[ubuntu-art] Quick Update

Michiel Sikma michiel at thingmajig.org
Mon Jun 26 06:53:27 BST 2006

On Jun 25, 2006, at 11:55 PM, Kenneth Wimer wrote:

> Hi,
> On Jun 25, 2006, at 11:23 PM, Michiel Sikma wrote:
>>> On Jun 25, 2006, at 8:25 PM, Kenneth Wimer wrote:
>>>> On Jun 25, 2006, at 7:21 PM, Michiel Sikma wrote:
>>>>> On Jun 25, 2006, at 4:31 PM, Troy James Sobotka wrote:
>>>>> This will require some new language.
>>>>> Basically, Human icons are in and staying -- as per sabdfl.
>>>>> This will be a component of the 'Human Look', which is what
>>>>> we are sticking with (albeit trying to finish it, polish it,
>>>>> and finish the set.)
>>>> I don't understand why it is so pertinently important to keep  
>>>> Human in. In all objectivity, it's simply a suboptimal icon set  
>>>> when compared to Tango. I also don't see why any of the  
>>>> arguments that I have given have to be ignored. Like I stated,  
>>>> Human doesn't seem to follow any proper guidelines at all. If it  
>>>> does, then I would like to read their rationale for arbitrarily  
>>>> designing some icons from different angles.
>>> I see it as a good decision for branding the gnome desktop for an  
>>> Ubuntu product. I do not think you are being ignored but rather  
>>> that your opinion differs from others, especially those who make  
>>> the decisions for artwork inclusion in the aforementioned  
>>> product. Note as well that in artwork, guidelines are great, but  
>>> for every rule there is an exception.
>> I don't think it's just my opinion that differs. As I've mentioned  
>> before, I've got valid criticism for the Human icon set. I simply  
>> believe it to be inferior to Tangerine/Tango for various reasons.  
>> Generally, I feel as though this same opinion exists among more  
>> members of the art community.
> Until now, this opinion is not exactly a consensus. As noted  
> previously in other mails, some of these decisions are not up to us  
> as a democratic entity.

Sure, this isn't a democratic vote that I would want to be reliant  
on, but rather a discussion to figure out which of the icon sets is  
the most aesthetically pleasing. It's my opinion that the Tangerine  
set is. It follows guidelines more strictly, hasn't gone overboard  
with insane levels of orangification (does the user-desktop icon  
really need to attempt to show the default wallpaper in the smallest  
icon size? Does the Internet icon really need to be a large orange  
sphere?) and has more probability of being consistent with pretty  
much the whole general style of the non-Ubuntu Linux art of tomorrow.  
Consistency is still an important thing, and as of yet, Ubuntu is not  
a trend setter in the art or UI world. Tango seems to be just that.

>> I also don't see why you simply say "guidelines are great, but we  
>> make exceptions".
> Note that I did not say that "we make exceptions" but rather that  
> all rules have exceptions in the real world.

So? That doesn't mean it's useful as an excuse as to why, for  
example, the network-server icon is shown from the front, while the  
drive-harddisk icon is shown slightly from above. This is a reason  
for revisiting some of the icons and perhaps improving them. In fact,  
with the style of the Human icons, they could perhaps even be  
produced with the Tango guidelines. They're very viable guidelines  
and work for the style that Human has.

>> I don't see why you can just admit that some of the icons in the  
>> Human set are inconsistent.
> I have not denied this fact, but simply tried to explain why it is  
> so. There is also a valid reason to brand a project so that it  
> stands out as an individual within the greater group of related  
> projects.

I don't mean inconsistent with other distros; I mean inconsistent  
with itself, as explained above. This isn't marketing-related, it's  
simply art-related.

>> Don't get me wrong, though. I don't think that the Human icon set  
>> is bad by any standard, but I simply feel that a more open process  
>> would enable us to get rid of such things. It's imperative that  
>> inconsistency is taken care of in any case. This doesn't take away  
>> that most of the icons in the system should just come from  
>> Tangerine/Tango, as the Tango icon set is likely to be the style  
>> of icons for _all_ default application icons in the future. It  
>> will most definitely become very popular, and I don't think it is  
>> a good idea for Ubuntu to say no to that style because "we want it  
>> to be a little different".
> It is not a case of wanting it to be a little different, but rather  
> to make it look distinctively Ubuntu and beautiful.

That still doesn't respond to any of the other things that I have  
just mentioned. Besides, is marketing really a proper reason for  
inconsistency in artwork? It's a user interface that's the face of a  
system, afterall, and from what I can tell, Ubuntu seems to want to  
market itself towards those who would partially base their decision  
on whether to start using Ubuntu based on the user interface,  
friendliness and usability.

And if that is the case, then I cannot see any use for some of the  
design choices that the Human set has made. Like the gigantic red  
knob at the top-right of the screen; what's that good for? It  
completely drowns attention towards that point. It also mistakenly  
labels shutting down as something bad. Or, similarly, the giant  
orange knob at the "cancel" buttons, which even causes (caused?)  
graphical errors on some occasions. Human seems such a very intrusive  
icon set at places where it really shouldn't be.

In cases such as these, Tangerine/Tango is a more suitable  
alternative due to the icons being made mostly by a long-time Linux  
artist who uses the system on a daily basis and knows that such  
decisions aren't really proper. I would certainly want to propose  
alternatives in such cases, but with the current style of  
development, I don't have any faith that such a proposition would be  

>>> Seeing as the decision has already been made I suggest you  
>>> produce a viable alternative by working in a group with other  
>>> like-minded individuals - if the result is seen as better in  
>>> everyones eyes than what exists now we can perhaps change this  
>>> decision in future releases.
>> I don't see why. The Tangerine/Tango set already exists, is more  
>> complete, has more people working on it, has a more open design  
>> process, also makes Ubuntu ready for the future concerning design  
>> consistency. Just because some people felt it was necessary to say  
>> no to it for Dapper doesn't mean it shouldn't be possible to re- 
>> evaluate it for Edgy.
> The cycle for edgy is well underway, and due to the later release  
> of Dapper a few months shorter than expected. This fact alone is  
> enough for one to come to the opinion that we should fix what is  
> there rather than start with a whole new set of problems (which we  
> first have to discover, document, etc. before we can even fix them).

I don't see how this is relevant to Tangerine. Say that,  
hypothetically speaking, we were to decide that Tangerine is indeed  
more suitable to this distro than Human; in that case, it wouldn't be  
difficult to switch to using that icon set, as it works flawlessly  
and is more complete.

Michiel Sikma
michiel at thingmajig.org

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