Ubuntu Friendly Logo 5

Paul Sladen suggested that I use a different variant for friendly, an option I didn’t think of because my unexpectedly not up-to-date font (still on 10.10) file didn’t contain a light variant.

I worry that the spirographs from the previous set might lead to trouble in reproduction. The exact cutting that would be required …

The dot pattern in the left sticker repeats the relative size and distance of the 3 heads of the Circle of Friends.

The right sticker picks up geometry from the logo draft.

The last image shows the construction to determine the sticker size and logo placement. Years ago, during DTP training, I found that I would often place elements in a layout close to within certain relations. The constructive approach can save you a lot of fiddling, but also lead to solutions you wouldn’t have found otherwise. It’s easy to get tangled up, though πŸ˜‰


You should avoid the term intuitive when discussing user interfaces.

In a general sense, intuition is defined as knowledge or belief obtained neither by reason nor by perception, instinctive knowledge or belief or similar.

There’s hardly anything in user interfaces that you don’t have to learn. You just might have learned it long ago in a different context. Humans even have to learn to walk and talk. Some say the nipple would be the only “intuitive” interface. I’ve been told that not even breast feeding just works on first try …

If you call something that has to be learned intuitive, you render that word useless, as it now also refers to what it used to exclude. Should you just want to express easy to learn or works as expected, just do so directly. Don’t be needlessly ambiguous.

To be precise: Lacking a mind, software cannot intuit, not be intuitive, it could be intuitable (support the user’s intuition) at best.

What makes an interface seem “intuitive” is actually familiarity. It might be useful to think of familiarity coming from 3 sources:

  • Physical, real world experience that can be leveraged with metaphors and pseudo-physical interface elements (or perhaps custom interface hardware).
  • Experience with existing software.
  • Concepts/thought-models from specific fields.

Jef Raskin wrote a great Article: Intuitive Equals Familiar. Bruce Tognazzini says similar things. Also very enlightening: What Makes a Design Seem ‘Intuitive’?.

Ubuntu Friendly Logo 4

After some reflection, I think the seal approach of the previous set (4 A, B, C) is just clumsy, in an official person cuts ribbon with large golden scissors way. πŸ˜‰

The gears are overly technical and the CoF in a box creates a too strong impression, it’s brutal in being a primitive other than the circle.

On to the next set. Please click the image to make sure you’re viewing it at full scale:

I propose to use 4 left for stickers. The spirograph in the background is inspired by the patterns found on some certificates and paper money. It builds a supporting net, fits tightly and picks up on circular geometry as found in the CoF. The left version does not match the 3 circle segment symmetry, but I prefer it, as it has a more open, floral character. It might require some tweaking for good printed results.

There’s no hint regarding hardware, as the placement of stickers will provide context.

5 Shows a way to pick up that pattern for the team logo. Of course this is not a robust solution, as the stroke width has to be scaled to not change the character. It seems advisable to use 1 or 2, instead.

In the context of my previous posts, I would hope it’s clear, but to be sure: 1 includes an element that is meant to be a combination of an abstract smile and a check mark. 2 is the UF ligature constructed out of a circle.

Ubuntu Friendly Logo 3

Part of a project is questioning the whole thing. Meno argued that we should just use the known Circle of Friends logo. In my own words: to further establish the CoF, to not weaken the visual identity by dividing effort.

True, and thanks for that comment. I had those thoughts, too. But this is not only about external, but also about internal identification. Between using something else or using the CoF, there’s room for a combination. As much as I like reduction, just ubuntu friendly and the CoF might end up a little lonely.

Like before with the sketches, I left some stuff in I would have deleted in another setting. Bad vector graphics have non of the charm even bad sketches can have, but this way, you get a good idea of the things I tried (minus all the tweaking and shuffling around).

Now I’m considering to play with GuillochΓ©/Spirograph patterns πŸ™‚

Ubuntu Friendly Logo 2

A client would get to see only selected few of these, if I present sketches at all. For exposing my process, I left everything in, including train wrecks πŸ™‚

Every single sketch is both a first test and a potential springboard to more ideas. It’s a mix of putting down what I have in mind and creation happening right at the moment the pen hits paper.

It’s a good idea to keep logos simple, regarding the number of elements and their shapes, as they should be immediately recognizable. It also helps in making them robust for reproduction at various sizes and across media. It can open the door for variations and playful application.

But it also increases the risk of clashes with some of the gazillion logos out there. In this case, we obviously have to stay clear of too much likeness with the Nike swoosh, that Pepsi smiling ball thing and perhaps Tui. It’s difficult to search for similar logos, but not so much if it’s about an abbreviation like UF.

Time for reflection, followed by either a few more sketches or switching to vector graphics (Inkscape).

Ubuntu Friendly Logo 1

I’ve been asked if I would like to take care of a logo for Ubuntu Friendly. There’s even a bug report, where I assigned myself πŸ™‚

The first step is gathering the requirements and what the project is about.

There’s a desire for a logo that includes the name, but also an icon that will work on a sticker. The sticker will contain Ubuntu Friendly as sole text, as there’s doubt including the Ubuntu version for each release will be feasible. There’s no decision regarding doing ratings, yet.

Next up is brainstorming. For small projects, that often happens in my mind alone, but in cases ideas don’t flow that easily, taking notes on paper helps to focus and keep going. A simple list of terms may suffice, but to illustrate my thoughts, I created a mindmap.

Pen on paper, but tweaked and colored in GIMP.

Next up: sketches.