#1 Modernizing the CentOS logo
Opened a month ago by tigert. Modified 2 days ago

Based on the thread on the mailing list, I have opened an issue here to avoid posting large (graphics) attachments to the list, and to have a better medium for communicating design proposals.

Mailing list thread

The ideas presented on the initial mail came from a meeting we had when looking for a logo to represent CentOS Stream project. There is a greater need behind this, which is the growth of CentOS project - it is not just a Linux distribution but a project that contains special interest groups, the Stream and other things in addition to the distro. This should be reflected in the logo so that CentOS is kind of an umbrella that contains several activities within.


Metadata Update from @arrfab:
- Issue assigned to areguera

a month ago

@areguera so I thought about this a bit too, and moved this discussion here. Seems like there is some limit with image uploads, likely for spam protection, so I made separate replies, which actually helps with commenting as you can comment directly on each idea.

The discussion got my own thoughts moving as well, and here is some food for though as a reply to your mail (in quotes below)

Nice work Tuomas :)

Just to be clear and not claim undue credit: while we have been working as a group in this, two
designers in the RH brand team did the actual designs in this pdf. 

The one braking the CentOS symbol may create visual confusion about the
CentOS brand. I my humble opinion, the CentOS symbol must not be broken
in pieces. However I am very much agree it needs to evolve into
something more simple, able to be reproduced in different visual
manifestations, with less colors to meet present needs.

I thought about this too and I think you are right, I am also hesitant to break the logo since the whole point of the chaos symbol is then lost. I think we have the challenge to revise the logo and brand to make it more modern, but that also loses some of the current familiarity and recognition it has. 
I know the logo font is another thing that has quite a bit of recognition, but it also looks a bit outdated.

I thought about this and loaded the logo into Inkscape, and came up with this:

Screenshot_from_2019-11-08_14-57-45.png

I changed the name to all caps just to spark thoughts. I know CentOS is the "Community ENTerprise Operating System", but I would argue CentOS has gained a name over the years that also works well in bold, all caps style.

I also modernized the chaos symbol a bit, making the outer spikes a bit rounded, so it works better for stickers etc. Here is a closeup of the corner of it (it is not intended to be cut like this of course)

Screenshot_from_2019-11-08_15-00-11.png

Metadata Update from @tigert:
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)

a month ago

Metadata Update from @tigert:
- Issue status updated to: Open (was: Closed)

a month ago

Just to be clear and not claim undue credit: while we have been working as a group in this, two
designers in the RH brand team did the actual designs in this pdf.

Is there any chance these persons join us here? Btw, is there any change you Toumas and these persons join the CentOS Artwork SIG? A brief description about them, and commitments they want to achieve would be a nice addition.

I think we have the challenge to revise the logo and brand to make it more modern, but that also loses some of the current familiarity and recognition it has.

The transformation should not be seen as a lost of something we are now but an evolution of what we are into something more accurate to our present. The graphic design transformation of both CentOS typography and CentOS symbol should follow this principle (in case you all agree).

Imagine a process where we create a gradient of graphic design alternatives, from similar to different, using as reference the brand we have now. Then iterate inside of it until we get something that makes us feel: yes! that's it.

The community involvement is very important and a fact that must be present in this transformation process. I would like to see as much feedback as possible, and make everyone feel part of what we are doing. This is important because, otherwise, the result wouldn't be as respected and beloved as it could be.

The CentOS brand is the visual representation of the CentOS Project. It should transmit the core of its existence. All the motivations that drove its initial creation. From chaos, to nowadays.

I would propose to create two separate worklines/projects:

  1. The CentOS Symbol
  2. The CentOS Typography

These worklines attend the graphic design of these elements separately and they are combined from time to time to see how they look together. We would iterate through this process until get something.

I also modernized the chaos symbol a bit, making the outer spikes a bit rounded, so it works better for stickers etc. Here is a closeup of the corner of it (it is not intended to be cut like this of course).

I like the result. Arrows look wider and squares smaller. It looks compact and strong. However, when it is combined with the typography, the typography looks stronger than the symbol and makes me feel there is no balance between them. When we see the combination of symbol and typography they should be visually balanced to provide a uniform visual impact.

