As you may have noticed, the PHP Classes site logo that appears on the top left of all site pages and HTML newsletters, features a mascot named elePHPant. It is a creation of Vincent Pontier - AKA El Roubio - a French graphic artist that uses and loves PHP very much.
Vincent created the elePHPant several years ago as his proposal for a PHP mascot and it has been adopted by many PHP sites, mostly from France.
In 2002, Rasmus Lerdorf, who is as you know the creator of PHP, admitted the elePHPant as a possible alternative of the PHP logo. The recommendation to use the Vincent logos is in the official PHP logo download page:
Maybe because the recommendation is too shy or because it was not widely announced, very few sites have yet adopted the elePHPant as an alternative PHP logo.
By now, you may be asking: "why a mascot as an alternative PHP logo?"
A nice mascot like the elePHPant certainly attracts more attention than the traditional PHP logo. A mascot helps identifying PHP friendly initiatives where it may be used, just like Tux the penguin has been helping to identify Linux friendly initiatives. The same goes for other products, whether they are Open Source or not, like Duke the Java mascot, Dolphin the MySQL mascot, etc..
Adopting a mascot as PHP symbol is not a matter of doing it just because other projects also have a mascot. As nice mascot can definitely help spreading PHP as a stronger brand as it is. When the PHP mascot gets noticed it will help PHP to become a stronger brand.
A stronger PHP brand will help passing the idea that PHP has a very large community that is worth investing on. This will help attracting more companies that may start using PHP in their own projects, as well attracting more companies and independent developers that will invest on developing more products for the PHP community.
Ultimately this means more PHP jobs providing more opportunities to generate income for those that would like to dedicate to PHP community at full time, hopefully with exclusivity. In the end everything that is done to promote PHP, will benefit the PHP community and everybody that is committed to it.
Another point is that PHP does not have a wealthy company behind it to promote PHP everywhere it makes sense, like Java has Sun, IBM, Oracle, etc.. and .Net languages have Microsoft and others. Sure Zend and others have been making progress but that they have limited resources to promote PHP, so they can't do miracles.
I think it is up to the community to help promoting PHP as much as possible so the community keeps growing and we all can continue to dedicate to PHP all the time.
Adopting a PHP mascot is one of many things that everybody in the community can do, for instance making the mascot visible in your PHP sites, PHP products and related services.
Now that you see the point of adopting a PHP mascot, you may be asking "why the elePHPant as PHP mascot? Isn't it a bit childish? Doesn't PostgreSQL also use an elephant as mascot? Shouldn't there be a democratic election to choose the best PHP mascot?"
I think that the main reasons to use the elePHPant as PHP mascot is because it exists and it is nice. I am sure that the elePHPant is a nice character that will inspire sympathy to many people from the PHP community and from outside.
Sure other mascots can be proposed, but as far as I know there seems to be no other proposal for PHP mascot. PHP only needs one mascot and since no other has been proposed, I think the PHP community should be glad that one talented graphic artist like Vincent Pontier dedicated so much to design a nice mascot.
Vincent is an humble person. He does not want to impose his work. He is just glad that sharing his work that he dedicated to PHP he is also helping the community to grow. Therefore he is making the elePHPant graphics available for free in several formats, including Photoshop (PSD), GIMP (XCF), Adobe Illustrator (AI).
He also allows anybody to adapt the elePHPant graphics to any format that may be suitable for use in the artwork of sites or products that need to make adjustments to better suite their needs.
The graphics are available for download here:
If you adopt an elePHPant, you are not required to tell him about it, but if you use in in your site, feel free to contact Vincent so he can list your site in his pages. His address is email@example.com .
Let's all adopt an elePHPant! :-)