As you probably already know, the English version of Getting Started with Ubuntu 10.04 has been released just hours ago. Last I heard was 11257 downloads after 12 hours 🙂
With the last set of design options I presented here, there were several people in favor of the 2nd version, a design with dots. But what was not entirely clear to us after reading Mark’s explanation of the new visual identity of Ubuntu, has been explained by him via IRC: the dot patterns are meant to denote an orientation towards technical people. So we went with the Wave-of-Friends design, but not without a few further tweaks.
All the graphical parts came to be in Inkscape anyway, and it allows to scale text fluidly. Otherwise Scribus could have been an option. A negative outcome is that the text on the title page has to be converted to vectors, as Inkscape can’t embed fonts, currently. Should hardly be an issue regarding file size, but this means no selectable text.
I created 3 templates in English, for DIN A4, Letter and A4 with right-to-left text. The joy-to-work-with Kevin Godby wrote a script to generate SVGs for all the translations via string-replacement. Due to the carefully balanced layout and the wildly varying length of the text in various languages, each version has to be tweaked manually, still.
You can have a look at the progress of translation on Launchpad. Click View all languages on the right side.
English template, DIN A4:
English template, Letter:
Hebrew (note the right-to-left layout):
Vertically, the layout is based on the golden ratio. You can see the major and minor parts as grey bars on the following images. Horizontaly, elements are lined up with the dots or gaps of the Wave-of-Friends pattern where sensible. Layout schemes for DIN A4 and Letter:
Finally, there’s a wrap-around cover for the Lulu edition (print-on-demand):
The space between inner and outer frame is the bleed area, used to avoid white edges if there’s a shift due to tolerances in printing. The frames and dotted lines marking the spine area are of course not present on the real thing.
The new Ubuntu visual identity assets have been released yesterday, after the initial announcement early in March. That was at least one day too late to have a chance to take them into account. Initially, the Cirlce-of-Friends kept the same geometry as before, but now the bodies appear to be thinner. We also use a different orange than specified now. The assets had been kept back, to only publish them in combination with the guidelines. Well, in this case the effect of that was purely counter-productive 😉