While I really like option 3, I have several concerns with it. One is that we'll run out of colors pretty quick, and that would then be confusing. The second is that the direction of the arrows might signify ... something? What does a downward pointing arrow signify on the Linux 8 logo? Seems somehow negative in some unspecified way. And, the third has been mentioned already - that breaking up the logo will make it unclear that it has anything to do with the original logo, when seen out of context.

So far as the logo goes, we're all very attached to it, and it's difficult to work with in things like embroidery. It doesn't scale small very well, and it's complicated. But, yes, we need to approach it very cautiously.

Thanks so much for this work!

I think option 3 should have all arrows pointing to top right really, pointing backwards and down makes it feel strange.

One possibility is a single-color evolvement of the current arrow symbol and color it differently for different things.

So, special interest groups could use one color, the Linux distro related projects another, third color for stuff for events, people & community (Dojos etc). We have 4 colors currently in the logo, so that would leave one more for something important I likely forgot when writing this :-)

Yes, that definitely addresses my concerns with option 3. The remaining one is, will people make the connection with The CentOS Project when they see the arrows? Which may be fine, since they'll probably always be used in context.

Can somebody delete the previous comment, I forgot to crop the pictures, sorry.
I like underline in idea 2 combined with somekind of logo from Idea 3, but though that maybe dominant colour (for certain branch/project) could emerge from current logo, something like this (I am not very good at drawing):
Symbol-proposal-1.png
Symbol-proposal-2.png
Symbol-proposal-3.png

@brokenkeyframe, noted that symbols over a color background have thicker lines than those over transparent background. Is that intentional?

well, sorry, it is the opposite what I meant :) ... symbols over transparent backgrounds look to have thicker lines than symbols over a plain color background.

Yes. it looks bit optically weird if all has same width. solid background compensates that, so without background thicker lines looks better. It's quite quick sketch, as someone said that want's to see rounded lines, and I loved an idea and thought will give a try to check how it looks. Also, suggested new colours look better on darker background, and green one on the light. Intention was to keep similarities, but make better readability of logo itself.

I mentioned the difference between lines because, besides the weird optical effect, it would be two different designs based on whether we use background or not. The symbol should be unique no matter where/how we use it. To avoid visual confusions. You can correct me, it is just what I've read about brands.

fair enough, but do we present here final designs or ideas?

Yes. This is the right channel to discuss design ideas. Final designs would be in the wiki, somewhere under https://wiki.centos.org/ArtWork/Brand/ space.

I thought so. I appreciate your input, and next sketch/idea will follow your suggestion symbol will be more developed.

Hm, I do like that monochrome centos symbol inside a colored circle, and the arrow symbol is constructed from rounded rectangles very beautifully! That is very nice, and also works well in embroidery and other kind of use - yet it has the familiarity with the current logo symbol.

I would argue though, that CentOS could be written as CENTOS or centos? All-caps (or all lowercase) CENTOS looks much cleaner and modern to my eye.

@brokenkeyframe also, I do like your new color palette thinking, but I think the teal-green is quite close to the blue, that could maybe be adjusted a bit?

But I do like the "solarized" idea a lot - a palette that equally well over either dark or light background.

Thank you for your contribution!

No objections to writing CENTOS rather than CentOS, but do keep the board in the loop before you go down that road very far, as they may have some strong feelings about that.

Two options - circle and rounded hexagon. The chaos element lines are little bit thiner and removed outlined version. Changed teal-green to be more like green. Added an option for "CENTOS" but I think CentOS is way much better, and personally myself, everywhere I use this name I write it as "CentOS" Colours are as an option for CentOS version, it can be Stream, or rolling release or "gnome" or "kde" desktops etc.
CentOS_Logo_V02-01.pngCentOS_Logo_V03-01.png

That color scheme is now better in terms of legibility over different backgrounds.

I like the circle for simplicity, since the "gons" are quite overloaded with all the Kubernetes heptagonal project logos, and hexagonal stickers.

