Yep, I am now also part of those who complain about the choice done (yet, not about the process of decision).
So, finally, the Mageia logo has been decided by the major participants in the construction of Mageia. And it seems it has been the one I hoped would not be elected, but I felt it would still be because it just fits perfectly the rules. But anyway, it has been decided and I accept this choice, I am making it clear that I will use and contribute to Mageia in due time. This, is the elected logo.
Designed by Olivier Faurax, this logo has interesting advantages : it is very adaptable and is extremely simple (this last point is also it’s main flaw. I’ll discuss about it later).This simplicity makes it very easy to select various color schemes for different uses.
These two images show very clearly that there are a wide variety of color schemes available for this logo, with a maximum choice of three color variation. This is good because it makes rework very easy and it means it is very adaptable, depending on the use we want to do of it. The logo is also very well explained and well presented. The colors can be changed, tempered, adapted freely without making a radical change to the logo’s design : it stays the same.
This image is self-explanatory. It shows that the so-called “cauldron” can fit every space and can even be very easily customized to fit community patriotism. It shows wonderful compliance with the art guide rules.
And honestly, many other works are possible. The following is quite nice actually :
The logo is so simple that there are a wide possibilities of improving it. Yet, the retained logo is the one chosen as is, without any modification.
So this is where I come to the part I really dislike about the logo : it is far too simple. The issue stands for me very clearly. The font is fine, but what does this really mean for anyone?
These are the words that came to me when I saw this logo for the first time, and that still come to me when I see it again : a pot, a sort of cauldron, with bubbles coming out of it. It may be a reference to wizardry or to witchcraft, but I fail to see any link here through the extremely standard/abstract aspect of the logo.
I have asked the opinion of several people I work with, and their comments were almost the same : “nice, but too simple”. And this is my opinion as well. By too simple, I personally mean that there is no meaning of clear significance that come from this “pot”. Aside of the idea of a cauldron, that only someone who already knew well the Mandrake/Mandriva spirit can see, there is nothing in practice that come out from it.
Well, nothing is perfect anyway. The logo has been designed with more than one idea in mind. There has been some time spent on it, whatever can be said on the logo. Here are the meanings that are supposed to come out from the logo, as described by Olivier Faurax himself :
So the meaning is there! It is there, and there is just not only one meaning that come out from this logo : there is a whole concept that I really do love!
…but who in anywhere from earth is able to see all the “dynamic, international and open nature” in this pot logo, seriously? The idea of nest is great as well, but here as well, very few people are able to imagine the true meanings of this logo. Even me, who took the time to look closely at this logo, hardly saw most of them. I only imagined the five bubbles boiling from a cauldron, and the five continents contributors come from, about the five bubbles coming out of it.
I believe a logo representing a project or a product is not supposed to be some kind of abstract art, but a logo that shows no more than one or two clear ideas in an attractive way. Myself, I hardly see the “cauldron” as a button for my Applications menu in KDE, Gnome or Xfce. Could do a nice Plymouth boot theme but not more. I don’t even have a single idea of what background and window manager theme can be done in link with such a minimalistic logo.
It is not in accordance with the idea that have made the logos of other popular operating systems :
This logo root has it’s roots in a time where Graphical User Interfaces were starting to show up and make computer much more easier to use for newcomers. This whole GUI idea was symbolized by a window. Working in what was seen as windows seemed to be more simple and user-friendly than using command line utilities. These simple ideas are shown clearly at all stages for the Microsoft Windows operating system and speak immediately to the one who looks at it.
The Apple logo, present on all Apple products, does not have great meaning usually. It can have many different interpretation, especially depending on the time when each logos were used. Initially, it comes from the apple getting Isaac Newton to find out about gravity. It can refer to logic or things that work the right way. But nowadays, the Apple logo is used by design and is intimately part of the identity of all Apple products by design.
This is the logo of the most popular Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu GNU/Linux. The name and the logo have been very carefully chosen to fit the supposed spirit of the project : the meaning of Ubuntu that has itself several meanings inside, relevant for a reliable and helpful community work, and a logo, with warm colors remembering Africa and as well three people taking hands together in a circle, also expressing clearly a sort of unity. This is indeed both clear and very attractive, honestly.
