[ubuntu-art] Wallpaper

julian julian at selectparks.net
Fri Dec 7 23:43:10 GMT 2007

..on Fri, Dec 07, 2007 at 08:43:31PM +0100, Damian Vila wrote:
> In functional terms, the best "wallpaper" would be a plain, solid,
> blueish, not too dark, not too light, not too saturated color. Something
> like #405580. And with the color going darker against the edges of the
> screen.
> Why?
> It's not distracting. I gives enough contrast against _any_ icon you
> throw over it. It's neutral. And the blueish tint leaves the best part
> of the eye, the Fovea centralis, full of cones, free to detect the
> important changes in the display, where actions should happen.(The
> darker edges are used to let the peripheral vision detect changes more
> easily.)

i agree. this is what i see to be a sensible way of thinking about the
wallpaper and its role - as both a field of colour and as a backdrop - on 
the desktop.

> Any other choice of wallpaper is just an artistic compromise.
> Wallpapers are, like most non functional GUI elements such as windows
> decoration, typographic choice, color palettes, etc. chosen to convey a
> message that goes far beyond mere functionalism.

and this is important, but once the 'mere functionalism' has been
catered for. take the 7.04 desktop for instance: it was so light in
colour that the text names of folders and files could barely be read on
some monitors. it directly competed with the desktop items it was
supposed to be a background - graphic support - for.

> This is the purpose of this artwork team, to agree on a strong, artistic
> statement that convey the values that the Ubuntu distribution tries to
> send to the final user.
> Or at least, that's how understand it (I may also be wrong.)

right or wrong, this feels like a productive way to be thinking 
about the problem of choosing a desktop: you're considering artistic 
and practical elements in a balanced fashion.

> P.S: I'll be glad to explain to you at any moment the design choices I
> made to create the animals (including the elephant) wallpapers, and why
> it works and was (is) supported by so many people. Curiously enough, not
> many people asked me how I made them and why. One of the people who
> _did_ talked with me about the wallpapers is participating in this same
> discussion :-)

hehe well i certainly like the elephant species very much, i'd just
rather not have an image of their skin on my desktop..

as is so often the case with such things, i would rather see a public
poll on this than the peculiarities of taste debated ad infinitum on
mailing lists amongst a rarefied few! 

in an ideal world we'd get art out into the alpha releases much earlier of 

keep up the good work,


> julian escribió:
> > not at all. computer desktops don't exist to be appreciated as a singular work
> > of eye-catching art. they are there to be transparent interfaces to
> > the underlying productivity offered by the computer. they must be easy on 
> > the eye for sustained periods of use. 
> >
> > the /primary/ value of a desktop is not aesthetic, it is functional. 
> > this, however does not disqualify them from having an ambition to be stylish. 
> > that's a good thing and should be encouraged as a secondary design pursuit.
> >   
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julian oliver

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