Inform about Branding
The Branding Initiative has been brought to live by community members of several OpenOffice.org projects like art, marketing, website and user experience. On this page we want to inform you about our reasons for doing so.
What Does Branding Mean?
Branding is one of the most important secondary tasks inside a company (if you define the product as primary task). Its goal is to raise awareness for the product (the brand), its recognition in public as well as employees' identification with the brand.
For an open source project like OpenOffice.org, branding represents a crucial step on the way to professionalism.
People should recognize our product and our community through a consistent design that conveys our main messages on an emotional level. Even if they don't read the name, they should be able to recognize our graphical branding elements as belonging to OpenOffice.org, wherever they see them.
Good branding intensifies identification of our commnity members not only with their own sub-project but with the general project too. The more our community members are aware of being part of the international OpenOffice.org project, the more strength we gain by the synergistic effects of different groups and projects as well as by people's identification with OpenOffice.org.
Our branding can be supported by graphical means as well as by other activities like the definition of our common goals and working on the basic positive attitudes and emotions OpenOffice.org addresses.
There will be a survey soon to ask the community members about what they think are the three most important positive aspects and attributes of OpenOffice.org. Based on this survey we'll be working on a consistent visual design.
What is Visual Design?
Visual design is the basis of visual identity and therefore the most important part of branding for public recognition. If we present a common graphical language wherever people get in contact with our product (and our project), they start to associate OpenOffice.org with a certain tone of blue or the shape of our stylized gulls in a part of a second, even if they didn't have time to read the wording or if the text 'OpenOffice.org' is not present.
Why We Need to be Consistent
With a consistent look and feel OpenOffice.org will appear more professional – especially if we provide a design on a high level of quality. It shows that we care enough about the product to make it look good, rather than appending designs on an ad-hoc basis. We have a multitude of projects and different ways of presenting our product and project in public. Using the same design language and graphical elements for all appearances enforces the impression of a single product and a vast community of people working together – this is important for the perception of OpenOffice.org in public as well for the feeling of beloning together for the community members. If parts of the community don't feel comfortable with the general branding and stay with their own design, this weakens the brand and the our preception in public.
Local attributes and special elements for a dedicated project or group are possible and should be supported to increase the group member's identification with their task and area. But these elements should be part of the general branding theme, not an alternative or in opposition to it.
Therefore it is important to include people from all the areas where OpenOffice.org is represented by visual means in this branding initiative so their interests can be integrated in the general branding theme.
Who is involved?
Branding is important for the OpenOffice.org project as well as for our product. It is mainly a marketing task, if we define marketing as the chance to use every relation to the public to raise our market share and attract people to join our community and to stay and work with us.
As our project is divided in a larger number of more or less independent areas of work and branding is related to several of them:
Marketing: as mentioned above, it covers all the relations to the public, but some of the marketing tasks are organized in different projects like artwork and website design.
Art: creating artwork for the product, for Internet presentation, collaterals and so on. Branding elements are put in appropriate surroundings (according to branding guidelines and how-tos) for special use cases.
Website: The design of our website is the first place most people come in contact to OpenOffice.org. This design has to be consistent with the branding style – and not only the main website, but our additional sites like wiki and the template / extensions repositories too.
Documentation: The official documentation for OpenOffice.org must necessarily comply with the branding style. The same applies to templates for presentations at OooCons or on fairs.
Native Language: All the previous areas are covered by the native language projects for their local needs. These tasks have to be coordinated with the general branding in order to improve the common feeling and corporate identity in our community.
User experience: Branding is about the relation to our present and possibly future users – it is important to include their needs and their feedback in our branding.
User interface: The product OpenOffice.org contains several possibilities to include our branding and visual design without reducing the orientation towards the operating system.