New Ardour Logo

Ardour is an application for recording, editing and mixing music. It is licensed under the terms of the GPL 2.

The upcoming 3.0 release seemed like a good opportunity to take another look at the logo I designed in 2006. A selection of drafts from back then, ending with the final design:

I had to ask myself: Is this logo (still) appropriate for Ardour?

The upcoming 3.0 release will be a digital audio and MIDI production application, available for Linux and Mac OS X. It is designed for frequent and prolonged use, being able to deal with huge amounts of material, complex signal pathways, precise and intense editing. Reliability, correctness and precision are of utmost importance.

The logo should take a matching stance, be sharp and have a strong presence. I think the old version does a fine job in this regard. It also happens to be well established and liked by the community (of course not by everyone). Back then I decided to use a free-form wave shape, less stylized, more realistic. Now I think a shape with even subdivisions will make the logo appear more precise.

I worked my way through variations of the curves that describe top and bottom of the wave, the number of teeth, their shape, relative height of the type and its consequences on letter spacing:

PDF of above image, in case you’d like to take a closer look.


Application icons, first column are the old ones. I reduced the number of teeth for the smaller versions, keeping them at least 1 pixel wide.

The new logo is already in use on the new website that went online about a week ago. I helped a bit with color selection, made a few suggestion and provided 3 icons:

Unity Bitesize Bugs

Bitesize bugs are tagged by triagers as small and easy-to-fix bugs for Unity. They offer a good way to start getting familiar with the code and to gain insight on how to work with the DX team.

Jorge asked me for a web button design. I created 2 drafts, he liked both, so here they are, finalised:

The outer shape is inspired by the Unity launcher icons. Often I have to analyse and sketch for a while, until something clicks, but in this case, I went with pretty much the first idea. Obvious, but fun, I hope 🙂

Spreadubuntu Header 2

Still on the quest for a good Translate icon. Thanks for the feedback on the previous set. I want to avoid glyphs or anything else that would seem like it refers to a specific language, country or region.

Also added an option for Get/Share, based on the logo (#1 is identical to those in the header mockup).

Sources can be found on Launchpad.

Spreadubuntu Header

Translate (Materials) is hard to translate into an icon …
Part of the header mockup for context:

Quickshot Icon and Logo

Quickshot’s goal is to streamline the process of taking a series of screenshots with specific setups and in varying languages for documentation purposes. It’s a spin-off of the Ubuntu Manual project and currently being rewritten to better meat the needs of other projects.

I first created an icon. Combining a camera liked used for generic screenshot tools with any other parts proved to be problematic in composition and recognizability. So I went with a more abstract approach, with a one out of a series concept to represent what Quickshot is about:

While an icon could make for an acceptable symbol for a logo, I felt this isn’t the case here. The contrast and coloring of the dark version is inspired by a camera flash. The bright version is for in-application use, where the other would feel too heavy.

Ubuntu Manual Icons

Getting Started with Ubuntu 10.04 needs icons to mark Warning and Advanced notes in the document.

First row Warning, based on the icon in the Humanity set, rest Advanced. dangerous bend approach inspired by Knuth (thanks Kevin Godby).

Ubuntu Manual Title Page

I worked with the Ubuntu Manual Team to refine the mission statement, define the audience, tone/message, to have a solid, documented and shared base for the design of not only the title page.

Much of that has its roots in a single IRC meeting. It’s documented in the wiki (link to the latest revision at the time of writing).


The mission is to create and deploy a document that is suitable as first point of reference regarding the use of Ubuntu by beginner-level users.

The main target audience are pragmatic novice computer users. They want to get things done, they don’t see using the computer as an end in itself. We expect a peak of potential users in the range between 30 and 60 years of age.

The tone should be friendly, respectful and serious. From everyday people for everyday people. There should be an aura of competence and being goal driven. The message regarding Ubuntu shall be that it is solid, secure, trustworthy, capable, easy to use, empowering, about community (altruistic and pragmatic aspects), about FLOSS and not a clone of another system.

This all started before the announcement of the new Ubuntu identity design. The old logo-type encouraged me to me go for a slight handmade/organic touch. The community side of the new identity seems less suitable to hit the desired tone than the commercial side in my eyes, but we should not signify involvement of Canonical where this is very much a community project (see Mark Shuttleworth’s post about this dualism). So there’s one variation using lots of Aubergine, but its use would be problematic.

The following thumbnails link to PDFs, so you can judge the variations in their full scalable glory:

SVG source

In any case, some last tweaks will be required, including adjusting the margins based on the internal layout and using the right orange, once there’s an official and final definition.

Many thanks to David Nel for his idea to use icons and a mouse pointer and to Vish for helping with the icons.