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Re: New Icon Set...[echo]...
- From: Máirín Duffy <duffy redhat com>
- To: "Discussions about the artwork included with Fedora, including icons, themes, and wallpapers." <fedora-art-list redhat com>
- Subject: Re: New Icon Set...[echo]...
- Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 23:58:36 -0400
David Nielsen wrote:
It just feels like months ago the answer was get Tango upstream and it
will be our default.
Whoah whoah whoah, Nelly! That was never the case.
"My thoughts are we should wait until GNOME adopts it. If upstream
GNOME adopts it, it would be a lot easier choice to make." 
Ray made it quite clear that those were his thoughts, and there were no
promises/guarantees/solid answers there! I have also been saying for
months now that we will not be going with Tango .
Then suddenly BAM.. here's Echo with the words New
and Theme used by people with @redhat.com in their emailaddies.
I'm one of two people with an @redhat.com email address who actively
posts on this list, but: I do not work on the Red Hat Desktop team. I
work on a systems management/provisioning platform called Red Hat
Network. The work I do on this list is on a volunteer-basis in my free
time (note the time stamp on this email in EST.) My 'dibs' on calling
the shots here are strictly as a community member.
So, you're really only talking about Diana, who is one person, who has
been asking for community input and help all along.
Understand my anger with this, it does not exactly help with the feeling
that Fedora is indeed a COMMUNITY project. This is exactly the kind of
thing that leads to ideas like Fedora is nothing more than ungrateful
betatesting for RHEL.
This isn't a community project? Diana hasn't made all the icon source
files available, set up a wiki page for people to contribute easily,
invited people to comment and help work on it, and we haven't been
discussing the issue of icon artwork publicly on this list for months?
Basically, it comes down to this, David: the people who are artists and
who are doing the work on this list would rather not go with Tango. If
you care enough to want to help steer a project, you get involved as a
*DOER*. Otherwise, you can give your input (which we do care about, but
if we catered to only the loudest users, we'd have a very strange
product indeed) and move on.
By getting involved, you can influence the direction of things
rather than ...perhaps feeling a bit antagonized by what other people
create and throw at you. If you believe it is beyond help
then...well...there are other icon sets, not everyone has to use the
same one. However, I have seen some useful suggestions even in the many
emails this weekend and ask that perhaps you can think of it as it's own
project. Bluecurve, Tango and others aside, how can we improve echo.
I opened up with the fact that I have no SVG creation skills, I also
have no intention to learn Inkscape.
Does the fact that you admitted you don't have SVG creation skills nor
are you willing to learn any make your comments any more useful?
I can make comments on what does
not work and what does, that is the extend to which I can go. Don't
start this put your code where your mouth it. If that was the standard
for all Free Software then we would never have any users.
How is trolling the list and making fun of my artwork contributions, for
example (remember, you made some sweeping generalizations about graffiti
art and related my wallpaper to Alice Cooper biting the head off of a
kitten ) helpful?
Putting your 'code' (or hard work and time, which doesn't necessarily
require code) where your mouth is is how free software has gotten here
today. David, do you really think Linux would be where it was today if
all the developers sat on mailing lists instead of contributing?
We have to be
open to comments without giving the standard reply "so where is your
fix". It is a perk when users fix your issues in addition to giving you
input not a requirement.
Wait a minute, isn't this *your* issue, not *ours*?
Some people's overall dislike of the set was a bit confused with the
issue of it looking bad in smaller sizes. My question is, therefore, at
it's current size...do you like it? At this point...I'm looking for
feedback on the look and feel of the icons. The angle, the colors, the
shadow. Previous messages of the shadow being a bit too dark was useful
as well as someone's current mention of the "grave cross" "add" icon.
With the shadow, this icon set is no longer a simple copy and paste of
icons into a square, accommodations have to be made for the shadow, and
therefore, with different shapes, icons such as the "pause" might seem
larger than the "skip forward" and whatnot it's placed next to. But
these are exactly the kinds of consideration that are useful when
Do I like it at it's current size, no I think the prespective is a fancy
way of trying to look shiny without really adding much to my experience,
it just looks wrong to me. Rather than being a sutle effect that looks
nice it seems invasive and in your face, a bit like overdoing a good
As Diana has said before  (almost a month ago), the 16x16 and 24x24
Echo icons are planned to be at a 'head on' perspective. Not that 16x16
or 24x24 isometric perspective icons can't be used either (as in
Bluecurve.) But 'head on' would be better because of the sharper angles
One study you do deserve full credit for though, the facing and
prespective study you did on Bluecurve, that pointed out some
interesting issues. I promptly put on my whiteboard of things to
remember in my review toolbox, I knew Bluecurve was kinda bad in that
respect but the range of issues even on a sigle toolbar is scary.
