Montag, 25. Oktober 2010

LibreOffice Presentation Template ... First Steps

LibreOffice Presentation Template

Besides some basic marketing material, people already asked several times for a LibreOffice Presentation Template. This has even been a topic in the today's marketing conference call or the last steering committee meeting. After the latter, I started to create something ...

It seemed to me that some "snappiness" is missing. Presentations are different from other marketing material, so I started to refine the logo a bit ... it is meant to be a "contemporary logo". Think of it like a seasonal logo that might be tweaked more often according to the "spirit of the time".

For the presentation template, I drafted the first designs in Inkscape and started to create an Impress template from scratch ... thanks to Italo's material I do have some clue what to expect. As a first step, I propose to come up with the following Master Pages:
  • Start Slide
  • Default Slide (large fonts, maybe smaller fonts)
  • Sub-Header Slides (in the different accent colors)
  • "TDF / LibO Advertising Slide" (half of the slide is used for some logos)
  • Closing Slide
Anything missing? Please tell me! (hint: Marketing List *g*)

Until then, you might have a look at the current design ideas ...

Default Slide (large font)

Sub-Header Slides (LibreGreen, LibreBlue)

The remaining master pages haven't been created yet. I hope that I'll be able to publish a more complete set tomorrow, so that you can have a look at it and propose changes. There may be many tiny issues ... creating good templates is sometimes like creating a rather complex piece of software. Finally, it should just work.


Besides the presentation template stuff, we already have a proposal to include the color yellow in our branding palette ... some people requested it to make it complete. You may have a look at the marketing ideas page (by the way, there are also other greatly improved color proposals ... e.g. by Ivan).

Questions and Missing Answers

Finally, is everybody aware of that? :-)


Montag, 18. Oktober 2010

1001 Document Icons


The Document Foundation. Well, it seems about documents and their creation ... but how to make that visible? How to come up with both a rather unique symbol and something very familiar?

We've seen so many icons on the different operating systems - most of them are based on a common metaphor: a sheet of paper with a folded edge (a so called "dog-ear").


You already know that our document symbol is different. We thought: Why not unfold the edge? Make it an unique triangle!

Of course, we had a lot more thoughts ...

First, the triangle is shaped like an arrow. It is directed to the upper right and therefore indicates positive progress. Next, the triangle isn't enclosed - it is somewhat open, or even a bit libre.

Additionally, we do not only want to create paper based documents, we are already able to work with many kinds of documents of the digital age. So we somehow fixed the old metaphor and made it compatible with the future :-)

As already said, it is also a very distinctive symbol in comparison with the usual "document icons". Distinctiveness means being unique and providing a good recognizability.

Finally, the shape and the simple layout makes it easy to work with. Have a look at my last blog post that deals with some qualities of good logos.

Well, as always (in life) you may agree or disagree ...

Key Visual

The triangle is also a great "key visual". Being straight and clean, it can be re-used to visualize the intended message. Examples?

Let's have a look at the LibreOffice artwork. More specifically, let's have a look at the splash screen ...

The triangles form a pattern in two of the corners. You may notice that the triangle of document symbol itself is aligned with the pattern and that all the triangles point towards the same direction.

Completely different is the "10th community anniversary" graphic. It re-uses the triangles to form ... just guess :-) And still, same direction.

Well, I hope this little "document symbol" journey was interesting for you. Now I can safely go on to add this item to our growing LibreOffice branding page. Tomorrow, of course.


Samstag, 16. Oktober 2010

Colorful and Pretty

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) ...
You see, if you use text withing a logo, then 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 Now and in Future - Logos, Icons and other branding bugs in OOo2 and OOo3 (OOoCon 2006)


And now some additional ideas ...

Dienstag, 12. Oktober 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to all the people who helped to grow LibreOffice and!

And - personally - a "Thank you for everything!" to all the volunteers and Oracle guys which I met over the past years and which I consider to be my close friends.

And by the way, the graphic (PNG, SVG) can be found on the temporary marketing page in the TDF Wiki. Spread the news ;-)


Montag, 11. Oktober 2010

Fontastic! How LibreOffice got its font ...

Two days ago, I talked about the LibreOffice colors and the reasons of the intermediate branding. Today, I picked a small but very important topic ... the font for the LibreOffice writing.

The Font

The two main requirements: look serious but modern, being available for all the contributors to create additional artwork. Simple, isn't it?

Within the branding initiative, a small team of well known contributors started a discussion concerning fonts. Thus, there is a very helpful compilation of different fonts and their use. After trying some of them, I decided to go for "Vegur". It just fits, I think.

