A few days ago, somebody wrote on the LibreOffice marketing list:
"In any case, when you're designing the new logo graphics, can you
please make them colorful and pretty? The OpenOffice logo was a bit corporate, conservative and... dowdy... :-)"
I would like to add some thoughts here. And more specifically: What helps to turn an image into a good logo?
Let's start with the hypothesis, that "enhancing a clean and simple design is much easier than simplifying a complex visual design". Why is that important? Let's look at some questions that help to decide if something is a well designed logo ...
Can the logo be easily recognized?
If used in context, a logo needs to be recognized really quickly. One thing you can do is to provide a very clear shape that doesn't need much additional "visual explanation". For example, the STOP sign being octagonal and red can be easily recognized with a glimpse (to be honest, we are trained to recognize it, but it is much easier since the shape is very simple).
By the way, one of the next blog posts will discuss the Document Foundation logo in more detail.
Can the logo be used on different backgrounds?
A versatile logo can be used on different backgrounds - background colors. Well you might say, why not simple adapt the colors? Sometimes you have to adapt the colors, but if you do that, then the impact of the logo is reduced, too.
Is it possible to scale down the logo without much loss?
Logos used in different ways - within the product, on conferences, on websites, ... so the logo design itself has to be very flexible. For example, it should both work well when used on a gigantic banner and when used in the installer. Here is some example for the real Windows Installer (103 x 58 pixels) ...
the font has to be very clear. If one decides to use "joyful" fonts, then you will run into serious trouble when scaling :-)
Does it look good when displayed in one color only?
We may assume that everybody owns a color display - so displaying color is neither a huge problem on websites nor in the product (except: people with color blindness).
But, if you start to pay for T-Shirts or for large scale printings, then "monochrome" logos are a huge advantage. Or maybe you want to use flock-finishing ..
Does the logo allow to be used in different contexts?
As already said, a logo is used in different places ... also in the software itself. So a question should be whether it distracts when people do "real work" (e.g. when it is displayed in the StartCenter).
Please not that these examples do not (yet) consider any special guidelines. I just wanted to show what is possible with the current LibreOffice logo ... Please decide for yourself if the questions above can be easily answered.
What to wear? Timeless and simple ...
Or a more elegant alternative ...
Where to go for the developers? I mimicked the style of an old computer terminal ...
Carry on! Some bags, e.g. for the next trade fair.
Business card as un-usual. Some distinctive shape for a business card ... people will remember, I'm sure.
More Color, More Art
Having a very clear logo design, it is rather easy to derive a set of more creative graphics ... you might remember the 10th community anniversary graphic. So my proposal is to first get the basic tool right, and then using them with a lot of creativity. Go on!
By the way, Bernhard talked about product branding at the OOoCon some years ago - have a look: Visual Identity of OpenOffice.org Now and in Future - Logos, Icons and other branding bugs in OOo2 and OOo3 (OOoCon 2006)
And now some additional ideas ...