Nicu put that together. You can see who did what in the wiki history.
But those are more packaging errors than actual holes in the Bluecurve
icon set, so let's keep the issues we're pointing out straight.
I don't like the color scheme much either, I was never a big fan of that
light blue glass look, it honestly reminds me of the month I spend in
the hospital: cold, clinical and industrial (and everything you hear
about hospital food is absolutely true btw. it's not fit for human
consumption).. it's a bit erie feeling to me.
Well, at least it's not graffiti style, right? ;) Cold and clinical is
at least 'professional'?
The battery icons especially just seem overdone. It's one of those
things that's hard to put your finger on. Then again I am a big fan of
fairly simple icons, when looking at the level of detail I tend to favor
the less is more thinking. I also like repeating images to underline
functionality. For additional detail read the reply I wrote for the
remote folder icon.
There is just no possible way to do prespective below at least 24x24,
the ratio between right and left in terms of pixels to convey
information with would be laughable. It makes something small even
smaller and thus makes the job of getting information across harder. I
think we might need to think of that kind of thing as a luxury reserved
for very big icons to give them a swanky feel. It looks great on my
desktop (if I had icons there) not so much most other places.
Perspective at 24x24 and below worked fine in the Bluecurve icon set. I
work with 16x16 Bluecurve icons all the time in RHN's UI. It is
possible, just more or less difficult based on how sharp the angles of
your grid or perspective are.
It might be helpful if we could
get a few of the icons done like so:
One prespective all the way (pure scaling) and one flat (also pure
scaling) right under it with the same motive so we can see where the
breaking point is. We don't need to consider information overload for
that test, just to see where the breaking point is, I would wager it
sits in at 32x32 or 36x36 depending on the complexity of the icon.
The reason you can't just 'pure scale' an icon and expect it to look
good (perspective OR flat) is because the computer is stupid and doesn't
know where the strong lines are supposed to be and where they are not,
so some important lines can fall inbetween the pixels of the small pixel
grid and get blurred. It takes careful editing to get a larger icon to
come out clear within a 16x16 or even 24x24 pixel grid. So your proposed
experiment would not be as productive as it may seem on the surface. If
some icons came out clear it'd be due to sheer luck, and/or just because
their shapes were simple enough.
I've also posted some of the early icons in the fc5 screen setting
...those are actually cleaned up smaller icons. Is that _still_
bad...or maybe better? A few pixels cleaned here and there can really
make a difference. =)
In the very small sizes you really need a defined outline to be as
viewable as possible it really makes all the difference (and once you
have it on smaller icons it looks silly to not have it on larger ones as
they will look very different).
The defined outline doesn't need to be black as in Bluecurve and other
icon sets. Using darker shades of colors in the fills of the icons would
provide the desired effect on the smaller icons that'd be complementary
to the larger ones.
[svg file size]
Yes, they are large...horribly so. Nicu's example of slimming it down
is awesome and I really hope someone could perhaps run through them. I
wish my original wasn't so large to begin with but at this point I am
trying to create as many as possible to provide for better coverage and
to also get to the smaller icons in time for release. Maybe it's
wishful thinking...I dunno, but must be hopeful. Attached is an example
from Andy Fitzsimon...when he first saw my svgs he laughed at the
ridiculous sizes...but instead of criticizing them...he went ahead and
showed what could actually able to get it down to 1.9k! If you want to
check it out...fyi. it came with the warning of...
Strawman... If you can't take criticism and insist on only taking
feedback from people who can code you are building an elitist system.
While I agree that it is a meritocracy
Whoah, I thought you were arguing for paragraphs way above that Linux
wouldn't be where it was today if it wasn't a meritocracy...? btw where
is anybody insisting on taking feedback only from people who can code?
