These are the results from the open question asked to the list about the design ideas or themes that will guide our thoughts in choosing artwork for openSUSE 12.3. The idea is to help our contributors and voters to make choices that match a style guide. That way, the chosen artwork will achieve a sense of unity. The themes provided could also make it into the future as a long lasting definition of openSUSE's artwork. If these themes were to be placed together we get something like this:
1. Simplicity 2. Clarity 3. Impact/Memorable 4. Unity
Other thoughts included the idea of being new and contemporary, which can be achieved easily by following the guidelines above. Keep in mind also that there are things that simply escape the arm of our artwork. A designer we tend to push the envelope into areas that likely are not achievable on software. Let's keep this in mind.
Please now, if you can, define these concepts in your own words. That way we can get more understanding from each person about these design themes. Simplicity can mean many things for different people, so the more we acquire a strong concept of these themes, the easier it will get for selection.
PS: Stay tuned for next week for our wallpaper contest.
On Sat, 2012-12-01 at 14:25 -0700, Andres Silva wrote:
I think it's key to find the right balance between the four themes. In my interpretation, too much of any one is undesirable.
Visual simplicity is the opposite of visual clutter. There shouldn't be too much going on in the theme. Color should be limited to shades of green and (optionally) something complimentary. Simplicity encourages professionalism, which is a must for our themes. The ultimate form of simplicity would be a monochrome background, but that would be too much simplicity. The 12.2 theme is a strong example of simplicity because there's not much going on: it's green, with a few spots that are less-green, and that's it.
You might think that clarity is a synonym of simplicity, but it is actually the opposite of subtlety. The 12.2 artwork is a poor example of clarity, because the lighter splotches of green epitomize subtlety. I question whether clarity should be a goal at all, since I prefer subtlety to clarity. Clarity can work too, though: the 12.1 theme was a strong example of clarity over subtlety.
Impact and memorability - the "wow factor" - is the opposite of simplicity. If the user says wow and doesn't change the default background, then the art has made its impact. But what wows some users will not wow others - e.g. the Plymouth floaty fuzzy balls - so impact is also risk. Without impact, the art will be boring, but with too much, it will be considered ugly and unprofessional. Impact and simplicity are conflicting ends that must be balanced.
Lastly, unity is focus. There should be one main idea. The GRUB theme should match the Plymouth splash which should match the desktop background which should match the custom brandings (LibreOffice, GIMP). The 12.2 GRUB theme failed in this regard, since it was too separate from the other themes. At the same time, too much unity is bad: the brandings should stand out somewhat from the desktop background, and the bootloader should be visually distinct from the desktop. But they must all still convey the same unifying idea.