[Mageia-dev] Art, Logo and Branding

Graham Lauder yorick_ at openoffice.org
Thu Sep 23 15:00:22 CEST 2010

The artguide and logo guidelines are seriously incomplete and need a lot of 
work.  Free software projects have a history of rushing into branding that 
they will be stuck with for a very long time, from logo to colour scheme to 
pallett.  If it's not thought through and given the consideration it needs, it 
can turn into a millstone around the projects neck or a chaotic round of ever 
changing looks that confuses the market.

The project needs to get it's branding process it's organised.  Until then 
everything should be fluid, even the name should be seen as a "Working Title".  

So therefore:

We need to identify our vision, 
Identify the way we want the world to see us. 
We need to identify our target market 
and then come up with a Brand to suit that market.

The brand does not have to be out there until the announcement of the first 
The brand that is created now, will shackle the Marketing team for all time.  
The marketing team will only hang around if the brand is good.  Hackers need 
the tools to do their job, if the IDE they are forced to use when making code 
is a pile of shit then they'll go elsewhere.  It's the same with marketers, 
give them a good brand and they'll come in droves to be part of it.    

Ubuntu's strength was in that initial marketing, targeted at 18 to 35 age 
group with warm a comforting and attractive pallett (Browns Reds and Yellows) 
and a slightly zany way of doing things (Warty Warthog and so on)  They 
identified a market of young people of  above average intelligence who were 
not satisfied with the cold clinical professional brand of principal market 

This group had several advantageous facets to them.
1) They were leaders and early adopters of new technology
2) They were rebellious to a degree
3) They had a very positive view of themselves
4) They felt that they deserved to be noticed and that the world should do 
stuff for them.

So Ubuntu's branding is aimed directly at that market and very successfully.

The problem that many projects suffer from is that they come up with a 
branding that feels good to their own community, while ignoring the market.  
And make no bones about it, much of the reason that Ubuntu gets lots of 
developers is because of it's wide user base.  That makes it sexy, the 
opportunity to be famous:  "I am part of that.."  

Now there is a good argument to be made for going after the same market for 
all of the above reasons.

We can learn some lessons from the way Ubuntu did things.

They leveraged their location, used a local language and traditions to give 
them a name and a story:  Ubuntu = Humanity to Humans and a logo that reflects 
and enhances that story.

For me, for this project, I think it's untapped branding strength is in it's 
Latin South American Heritage. Connectiva.  

Computers are about connecting with others and when the world thinks about 
South America and connecting they think Dance, .. Tango.  If it was my project 
in these circumstances I'd be calling it Tango-Linux. The name even 
immediately evokes the branding colours and the pallet, Bold Blacks, Fiery 
Reds  and silvers, the colours of passion.  Tango evokes passion, rebellion 
but at the same time precision and teamwork.

Unfortunately there is already a Tango Linux, not to mention the Tango Icon 
project, but you get the idea.

To conclude: my point is that there needs to be much more consideration given 
to the branding elements at this point before we start voting on logos and the 
like and I would like to see everything up for discussion, name included, we 
are brand new, the world is watching, this is our unique opportunity we need 
to stamp our mark boldly but with serious consideration of our goals.

Of course the communities desire maybe just to stay as a small minor player in 
the desktop universe, but if that's the case this is not the Mandrake I knew 
back at 8.0 when It was on every other computer magazine cover CD, and it was 
going after the market in a big way, not worrying about the Ubuntus and 
Redhats but out to take down the Redmond machine.  Personally I think that 
spirit is still there.  

Graham Lauder,
OpenOffice.org MarCon (Marketing Contact) NZ

OpenOffice.org Migration and training Consultant.

INGOTs Assessor Trainer
(International Grades in Open Technologies)

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