[Design-team] Sharing brand with upstream [Was: Building Brand Together]

Kevin Kofler kevin.kofler at chello.at
Mon Jun 22 06:22:42 UTC 2009

Máirín Duffy wrote:
> The design team has enough time pressures on it wrt to theme as is. This
> puts an additional, difficult burden on us to get the theme out even
> sooner.

You need to do that anyway. The systematic late tagging of the entire
artwork which happened the last few releases is not acceptable. It also
puts a lot of pressure on us KDE maintainers because we get to come up with
KDE implementations of your theme concept in a very short timeframe because
we don't even have any artwork to work with at the point where the artwork
is supposed to be final (final devel freeze). A few of us (primarily
jreznik and me) are willing to work on KDE artwork, but we're no artists,
we're developers, we really need actual artists coming up with concepts in
time for us to actually do the implementation work.

I'm sorry, but the design team will have to work with the same freezes as
all the other teams, the current situation is not tenable.

This issue has been the subject of a lot of frustration on our (KDE SIG)

So, while I'm not convinced this idea of working with KDE upstream on
artwork is going to really work out (count me as one of the remaining
scepticists), the scheduling issue remains there in any case.

> If the Fedora KDE spin would like to branch off and take its own
> approach to the artwork and not use the design team's artwork, then that
> is a different conversation.

Of course there's also the possible option to work ONLY with upstream KDE's
designers and ignoring Fedora's theme entirely. However, this will not lead
to a consistent Fedora experience. :-( And at that point I guess we could
just ship upstream's original artwork and not ask for their help at all.
The idea of upstream's plan is to design something which is a blend of
upstream and downstream design elements. How well that'll work out is
something we have yet to see (and that's one of the reasons for my

> Besides this, there are some fundamental issues with the proposal:
> - Are these themes going to match oxygen AND tango?

These themes will be for KDE only (Plasma wallpaper, KSplash, KDM, possibly
also a Plasma theme, the main focus from upstream right now in this trial
phase is on wallpapers, which would be used both on the Plasma desktop and
as part of the KSplash and KDM themes), there are no plans for KDE to use
Tango and I think upstream would not be happy if we change the default KDE
icon theme away from Oxygen. The whole reason they're doing this artwork
plan is that they're unhappy about distros changing too much of the artwork
(they even complain about distros changing the menu button from the KDE
logo to their logo as we're doing, if we change the whole icon theme,
they'll most likely just stop working with us entirely).

> - How is the production of these themes going to line up with X distro's
> release cycles? Who gets to be the one with the stale theme?

The themes will be designed for each distro. That said, the theme will
certainly be stale in that it will be based on e.g. KDE 4.3 artwork for
F12, but F12 updates will most likely have KDE 4.4 and 4.5. (They certainly
won't be willing to work on 3 themes for every Fedora resp. KDE release to
cover all the combinations.) The idea is to blend the latest upstream KDE
artwork with the artwork for the upcoming distro release.

> - How do you produce a set of artwork that doesn't clash with X distro's
> individual branding styles??

I have no idea how upstream plans to do that. That's why I'm sceptical. ;-)

> - What kind of SLA does the KDE artist team assure us with this service?

Most likely none, they're just volunteers just like you.

> - How much say does the Fedora design team get in the wallpaper design?

That's also something which remains to be seen, though it certainly also
depends on how willing you are to talk with the upstream designers about
things. If you just send us your designs and we forward them to upstream
with no direct communication between the artwork designers, then of course
upstream will do whatever they want with your design. ;-) But I don't know
how much influence you can have on the design if you're willing to discuss
things with upstream. The idea is new, so there are no returns yet.

        Kevin Kofler

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