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[Social-mediagoblin] MediaGoblin: the Logo

From: Christopher Allan Webber
Subject: [Social-mediagoblin] MediaGoblin: the Logo
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 12:57:16 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Hey all,

For a bit now we've had this issue open about getting a cool logo:

I started a conversation offlist which was originally me reaching out to
Thorsten Wilms for some input and possibly assistance, and later
included a number of other people, and before I knew it we had a
conversation that was going offlist thar really should have been
onlist.  So here's my attempt to bring that discussion back on-list so
we can all discuss the future of awesome logo-ness.

First let me quote Thorsten on some points of guidance we should reflect
on, with some comments inline:

> Maybe I can help with just some guidance.
> Who's your audience? (it often helps to think about who isn't your
> audience.)

 - Artists
 - Photographers
 - Amateur photographers just sharing family photos
 - Initially, probably more free-as-in-freedom type people, but I'd like
   to expand beyond that base
 - The type of people who want to post to flickr (and eventually
   youtube, etc)
 - People who want federation initially and know what the hell that means
 - I'm hoping eventually we can just be the best option and push
   federation to people who don't even know it's the best option.  How
   can we avoid getting entrenched in *only* the FaiF and federated
   people?  (Probably by just being the best, and also marketing outside
   of the FOSS circles until MediaGoblin is the obvious choice?)

Who isn't our audience?  Well I'm not sure.  Who isn't interested in
flickr / youtube type services these days?

> How will people learn about your project, what's your general strategy?

Our strategy is to first focus on FOSS'y type audience who want these
kinds of services.  I think this will be important because a) this is
the audience who really knows that this matters b) we need things to be
pretty well tested by an audience that can be forgiving about things not
being the best initially, which realistically they won't be (but then
will be!)

So we're going to simultaneously try and get as many people to run their
own instances as possible, but a few of us are looking at running a
large instance knowing that most people won't run their own.

> what will be the context of use?

The infrastructure is set in stone so we'll be able to handle multiple
media types (images, video, audio, ascii art, your deepest darkest bad
poetry in PDF format), even though we're only handling images so far.  I
think this will be a big feature... even though it's on the horizon.
Nobody else is providing an interface to do all these things that still
runs and works nicely.

That said, for now we're just targeting image galleries.  At the 0.1.0
public alpha there won't even be an API for mobile devices, but soon
after we'll hopefully get one.

Even though I think the content of DeviantArt is a bit too oriented
toward just cartoony, anime-ish type artwork generally, I admire the
kind of discussion and collaboration that happens there.  I'd like to
see that kind of coordination happen here, but across federated

> What do you want to say about the project, what's the desired image,
> your message? The desired tone (think of the seriousness of a bank vs
> the fun-factor of a travel agency, for example)?
> Analyze your competition in light of these questions.

First of all, we've got the name MediaGoblin.  I think it's kind of fun,
and I enjoy the silliness of it, but yes, I don't want it to interfere
too much with the type of content people put on here.  I've had a bunch
of conversations with Bassam Kurdali and Jef van Schendel about this.

Example cases of where the theme/logo applies to media being uploaded:
 - Something fun and fitting with a playful environment, like something
   you might see on deviantart
 - Pictures of a grandparent's funeral

Our theme actually went through quite a bit of adjustments to be able to
be okay for #2 actually, and I think we're doing okay for that, but back
to this.  So we've talked about having both a mascot and a logo, similar
to the way that McDonalds has both (Ronald McDonald and the Golden
Arches) but uses them in different situations.  Similarly on most parts
of the site the mascot might not come into play but in certain parts or
promotional materials maybe it will.  It certainly won't be there for
peoples' images or galleries, but maybe it will on the registration page
or the about us page.

But back to what we want to say.  I actually really admire Google in
this regard.  Google's brand has generally been recognized as playful
and fun, but never seems to get in the way of people being serious.
Nobody says "Don't use Google, that's not for serious searching or
work."  I'd really like to have that same balance for our project if
it's at all possible.

> The logo should be a defining part of your visual identity. You might
> want to handle the look of your project pages and that of your product
> differently. Because the later will have to serve as context, almost a
> canvas, for user-provided media. You might want to make it very calm,
> neutral, minimal because of that. A logo that resembles a head or face
> might be a problem, then, attracting too much attention. The project
> pages could afford to be bolder.
> Independent, or maybe even in spite of such considerations, the first
> priority of the logo is to be recognizable as a specific symbol, so it
> can stand for the project similar to how a name does. The true meaning
> of the logo will come from what it stands for and the connection is
> established in context.
> The second concern is general attractiveness, the impression of
> balance and control. Only then should you care about symbolism.

Lastly, a couple of other points:

 - We currently have that "eye in the media" design but everyone seems
   to agree that it isn't quite enough.
 - We almost cerainly won't have GNU in the logo, though we'll continue
   to advertise ourselves as a GNU project. (Not unusual, see )
 - We'll probably separate out our mascot from our logo... see above
   for discussion on this
 - Aside from this, we don't really know!

I guess the next step is to start working on some mockups that reflect
the discussion above.

𝓒𝓱𝓻𝓲𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓹𝓱𝓮𝓻 𝓐𝓵𝓵𝓪𝓷 𝓦𝓮𝓫𝓫𝓮𝓻

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