The Fedora project’s logo is more close to Mageia’s one now actually. It seems abstract and you do not necessarily see the meaning in it. To be entirely honest, I never saw the inner meaning of this artwork. I just felt it attractive and good looking, but nothing really more. What is really interesting is to see at how this logo has been designed here and there. So, like the logo designed by Olivier Faurax, you do not see at all what this logo may mean, but it is still attractive and does accomplish well it’s role of giving an identity. Parts of the logo have been reused independently for other specific artworks.
But there are also well known successful products that have much more meaning less logos, that are still appreciated, adopted, and participate in giving an identity to their related projects.
These logos do not have a deep meaning at all. At most, there can be a mascot behind it (such as Beastie for FreeBSD or Puffy for OpenBSD) to enhance the personality and/or identity of a logo. But furthermore, these logos may have been adopted or not mostly for their appearance and the effect they create on the one who sees it. I do not affectionate them particularly. I think the Red Hat logo is stylish and offers a clear and distinguished identity. The cameleon is nice as well, and can make adaptation for artworks easy. For the rest, well, nothing sensational, but nothing repealing as well.
This raises a fact : no need to spend millions on a logo, no need to take years as well and to do deep studies to find one. However, there should be a certain reflection about it, and this does take some little time. I do not know what was the time spent for the design and selection of the Mageia logo.
Now, my question is, what to you see in this logo, by itself, after thinking of the exposed logos? Do you find any clear meaning and a true identity than can come out for someone who does not know Mageia? Or, if the meaning is not that important as it is possible, can this logo still be attractive enough to create effectively an identity, or could it push people to look somewhere else?
I have my doubts, essentially because of it’s extreme simplicity, lack of detail and clearer representation of what it is. I am not sure it represents the core values and attributes of Mageia optimally and aesthetically. At least, this is my own personal opinion and from my own point of view. This may differ depending on the person.
However, I have nothing to say about the process of decision for the logo. I am completely confident in the board that is in charge of Mageia.
I could have posted a comment on the orange and red sets of retained logos. I wanted, but did not have the time up until this day-off I took arbitrarily.
I could have attempted to do a logo on my own to offer better than this one, or I could improve it. But I do not know how to use the Gimp, and I do not have the time. I just cannot fail my Unix system, C and MySQL modules only to learn how to use Gimp for this.
However, I do explain myself on my opinion about the decided logo. And even though I personally accept it, while I still do not like it much, this not might be the case for everyone. I cannot see this logo represent well our project on Distrowatch or on LinuxFR.org, I just do not feel it at all. I believe this is extremely subjective, but as I have explained, there may be some objective reasons for not taking the current cauldron logo. This is why I strongly advise either to rework the current logo to fit more conditions or adoption by more people or accept to retain a second round, keeping less logos than last time, and give a chance to their creators to explain, rework and show various kinds of adaptation of their logos, for them to present them at their best like Olivier Faurax wonderfully did for his logo, in a very professional way. He was the only one to do this, this may have played a role in the adoption of the logo… or not.
If I had to choose a logo, I would rather have taken a logo that has really been designed to carry a clear single meaning and identity. I would have chosen the compas logo. Despite it’s fantasy font, it seems to me the most appropriate and yet unique logo designed for Mageia, taking out the one with the star.
I wrote and completed this article to offer a more constructive way of thinking about our new logo. Perhaps I, with many other people, will get used to it, but perhaps not. I have no idea yet. What I want to make sure is this will not harm our project even before being really born by thinking about it more deeply.
Anyway, please take care of yourselves, good job to Olivier for his work despite my criticisms,
and last but not least, long live Mageia…
NB 1 : All the images inserted in this article either come from Flickr and are released according to the license chosen by their author, or come from the Wikipedia articles related to the corresponding product.
NB 2 : I have attempted to explain my opinion, with all the respect I must have to the one who spent hours designing it. But if you feel something is unclear, unjustified or if I missed something, I am entirely opened to discussing and improving this article in my (restricted) free time.
NB 3 : I have edited this article, fixing some typing mistakes but also completing with other types of logos, hoping to offer more details to think of.