Re: logo and mascot [was Re: logo objectives]
In article <Pine.LNX.3.96.971112214327.27726A-100000@sloth> you wrote:
: The beehive idea isn't bad, but it doesn't immediately trigger 'debian'
: in my mind.
I think the beehive is a really good idea, actually.
I pointed out on 18 Feb 1997 that it's not important for a logo to immediately
trigger 'debian' the first time it is seen. I explained why this is so, and
the list members at the time rallied behind my assertions about what would
make for a good logo. The topic came up again in May, at which point
Christian Schwarz posted an excerpt from my note, and it again it generated
lots of agreement.
Since it appears that the debian-publicity list wasn't being archived back
then (at least, the list archives at www.debian.org don't go that far back
for this list), I'll append a copy of that note for those who missed it the
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In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> you wrote:
: Honestly (and its not just sour grapes) I really do not have a high level of
: confidence going for any of the logos on the Debian page.
Hi Ean. You raise some very valid points, but I believe I disagree with you
to some extent. Let me try to articulate what I was looking for when I looked
at the logo page most recently, in the hope that it will spark further
discussion about what characteristics make a logo good. I would hope that this
would help narrow the focus a bit and help us pick something sooner.
I should point out that my wife is a degreed graphic designer, and so I've been
influenced quite a bit by her thinking, but I'm drafting this note without her
I think it is important that a logo be
- unique and distinct
- visual, and not textual, in nature
It's important for a logo to not be "just like" or "almost like" some other
logo, unless you're doing a family of products in which case each variant
product might have a variant logo with strong elements tying them together.
It's important for a logo to be scalable from "thumbnail" size so that it can
be used on web pages and product label, up through banner size so that you can
put a banner with the logo over the "Debian table" at a conference or trade
show. This tends to argue strongly for a logo which is "simple" in terms of
the design... things that are too intricate fall apart when scaled down to
thumbnail size. A reasonable criteria here might also be whether the logo is
recognizable in grey-scale as well as it is in color.
It's important for a logo to be purely, or almost purely, a visual thing. I
like some of the ideas that incorporate text as overall creations, but I
believe that we need something that can be put next to different hunks of text
on different occasions.
And clearly, a logo needs to be memorable. My definition of this is that once
someone has ever/once seen the logo in association with something they care
about (Debian GNU/Linux in this case), that the logo will always be associated
with that thing in their mind. It is *not* necessary for the logo to mean
something to someone who has never seen it before. Very few of the best logos
: None of the logos speak deeply to a customer about what Debian is and why it
: is important. I mean, the Gnu refrences are fun (like the Penguin with
: horns) but most of these are very elaborate "in" jokes that very few
: unschooled (read average) computer users are going to understand.
As stated above, I believe this is not a necessary or useful attribute for a
logo to have.
: Fundamentally the arguement that your marketing doesn't need a message
: because people will eventually associate whatever image you project with
: your product is meaningless.
I think we need to make a distinction between "logo", "name", and "marketing"
here. "Kodak" as a name is meaningless by itself, until each individual sees
that name in association with a product family they care something about, at
which point the name has value. "Kodak" is not a logo. The Kodak company has
a very nice logo that meets my criteria. Kodak uses its name and its logo in
their marketing efforts, combining it with catchy phrases and the like.
Ditto for "Oldsmobile". It means nothing by itself. They have a logo that
is distinct from the name, and they use both in marketing campaigns that are
intended to build in the minds of the public the set of associations for that
name and logo that they want.
: I would like to see some thinking on what symbols and messages Debian is
: trying to express, as a movement, so that we can project those messages and
: ideas in our marketing. Is this a far fetched concept?
Not at all! I think you're absolutely dead on the money. However, I think
this issue is relatively unrelated to the issue of what would make a good logo.
It is also relatively unrelated to the name of the project and its products.
What you're talking about, to me, is what set of principles we should use to
trigger activity leading to the establishment of some "catchy phrases" about
our product that can be part of a marketing campaign to build the right
associations in people's minds...
ps: by the way, the "horny penguin" is my favorite: because it meets the
criteria I stated above, it ties in to the Linux logo, and I think inside
jokes are perfectly acceptable and can help create useful mental
associations in an effort like ours. I'm using it for my X root windows
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