What font is that by the way? Ideally we want to use an open source font, so that logo variants etc can be made without requiring any commercial fonts. (SIL open font license is a safe bet)

Hi @brokenkeyframe, great work!

The background color behind the symbol, would it be part of the symbol as brand or it is a contrasting test? Using the circle or any other figure behind the symbol seems to take force out of it.

For example, the following looks plain/clean/flexible/strong enough to be applied on different media with precision.

Screenshot_2019-11-28_0eb888119ec517acd2220b1a60014c9277cb0857ecb7960552522817980dff54-CentOS_Logo-01_png_PNG_Image_2481_....png

In the horizontal logo design, could you try to align the CentOS typography to symbol middle? It looks a bit low. Also, could you create variants of it with both original and suggested colors, including alternative texts like Stream, Linux, SIG, Docs, Dojo, etc.? Black would be the default color for both symbol and text when used in light backgrounds, and white when used on dark backgrounds.

About the typography, the one you chose looks modern and legible enough to me, can you name it. I also share the need of continue using CentOS. "C" in upper case, "ent" in lower case, and "OS" in upper case.

Thank you very much!

@areguera I get the point what you saying, but try to put outlines in the "task bar" and you won't be able see a thing just bunch of random pixels. On the other hand the shape - circle or hexagon will be more easier to identify even if you won't see the "chaos" element at all, brain will create it for you and even if it is not recognisable by eye, you will know what is there.

Same with current logo, it is recognisable, because there are 4 colours, that you clearly see even if element is bury or pixelated.

I can bring back colours to element, but it wont look "modern" as some of you stated previously. Good shout about fonts, will try to find open source alternatives.

P.S. I have few other ideas, will try to put them sometime today/tomorrow/next week.

Let's try all the variants. With and without background figures behind the symbol. Sizes to consider are 8x8, 16x16, 22x22, 24x24, 32x32, 48x48, 64x64, 96x96, 256x256, 512x512. Even unrecognised outlines may mean something. Using the figure behind takes space to chaos symbol making it even smaller. It would be very helpful to expose the variants to contrast the visual arguments, and so decide.

Google Fonts site is pretty useful for finding open source fonts, since they all are openly licensed. You can also type in your own text in the preview box, and then once you find something you like, you can just download the files as zip.

This is pretty nice by the way, to have a proper brainstorming session here with good ideas!

@areguera very small sizes are nowadays less important though, with even mobile devices having high dpi screens. But I agree that different sizes need to work.

I think the circle around the symbol would make the icon look better when scaled small, as the circle will always look reasonably nice in small size, even though the arrows symbol might turn out into a blurry mess.

@tigert , remember that in CentOS distribution the centos-logos package requires icons in these small sizes (see /usr/share/icons directory). For the web, favicon is in 16x16 in regular desktop browsers but it may also be 24x24, even 32x32 and resizes properly when used (in address bar, history, bookmarks, etc.) In case of mobile devices haven't test.

I am also very glad to have this discussion openly.

Sorry but I don't think outline version works. I think circle around works way better.
CentOS_Logo_V04-01.png

Yes, technically we need the small bitmaps, but I would argue the smallest sizes are not that widely used anymore (or, if they are, we should work on the user interface, because those would be tiny and just too hard to see on todays screens)

I came up with two ideas, not really something to use but I wanted to share them because we are designing together. Just food for thought maybe, I don't like the fact that this loses the chaos symbol too much. I was just playing with those two rounded rectangles on top of each other.

Screenshot_from_2019-11-28_23-58-06.png

@brokenkeyframe tried to replicate your design:

Screenshot_from_2019-11-29_08-39-59.png

Tried corners a bit less rounded and give more space between lines inside the symbol to see how it looks when reduced:

Screenshot_from_2019-11-29_08-33-50.png

Just for testing and foster more redesign ideas.

Thanks!

@tiger, @brokenkeyframe , a few more design variants using Exo 2 typography:

Screenshot_from_2019-11-30_11-56-21.png

What would you consider a good way to share the SVG files we are creating? I am tented to request the creation of a dedicate git repository named centos-brand to record changes in CentOS brand redesign.

love the 3rd one! but still not convinced with outlined versions. I think 2nd works better as it is easier to recognise.