Libre vs. Office

Focusing on the typographical emphasis, I had to make some decision whether we want to put emphasis on Libre, or Office, or both. Of course, we wanted to highlight the "Libre" part, so we used bold characters for that (next to the LibreGreen color). The default "Office" remains unchanged and therefore - hopefully - keeps a minimum of elegance and non-obtrusiveness.

Typographic Tweaks

A logo is a bit different from body text, therefore there was a need to tweak the font a bit. When using Vegur out of the box, then each of the characters sticks out at the intended size. To make it more compact, to let it appear as a whole, the letter-spacing had to be changed (distance between the letters). The good thing is, that decreasing the letter-spacing does also lead to fake ligatures (the straight connection between the two 'f').

Well, that's the story covering the font ... what will be the next? Don't know yet, but stay tuned! Or just tell me :-)


Samstag, 9. Oktober 2010

United Colors of Liberty

Why green?

Looking back some days, since the Document Foundation idea and LibreOffice has been announced, there have been both many questions and many proposals. But - as far as I remember - nobody ever asked: "Why green?"

Maybe our FAQ makes it very clear, LibreOffice is an intermediate name until all trademark questions are resolved. But since we had to use another name, we also had to substitute all the branding elements within the software. Despite being meant as a placeholder, we put - given the available time - a lot of effort into the branding you can now see in LibreOffice Beta, on the Document Foundation website and other locations.

Interested? I would like to explain how we came up with the visual design, the message "behind" the graphics. So let's start with the first blog posting ... let's start with "United Colors of Liberty" :-)

Base Color

The base color is a saturated green - why? When we thought about a new logo for LibreOffice, one member within our group presented a draft using this color for the term "Libre". Although we had also other proposals, I started to like the idea and also worked out a rough design proposal with the elements you already know (the document icon, the LibreOffice text, ...).

I picked some green and checked how "versatile" it was, how it behaved on different backgrounds. This is something I missed a bit with regard to the branding refresh. The bright and friendly blue is a bit picky with regard to the background color ... "Open" is rather bright and "" is black. Both have to be presented on the same (bright) background. For LibreOffice, I reduced the luminance to make it a bit more versatile.

But does it fit to our project? Each color has a certain meaning depending on the cultural background. The most common one for green seems to be "nature"; and that is what we want to achieve ... a friendly and natural evolution. Moreover, our friends at already use green in combination with blue. In my point-of-view, it fits very well.

But nothing decided yet ... it was still a proposal. We discussed all designs during a phone conference and when people decided to continue with the LibreOffice design you know now, I've asked whether they prefer green (the new color), or blue (the color). Interestingly, all participants agreed to go for green. It appeared to be a good choice.

So, we had the base color #18a303 (R24 G163 B3)  - a more friendly name might be LibreGreen :-)

Background Colors

A very easy task ... for the background we chose either white or rather bright gray, because it is very neutral. But might this be too boring? Maybe ...

Accent Colors

For several reasons, we needed some accent colors that nicely match with LibreGreen. The great little application Agave helped me to come up with three additional color proposals.

I repeated the steps in Agave several times until having a set of colors featuring different intensity (brightness). Those colors were good, but still needed some further polish. So I tweaked saturation and brightness until having a more or less balanced palette. One of those colors, LibreBlue, is also intended to build a visual bridge to

Especially one of the brighter LibreBlues has been used to provide a fresh look to both our website and the planet, e.g. for the bullets. All have been used to beautify the download buttons - have a look.

What I missed to do was some more research concerning color blindness issues like I did for the Notes2 (improved comments in Writer) colors. But that should be okay, the Libre colors are just meant to be accent colors and don't represent a palette for e.g. icon creation. Nevertheless, I assume that they don't perform that bad ...

Closing Words

I hope you enjoyed this first story covering the colors we are now able to chose from ... primarily. As I said, it is a temporary branding / name, but there was no reason to pick just "anything" without thinking. What do you think?

If you want to know more, just write a comment or contact us via our mailing lists. Next time, we might dig into the mysteries of the document icon, the arrows, or even the font/text creation. Let's see ...


Freitag, 8. Oktober 2010

Suspend Mode

Since quite some time we work on The Document Foundation thing ... pretty intensively, if I may say that. So - for me - it's time for suspend mode ... at least for two days. We do have some guests (family), therefore I hope you don't mind if my level of activity decreases a bit (maybe to close to zero *g*).

