Te Ara's distinctive logotype (word-based logo) was created by Paul Johnson of the Wellington firm Designworks. Johnson said his inspirations included artist Colin McCahon's textual paintings, the Māori tradition of sky father Ranginui and earth mother Papatūānuku separating the earth from the heavens, and the fresh, do-it-yourself image that is a source of pride for most New Zealanders. The design won the prestigious Best graphic design award in 2004. A range of alternative versions of the logotype were developed, and most of the alternatives shown here were eventually used on Te Ara.
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