Obviously it’s a matter of taste but I prefer circle/other shape background + symbol. It will work better for stickers, embroidery and so on. + background+logo sticker you could put it on any laptop and hide windows/apple logo underneath it. And personally I think this could be very cool.

Consider that they are two different things. One introduces a new design element/shape to the symbol and other uses the symbol as is on a background of any shape/color you want for final presentation. Stickers fall in the last case, where you can certainly have the symbol/logo on any shape you want but that shape is external to the symbol/logo and is not be a condition to the symbol itself when we propagate it.

True. But what is also true that it brings a lot of confusion. how big circle can be? what colour it will be? you can make a brand book for sure with these rules but it over complicates quite a bit. if you make circle and symbol together, add brand colour- that’s it. done. I really like ubuntu approach here - orange circle + symbol done. everywhere it’s the same proportions, same colour and treated as a logo, not a background + symbol with millions variations.

The usage of a circle depends much in the content it holds. In the case of ubuntu circle of friends it fits nice and complements the symbol purpose. However in our case, the eight corners of chaos symbol pointing out and showing expansion, a circle around them looks like a contention barrier to that expansion. I don't feel we should contain the expansion message using a circle, or any other figure as an integral part of our design. That's just my feeling.

The brandbook is the tool to express how we use the symbol in every visual manifestation. I don't feel it is easier because we have a circle in the logo. It also requires the same normalization we would do without it. Probably in a different way, but it is certainly present.

Screenshot_from_2019-11-30_14-25-09.png

The expansion of the project to SiG's, Stream, and being a platform for new things is important, and I think the expanding arrows symbol does reflect that.

On the other hand, a circle can also be dynamic and expansive, for example if someone dropped a rock into water and caused circular expanding waves.

That would actually be an interesting idea for a wallaper or some other design concept, concentric expanding waves.

What would you consider a good way to share the SVG files we are creating? I am tented to request the creation of a dedicate git repository named centos-brand to record changes in CentOS brand redesign.

I wonder if you can just attach files here? I am trying adding a SVG with the attach image button below the text field.
test.svg

Edit: That works - the file is attached and you can download it, even though it does not render in my Chrome browser at least. But a quick and dirty way that works.

On the other hand, a circle can also be dynamic and expansive, for example if someone dropped a rock into water and caused circular expanding waves.
That would actually be an interesting idea for a wallaper or some other design concept, concentric expanding waves.

@tigert , indeed. It is a great source of inspiration to start conceptualizing CentOS 9 artwork.

In Firefox over default light theme:

Screenshot_from_2019-12-01_14-48-22.png

In Firefox over a development dark theme (a good example of what @brokenkeyframe mentioned about using a static background color behind the symbol):

Screenshot_from_2019-12-01_14-49-35.png

I would change the favicon background from transparent to a plain color (the same Firefox uses in its light theme), so it looks transparent in light theme, and visible in dark themes. Variants of light theme different to that one we used as favicon background may not look transparent. Ideas?

It looks to be a weakness the fact of being forced to change the logo color based on the background we use in order to make it visible.

great designs. It’s not a weakness to change something to adopt something that works. but as I said earlier with circle/other shape background comes lots of hassle free options. Imagine your circle blue with white symbol, and it will work on both dark and light themes. Just to mention lots of places use circle for a profile pictures (see attachment). Indeed of using name and logo, you could use just a logo and make it more visible. Overall I get the point that of your direction to use symbol without background and that meaning of expansion, but either you have to make it solid itself and bring back colours, either put a background that comes together as a piece to have a “everywhere works” solution.
That said, I like your design, I think it’s years ahead of what it is now, and would love to see it in upcoming builds, but personally if I had to choose one, I would live to have it with a circle of colour and white symbol on it.
2292268E-C9A1-4D29-A1E2-F02B83EE696B.jpeg

Design concept for websites using the logo redesign on a dark background:

Screenshot_2019-12-01_CentOS_Navbar1.png

The website design concept is a project on its own: https://github.com/areguera/centos-style-websites

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