And how is 'not taking criticism' exemplified anywhere on this list wrt
there is something to be said for
the fact that out of the many users we have only about 1% can actually
do SVG design to the degree of being useful. That doesn't hopefully make
us useless in your eyes, some of us have no direct skills but have
intimate knowledge of what is needed to hit certain users and we can
provide testing. I think of criticing artwork as filing crasher bugs, I
can't code C to the degree where I could fix Evolution fast enough to
keep up but I can point out when it just doesn't work.
But if you are of the opinion that "Artwork should be culturally
neutral"  I'm not sure how qualified you are to be giving critiques
on artistic style or anything having to do with art at all really?
So while he might not be interested in populating yet another icon set,
he is interested in optimizing svg files...and that's awesome. It does
make me hopeful to see this and really contributes to the evolution of
the icon set. But this is what I mean...with the feedback and talents
of various people the set can evolve into something more.
It still seems like taking a well thought out design guideline and a
very complete and well tested icon set and throwing it out. I have yet
to see any argument against Tango that didn't boil down to Fong or Duffy
plain not liking it. While that's fine I would like to see some
justification for reinventing the wheel rather than adapting Tango to
our needs. And don't say branding because that is perfectly possible
within Tango, it worked for Ubuntu why not for Fedora?
It's not just 'Fong or Duffy plain not liking it.' The issue is a bit
more complicated than that. Go back through the list archives if you
care. If not, let's let the bloodied and dying horse lay in peace
because quite frankly I am sick of repeating myself on this topic.
There is, of course, always personal preference so while it might be
better for some, it might not be for others.
We all have different needs and are entitled to our opinions...let's
just try to focus and make what we write here useful to this project.
I still think that is the wrong attitude, before discarding an idea you
have debate. I don't want to wake up 3 months from now to another
brilliant idea from behind the RedHat walls
Please note that Diana posted bitmap screenshots of her preliminary work
for Echo months ago, and it wasn't just 'flung' over the 'Red Hat walls'
but openly discussed.
because when that happens we
get stuff like Echo that from ground up was not designed with the idea
in mind to cater to users that do not have 20/20 eyesight.
We have an icon theme specifically to address those with visual
impairments if you are that concerned. As has been pointed out to you a
couple of times now, work on the smaller versions of these icons has
barely been started yet. We will change the perspective to a flat rather
than isometric one for icons 24x24 and 16x16. Trust me.
think of every issue on your own that's why we need the community, and
we need to make an RFC on an idea because starting a ton of work and
labelling it as "the new theme". It makes it seem like a decision was
taken away from the community and is being stuffed down my throat.
Wait a minute now. If Diana wants to start working on a new icon theme,
and is asking for people to comment and help - how is that stuffing
something down your throat? Has anybody talked about this being *THE*
default for FC6? No! As has been mentioned several times, the set is not
mature enough and the deadline for FC6 is such that it very well may not
make it. If it's not ready, it's not going to be shipped as the default,
end of story. And as you've made a bit more clear than you needed to,
no, it is not ready to ship now. So what? It's under open, community
development. You complain about things not being out in the community,
but then you complain that they're out there and not 100% finished. You
can't have it both ways.
Is there anything wrong with trying to create a new icon theme? Is it
just because Diana has a redhat.com email address that you're upset?
There is personal opinion and then there are areas where you really need
some serious testing and design. These would be things like usability
and accessability, but also things like cultural bias, the obvious one
here is money not being green many places outside the US, we need to
think about these things.
Right, we know that. Again, the theme is not finished. There is a
tension between following Tango's metaphors so having a better
cross-Linux distro standard of icons and the potential usability issues
with some of the metaphors the Tango icons use.
One thing I'm very set on is testing of icons,
like Jimmacs blur scripts, simulating red/green color blindness, etc,
there are things that I don't think about either. No one person is
perfect so it would be good to work hand in hand with the usability team
and do real testing to see if we hit common pitfalls.
I would love to help set up an icon test squad, I can take care of my
own handicap and with a bit of wiggling I can send screenshots or my
laptop around to my former collegues and get some real feedback from
special needs users. But we need more, if anyone knows other special
needs users we should welcome them here so that we can get the best
compromise between a cool look and a usable look.
This sounds exceptionally helpful and I sincerely hope you do start this
endeavor. I would be willing to help out.
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