fedora-logo and fedora-themes discussions

Robyn Bergeron rbergero at redhat.com
Sat Apr 16 14:02:21 UTC 2011

On 04/15/2011 03:56 AM, Aleksandra Bookwar wrote:
> Hello, everyone,
> I would like to invite you to these two particular discussions:
> 1) gnome-shell extension that adds a Fedora logo
> http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/design-team/2011-April/004233.html
> 2) customization of themes and colors in gnome 3 desktop in Fedora 15
> http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/desktop/2011-April/007130.html
> I don't have problem with the concept per se, but i have a problem with
> the fact GNOME shell on my rather powerful laptop (Core 2 Duo T9300
> 2,5GHZ, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro NVS140m) is very slow. When the first
> preview versions came out it was OK but the newer versions are very
> slow. If it remains like this in the final release i will have to change
>   GNOME for something else or use the older gnome-panel. The new concept
> requires some time to get used to but after a while it feels quite
> natural. I don't like the default black theme but i recently stumbled
> upon this page -http://www.techdrivein.com/2010/09/top- ... -ever.html  <http://www.techdrivein.com/2010/09/top-6-gnome-shell-themes-ever.html>
>   which contains a collection of gnome-shell themes (before that i didn't
>   even know that there were themes for gnome-shell). Some of the themes
> there are very beautiful. So in my opinion the basic concept is very
> good but it needs some polishing - like improved responsiveness and
> better default theme and icon theme. I also hope that there is more to
> gnome than gnome-shell.
> I think that these topics are important for promoting Fedora 15 to
> end-users and Fedora Marketing Team should be involved.
Let me first start off by saying: I wish we had known sooner. While 
there was certainly discussion on the design-list about the impact of 
branding by modifying/replacing the wallpaper, and discussion of the 
fact that there would be no GNOME logo on the desktop, I don't think 
that everyone was *acutely* aware that there would be no room for *any* 
branding of *any* type on the desktop. I think more awareness of that 
would have greatly changed the outcome of the wallpaper discussion.

Also, I have no solution, and I'm just going to mostly rant here about 
branding. All views are obviously my own and not of my employer. :p

Branding is about exposure.  Yes, there is exposure when the browser 
page defaults to start.fp.o - assuming people don't change their start 
page, as many people do.  Impressions are made at start-up - and then 
quickly disappear after the computer boots. The wallpaper, while being 
part of our themed identity each release, does not have a Fedora logo - 
and people change their wallpaper.  The small icon, while admittedly 
incredibly small, is seen multiple times, over and over, every day, by 
the person using the desktop. And by others around them as well.  It is 
the singular thing that constantly, always identifies the desktop at a 
glance when fully booted up, as Fedora.

I suspect that *anyone* who works in a Branding role would say that to 
have no plainly, constantly visible connection to Fedora is a mistake.  
We have worked very hard to build that brand, and to associate the 
infinity logo with Fedora.  To not have a desktop easily identifiable as 
Fedora on sight is just brand dilution, IMO.

Let's talk about this metaphorically for a moment.

There are many pieces that make up Fedora.  Think of it as cooking 
something: We have lots of ingredients.  We put them all together, and 
after it bakes in the oven for about 6 months, out comes Fedora. Yum! 
(Sorry, bad joke, had to do it.) Sometimes the ingredients are 
substitutable - empathy and pidgin, for example. Occasionally the 
ingredients are modifiable - as GNOME has been in the past. And those 
modifications to that particular ingredient are what made Fedora taste 
like... Fedora.

GNOME 3 is an ingredient in Fedora - not the other way around.  I 
wouldn't expect that, if, for example, there was a GNOME 3 Remix of 
Fedora, that there would be any trace of Fedora branding anywhere.  
Fedora is the major ingredient in a Fedora Remix - but not the end 
product.  Sadly, and I think mistakenly, the GNOME ingredient is 
theoretically no longer modifiable.  I don't know that that prevents us 
from bringing in another ingredient to help us retain the Fedora flavor 
that we know and love.

