by explaining the motivation for the contest, and offering up guidance and assistance on the subject matter.

I am not a judge in the contest, nor am I an artist in any way, shape, or form (or medium :-). I'm not affiliated in any way with this contest, I just want to see excellent entries submitted. My intent here is to help artists come up with winning entries.

What "Ada" are you referring to? Ada Lovelace?

Well, she's related to this. The "Ada" that the mascot is for is the Ada computer programming language. That programming language is in fact named after Ada Lovelace, in tribute to her being considered the world's first computer programmer.

The development of the Ada programming language (note that it's actually her name, not an ACRONYM) was sponsored by the US Department of Defense thirty-plus years ago, and its goal was to create a unified computer programming language that would help programmers write software with fewer errors and thus be safer to use in highly critical systems. They succeeded, and Ada is used today by many aircraft, spacecraft, and defense systems around the world.

It didn't do as well as hoped out in the "non-critical" commercial world due to a variety of technical and political reasons, but is now successfully holding onto its small piece of the software industry pie.

A mascot? For a  programming language? Say what?

It's not the first time. Here's the one for Java:

There's a programming language named Python. It has a mascot too:

Those of us who are advocates of the Ada programming language (yes, there are such things, we have no life) would like to have a really nice mascot too! There's been some efforts along these lines in the past, and not surprisingly Ada Lovelace herself has made an appearance:

Including some modifications (as seen in the Ada sub-reddit :-)

Here's a couple more prosaic ones:

So what are you looking for exactly?

Y'know, something artistic. An image that sums up a several hundred page technical reference manual and centuries of programmer-year efforts to write solid, reliable software in a single, easy-to-grasp mascot. You know, that :-)

What I think we're looking for is something along the lines of the Java or Python logo/mascots. I'm not gonna say representational or non-representational, abstract or realistic, because I don't want to rule out anybody's ideas. Like I said above, Ada was designed to be a programming language that was powerful enough that programmers could use it to write airplane, spacecraft, and missile software, and safe enough that what was programmed would work as intended. Been on an airplane lately? Got where you were going? And have you seen those Rosetta comet pictures? Awesome! Well, there ya go!

Make an entry, submit it, and hopefully you'll be the one to win the prize, which currently stands at $700!

I'll be happy to provide any advice or clarifications. Leave a comment here or tweet me @That_MarcC.

Good luck! Make art!