The winning design will be the inspiration for a subsequent brand guide and potentially also a revision of our web app. Let us know if you'd be interested in those as well. But please, no copying the work of other designers. It's obvious to us when we see that and we're far more likely to be impressed with original, innovative ideas.
Our site is bright and clean with a white background. We would like a logo that is fun and irreverent, but at the same time conveys trust in our brand. Our users are both university students AND professors, so it is a wide demographic and we'll need to appeal to both. We want people to feel like our site is simple and elegant, yet very sophisticated and modern. It should be effortless (even delightful) to navigate around and be genuinely fun to use.
Some competitors include https://www.101edu.co/ and https://www.saplinglearning.ca/ibiscms/login/.
We love the style of kurzgesagt: https://m.youtube.com/user/Kurzgesagt
Logos could (but certainly don't have to!) incorporate any objects that might be associated with higher education in science. "molecules" are a strong theme in what we do but aren't necessary.
No owls or tree themes please!