Imagine if Dell, who has spent a fortune branding their product, was 
told by Intel that, rather than having a Dell background as part of the 
out-of-the-box experience, there was to be no trace of Dell branding 
anywhere, and instead ONLY Intel branding can be present. That's not 
going to happen. Why? Because the physical computer is the final 
product.  I don't expect that, if, someday, Fedora worked its way into 
being an option for a PC that one might walk into Best Buy or other 
large consumer electronics shop and purchase off the shelf, that the 
Fedora desktop wallpaper would be present.  It would be the desktop 
designed by the manufacturer.   Why? Because rather than being the Final 
Product, we would now be an ingredient.

The mobile phone food chain works much the same. Would Motorola, HTC, 
and Samsung give up the the ability to have their logo or name etched or 
stamped into the case of a phone running Android? No. Do they live with 
the fact they have to put the Verizon logo on the phone before it gets 
shipped to Verizon and put into a saleable package that goes to a 
consumer? Of course they do. Despite the fact that the logos are small. 
Because *every time* someone looks at their cell phone, they see the 
words Motorola and Verizon.  Motorola doesn't say, well, they see the 
Motorola logo every time they boot the cell phone for a few seconds, and 
that's good enough. Verizon doesn't assume that everyone will simply 
leave their mobile browser defaulting to the Verizon wireless start page.

Look around you, at all your gadgets, and products, and food in your 
fridge.  Everything is *immediately* identifiable as a brand, generally. 
Imagine going to a store and trying to pick between Coke and Pepsi, if 
both of the cans are labelled "Carbonated Water and High Fructose Corn 
Syrup."  Saying that we can see the logo at startup is equivalent to to 
saying, "Well, if you happen to watch someone open their fridge, you'll 
notice that the white can of Carbonated Water and High Fructose Corn 
Syrup came out of a red Coca-Cola box." That's obviously not the same as 
someone holding the signature Red Coke can, or a blue Pepsi can.  
Coca-Cola and Pepsi want their branding visible ALL THE TIME - that's 
not an accident.

And now we are essentially going to be Carbonated Water and High 
Fructose Corn Syrup.

There is no easy answer here. GNOME 3 has been intentionally designed, 
at least as much as I can read into what i've read on the design-list, 
to allow no trace of any branding of any type - other than the GNOME 3 
look and feel.  And basically, in a nutshell, it sucks for us. Branding 
at boot-up.  and branding in a browser that some people may or may not 
use, that directs people to a page that may or not be set to go to 
start.fp.o, that they immediately use to go to *some other location on 
the interwebz*, is NOT the same as (a) having a Fedora look-and-feel and 
(b) having a logo, even if miniscule, making a constant impression and 
makes the desktop immediately identifiable as Fedora, because the Fedora 
Logo has brand value.  (Much more than a desktop wallpaper that, while 
being a compromise, is still completely devoid of a Fedora logo.)  And 
it doesn't just suck for us - it also sucks for everyone who does a 
Fedora Remix that wants to change the look and feel as well and logos as 

Is trying to hack in a logo the right answer? Probably not. Is adding 
that logo into the corner going to really going to destroy the "user 
experience"? I can't say anything more than "probably not" to that 
either.  Can we brainstorm, at this point in the release cycle, about 
some way that is more permanent than a browser start page, to keep logo 
and brand impressions on people, and then implement it without impacting 
the schedule? Probably not. Is a wallpaper, which changes from release 
to release and has no identifiable logo and changeable by the user, in 
combination with a browser direct to a start page that people see for a 
few seconds, assuming they don't change it, enough to keep our brand in 
people's minds? I don't know. Does the loss of a piece of real estate 
that constantly shows our logo diminish the value of our branding? I 
think so.

Ideally I'd really like the GNOME folks to reconsider how their 
"ingredient" into other distros impacts the branding for those folks. 
But as far as I can tell from reading the design-list, it's not even 
something they're willing to consider or discuss. Which is a shame, 
because I would expect that the Debians and RHELs and openSUSEs of the 
world aren't thrilled about the idea of giving up their 
heavily-invested-in, albeit it small, but IDENTIFIABLE, constantly 
visible, constantly brand-reinforcing logos on the desktop either.

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