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Re: The Icon Question
- From: Diana Fong <dfong redhat com>
- To: "Discussions about the artwork included with Fedora, including icons, themes, and wallpapers." <fedora-art-list redhat com>
- Subject: Re: The Icon Question
- Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 13:57:48 -0400
After Máirín sent out the email pertaining to "The Icon Question" a few
weeks ago...I braced myself for responses...for or against it. To my
surprise, however, there was not much response either
way...which..._could_ be a good thing. I therefore, feel like I might
be poking at the hornet's nest a bit as I write this email to point to
the recent additions I've made to
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Artwork/BluecurveAndBeyond and to inquire
how you all feel about it.
I've also noticed a lot of feedback to the puplet icons Máirín created
recently and see two strands of issues being discussed. One being that
the puplet icons do not match the current bluecurve icons (this
conversation is being addressed should remain in that thread) and the
other being concerns about the new icon look in general (which is what
I'm interested in and think should be looked into).
Let's discuss. =) Mockups and sketches are welcome and most helpful.
Subjective "I hate the whole theme" comments are less so. Try to be a
bit specific...I'm not saying, pixel for pixel, but...why? is it the
colours, the perspective, or you just think that bluecurve is the best
and should not be changed.
Máirín Duffy wrote:
Since we've gotten onto the topic of the default icon theme for Fedora -
Well, above all, everyone here wants Fedora to have a slick,
great-looking desktop, right? That's the main goal of the Fedora Art
project. With Fedora Core 5 we've started to move in that direction
with a new logo (thanks to Matt Muñoz) and new theming elements
(thanks to Diana) and have received positive feedback. However, we are
still using Bluecurve as the default icon set, which has been around
for a few years now. Among the complaints about Bluecurve is that it's
a cartoony, and 'dated.' So it would be nice to have a fresh, slick
look on the icon front for Fedora.
Tango has been suggested as an alternative to Bluecurve, but nobody
has really picked this up to make it happen. (Remember, Fedora is a
community project, you vote with your time & effort.) As the front
page of the Tango Project webpage states, it is "A *suggested* default
native look [1, emphasis mine]." Diana, myself, and other Fedora users
and developers that we've talked to feel the Tango look is a bit too
close to Bluecurve to address the complaints we've heard about
Bluecurve. It feels more like a next-gen Bluecurve than something new.
We realize that the look of icons for an operating system can have
far-reaching effects. An example I like to use to illustrate this
point is the influence the look of Windows XP Icons  appear to have
had in the somewhat recent UPS logo redesign . One of the core
goals of Fedora in general is innovation - looking towards the future
. Can we do that visually - can we make an innovative and cultural
impact on the world with Fedora while using Tango? It doesn't seem
The main argument that we've been given as a reason for adopting Tango
is (to roughly paraphrase) - 'it won't work unless everyone uses it.'
The main goal of the Tango Project is: "to help create a consistent
graphical user interface experience for free and Open Source
software," presumably to make FOSS more usable. I'd like to draw a
parallel between this notion of 'all icons should be the same to be
usable' to Jakob's Nielsen's idea of usability - his website, which
may very well be the height of usability, but is far from pleasurable
or delightful to look at.  There is definitely some conflict
between visual consistency across desktop distributions and the
branding of each said distribution, but both are important. Agreeing
on a standard set of metaphors / objects to illustrate for icons for
each item in the Tango naming spec, for example, would go a long way
towards meeting Tango's quite noble goal without requiring Fedora to
sacrifice its brand its own desktop.
Looking towards the future of Fedora's visual design, Diana has put
together a sample mockup (20 icons) of a possible 'next gen' Fedora
icon theme. This is an experimental work-in-progress to explore future
possibilities - a suggestion for a default Fedora icon look. We'd like
to keep this an open discussion. Remember, the goal here is a
great-looking desktop. Some of us (Diana and I) think we could do
better than the Tango look. So here it is:
So, to be clear:
* Are we definitely staying with Bluecurve as the default icon theme
Yes, until there is a better alternative that helps us meet our goals.
* Are we moving to Tango? Or something else?
We are not moving to Tango right now. We'd like to move to something
new in the future.
* What icon set should Fedora Art contributors be working on if they
want to create new icons?
You can continue to work on Bluecurve icons, keeping in mind that we
are looking to eventually retire it as the default theme. You can also
help us out in coming up with a better alternative - we welcome any
feedback / proposed revisions to Diana's mockup, or you come up with
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