Thanks to everybody for supporting us ... not only in the meantime! Go on!!!


Donnerstag, 7. Oktober 2010

That's what others say: I like the name LibreOffice

In my last blog posting, I explained some background with regard to the name LibreOffice. Today, I just want to quote some of the mails we received on the [tdf-discuss] mailing list ... that made me smile :-)

Jean said ...

If I have to explain to someone what "LibreOffice" means, it's easy:
"Libre means free, as in liberty or freedom."

If I have to explain what "" means, it's a much bigger
problem, even without the complication of the ".org" part. Most people
have never heard of "open source" or "open standards" or "open" anything
else. How to explain it in less than ten words? And even if I do, most
people don't care, don't understand why they should care, and think I am
one of those geek fanatics for even talking about it. They shake their
heads and go away.

But "free, as in liberty" they can understand. They are interested,
enough for me to say "you can make as many copies as you like, and give
it away; it's all legal, no hassles."

Soon, Stefan added:

YES! :-)

Formerly, the office was opened, now it´s freed.  ;-)

Martín provided some thoughts, too:

I like the name very much, because it enhances i18n, it is a "more
universal" name, and it shows that multilingualism is important and global
multicultural cooperation is possible, or better, LibreOffice is a fact of
these both issues became reality



Sonntag, 3. Oktober 2010

Agreeing on the child's name ... a simple task?

This is my very first blog posting on an account I created quite some time ago ... usually I use the UX team blog, but today I'll mainly refer to LibreOffice. So a happy welcome to everybody :-)

So what is this posting about? It is about ...
... more precisely, I would like to talk about the name LibreOffice. There is no doubt that the idea behind The Document Foundation and LibreOffice is very well received, but I do hear some people talking about the suitability of name LibreOffice. And I also heard some name proposals.

Some people stated, that it is hard to spell in some languages (e.g. English), or that people won't get the meaning ("Libre"), or that it just feels uncool in comparison to competitors (Why "Office"?). And some expressed their wish to take part in the early decision process.

Let's start with the latter - everyone we talked with agreed that our ideas that had to be well prepared in advance ... I hope you will agree, too. This preparation led to the "backup name" that allows us to continue working on our beloved project until all trademark questions are finally resolved. You know, we still would like to continue to use it; see also our FAQ. But in any case, we really had to come up with something.

So we picked the very first name that came into mind? At least that is something people seem to think in the discussions. Well, it was somehow different ...

First, we started to collect all requirements for the new naming scheme. As you know, we do talk about the foundation, the software, and all kinds of other stuff (like events, technology, ...). And we work in an international context, with some other friends with us - e.g.

We started a huge brainstorming session ... which led to about a hundred names. We discussed many of them, e.g. "FreeOffice" being a good name in some regions, but for some people, "free" means "cheap". There were also some really weird name proposals, I don't want to state here. Okay, I thought having something like "Godzilla Foundation" would be a great addition to the Mozilla Foundation. Huge and cuddly ;-)

If the name seemed somehow usable, we started some very basic research - e.g. if the name implies strange meaning in other languages, or if the most common Internet domains are available. So we could shorten our list until only very few items were left.

The next step was to make sure that the name really fits to our goals. You remember the mission of our temporary steering group? Just a snippet: "[...] protect past investments by building on the solid achievements of our first decade [...]". Well, if we want to have some continuity, is it correct to use a completely different name to frighten users? No; we kept the "Office" part.

Historically, the ".org" part in confused many users - they thought that this is a domain name instead of the name of a free software. Even editors dropped it to avoid confusion within their readership - but how to communicate a name to the public if it doesn't appear in magazines or blogs? So we kept the ".org", but only for the domain name.

We went on in our list and we decided to go for "liberty", "libre", and therefore "LibreOffice". For this name, we did quite intensive research on already filed trademarks, the required URLs in the different countries, available social media names and tags, ... even if (slightly) mis-spelled URL locations might cause people to get lost in the web. Fortunately, everything went very well with this risk estimation.

This whole process took weeks ... and we were very serious about it (although I also had some doubts and proposed different names). We knew about some tiny compromises, but we really think that our name proposal does make sense for us being a Free Software community, that it expresses continuity, and that it is ready-to-serve in the Internet ...

So still having another name proposal? Please think about the implications ... instead, wouldn't it be better to fill the term "libre" with some life? Take part in something very unique? And help to shape something that deserves the name: LibreOffice

Simply join!

Christoph ... who expressed his personal opinion :-)