I'll give it a shot!
The io.js logo, in and of itself, isn't that important. It's just an image. But in the greater context of io.js's whole endeavor, the logo and visual brand are essential. Along with the name, the logo is how people will think of this project. And people are thinking about io.js. When they consider adoption, or contributing, or discussing, or even rejecting. Having a distinctive visual identity can focus that thought. The logo can be like a lens around an idea. It won't make the idea any better, but it can help people see it.
A good logo should be simple and easy to recognize. A good logo should be unique: easy to distinguish, clear in how it communicates its meaning.
The logo should refect the values and characteristics of io.js.
node's visual brand was designed in 2011. It is based on process visualization, and uses an isometric grid to align hexagonal shapes. The hexagon shape has adopted by the node community for a visual identity. It's flexible and can be used together with other identities. The hexagon has been a strong asset for node. But I feel it's important to make a distinction. io.js may have been born out of node, but it deliberately different. The io.js logo should be different as well. io.js lives outside the hexagon.
My initial exportations played with the simple I and O shapes.
This version is made of two tori (plural of torus, or doughnuts, for the hungry). When viewed at 90 degrees, a torus loses its circular shape and looks like a skinny pill.
To show how the logo is made of the tori, it could be animated.
This concept is okay. It's nicely simple, but not unique. There's possible confusion with Google I/O conference.
Others have explored using the moon Io and Jupiter. There are some really nice logos. But the best logo will not come from this concept. The circular shape of the planets is too simple and the complexity of Jupiter's multiple bands of color is too complex. The concept will have to come from something else.
The moon Io is named after the character Io from Greek mythology. Io was a maiden desired by Zeus. To hide the object of his affection from his wife Hera, Zeus transformed Io in a cow.
A cow could work. The cow isn't the most charismatic of animals, but they are well known. This would be no ordinary cow, either. This cow is a person, a beauty of myth trapped inside an animal. This cow has a story. There's a bit of a parallel with the story of io.js, in Zeus' rebellion, or how a simple-looking thing like a cow could hold an intelligent persona.
I found references from The Noun Project and Google image search.
Starting with a simplified icon of a cow's head, I kept refining the shape. I wanted the logo to look like a mix between a cow and a Super Mario mushroom.
The eyes are the I O shape. This red is taken from the Latvian red cow.
Being 2 color allows a wider range of applications.
Some might react "I don't see a cow" or "I don't read IO." This is okay. It's not supposed to be a cow, or immediately legible as "IO." The logo's job is to visually identify the concept. It's supposed to be its own thing.
This logo is simple enough that you can draw from memory. It is unique. It doesn't resemble generic JS library logos. It has a story. It matches with the values and characters of io.js. This is a good logo.
Add heificon logo
This is a good logo.
👍 Nice job, @desandro!