text based vs. graphical logos (was: Re: Logos - something entirely new)

Georg C. F. Greve greve at gnu.org
Wed Mar 28 14:39:29 UTC 2001


 || On Sun, 25 Mar 2001 23:06:28 +0200
 || Anja Gerwinski <anja at 44615166.theo-phys.uni-essen.de> wrote: 

 >> It does show one thing, though. We apparently have a confusion on
 >> this list about what a logo is. A logo is normally text-based and
 >> non-graphical. The only logo I can think of right now that is
 >> graphical is the one of Apple.

 ag> I don't agree with you. 

Funny how you say that and then _exactly_ back what I have said. :)

Maybe it's something language-based or so....

 ag> I cannot think of any company / organisation logo that has text
 ag> _only_. They all have at least shape and color.  Think Coca-Cola,
 ag> IBM, Mattel, Canon, ... Coca-Cola is also a nice example where
 ag> the color and shape is the actual logo (e.g. the Coca-Cola ribbon
 ag> is trademarked). 

These are all perfect examples for text-only logos. Of course the
style it is done in is crucial, but nonetheless it is readable
text. Nothing more. The logo-suggestions I have put on my home page go
in this direction. Normally one would create ONE final version out of
this and that'd be the logo. Style, colors and such should not be
changed later.

 ag> Many companies use both: graphical logo plus company name written
 ag> in a special font. 

Yes. You can have a logo (text written in a special, recognizable way)
and some graphical representation. There is almost always a
text-version available even if they mainly use graphical ones like the
examples you cited below.

 ag> Some of the most well-known logos are mainly graphical or
 ag> graphics-only: Nike, Adidas, Xerox, SGI (old logo), Krupp,
 ag> Mercedes, Ferrari, w├╝stenrot, Telekom AG, Sparkasse (the latter
 ag> three are probably not so well-known outside Germany;-), ...

Yes, but *each* of them is *extremely* simple. About 10000 times more
simple than anything we have so far. Which is exactly the point I was

Also there is normally also some logo in text-form that they use for
written documents although the sometimes resort to having their name
written in a standard font - they won't change the font in that case,
though, so it is (again) a text-logo.

 >> non-graphical. The only logo I can think of right now that is
 >> graphical is the one of Apple. And that is how simple it would
 >> have to be. Also the association must be clear... I don't see how
 >> we could produce something THAT understandable by everyone for the
 >> FSFE.

 ag> An apple is an obvious choice for Apple. But it is only
 ag> well-known and understandable because Apple has been promoting
 ag> themselves for a long time and with a large marketing budget. If
 ag> Apple was still a small company the logo would not be known, and
 ag> it could as well stand for a grocery chain. I mean, we also need
 ag> a good logo but no matter how good it is, it will not be
 ag> well-known at the beginning. It is in our hands to make it as
 ag> understandable as Apple's.

Of course not. But it would need to be as simple, recognizable and
high-quality. This is VERY hard to do. Nothing we've produced so far
comes even near it.

 ag> But IMO the logo should not be purely text based, at leat not
 ag> purely latin letters. It poses the question: Why latin writing,
 ag> not kyrillic or greek? 

Because people won't be able to read it then. Being readable is a
major plus for a logo.
 ag> Why FSF Europe and not FSS Europa (Freie Software Stiftung
 ag> Europa), for instance? 

Because "FSF" is a well-known acronym and makes clear we are the
sister organization of the American FSF. The constitution deliberately
says the name is "Free Software Foundation Europe." It'd be stupid to
pick something else for the logo.

 ag> However, the most important thing FSFE wants to promote is free
 ag> software, not the name "Free Software Foundation Europe",
 ag> specializing to English language, latin letters. Of course, we
 ag> don't want to be a nameless organisation. I just mean that the
 ag> logo should focus on the message FSFE wants to promote, not the
 ag> name itself.

That is not the purpose of a logo.

 ag> Consider the cross for Christianiti, for example. 

Which is a good example that not only companies have good logos. The
cross says NOTHING about the message of the Church but by centuries of
work they have made us associate this simple symbol with their
message. This is what logos are there for. 

 ag> This symbol (logos are a modern invention) is recognized
 ag> everywhere, it is simple, it refers to an important aspect of the
 ag> religion (it is not just a pretty, random symbol)

Which is why we need to resort to a text-based logo - there is no
symbol as simple that we could use for the FSF.

In the end it boils down to you having supported my arguments 100%.

Whatever we pick, it'll have to be VERY simple. 

_If_ we pick a graphical logo it will need a text representation in
the letters that most people in Europe can read: latin ones.  NOTHING
we have seen so far is simple enough to be used as a graphical logo,

That's why I'm vouching for a text-based logo. Not necessarily those
that I have put online as intuition-fodder, but definitely something
that would have to have as much recognizability and power.

In addition to this text-based logo we could then have some graphical
element that we normally use for all kinds of things - in the case of
a real text-based logo it wouldn't have to be as simple as a graphical
logo. Having a graphical logo would make that impossible. Personally I
would prefer the "Europa on GNU" artwork by you for this.


Georg C. F. Greve                                 <greve at fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (http://fsfeurope.org)
GNU Business Network                        (http://mailman.gnubiz.org)
Brave GNU World	                           (http://brave-gnu-world.org)
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