New Initiative for Branding

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We decided not to start a new top-level project for Branding and Visual Design at the moment, because we would spend too much time in administration instead of dedicated work for a consistent branding - there are some important events ahead that should be presented under an improved and unified "look and feel".

For the moment we use the term "Branding Initiative" for our activities as part of the marketing project - the decision about the necessity of a dedicated top-level product can be taken later...

Most of the action items listed here are independent from the structure of our activities, so they stay important as landmarks on our way to a consistent OOo branding.


This page is meant to collect thoughts and ideas leading to a new incubator project. The project will be dedicated to branding and corporate design for, including the creation of related artwork as well as ensuring a common look-and-feel interwoven and integrated throughout the product, website, marketing material and any other place(s) referring to


The project's working title is (until someone comes up with a better name) ...

Design, Artwork and Branding Project

Main directive

This project wants to establish and maintain a consistent and unique visual identity for - both the product and the community.

Brand recognition is essential: if people can recognize through its artwork, they will be more attuned to its existence wherever they happen to stumble upon it and will be able to point it out to others more easily. Therefore it is crucial to give our users a consistent visual impression of

The recognition of's branding elements opens up the way to users' associations, which is more important and powerful than the artwork itself. Great art and design are the means by which we hope to improve

Why do we need this project?

File:Branding mix up.png
Different branding elements used within the program, on our website(s) and marketing materials on the project and the product

As things stand, several people in different projects have made decisions about visual design in their area without necessarily consulting or attempting to maintain consistency with other areas that involve visual design. This has led to a very inconsistent visual impression of across the product (e.g., icons, splash screen), website, documentation, marketing materials and other areas.

Branding elements from OOo2 are mixed up with OOo3 splash screen elements inside the product, in documentation and marketing materials. Our website has got it's own style, unrelated to the other graphical design elements (and even this style is not used on all the native-lang websites).

For an overview of the issues, please see Bernhard's presentation at OOoCon 2009.

The new project wants to unify the efforts on branding and visual design throughout the product, website, documentation, marketing material and any other relevant areas.

Actions to be taken

First steps

  • Contact the existing projects actually working on the area of visual identity and branding:
    • OOo design team at Sun: Definition of the present style ("Galaxy")for branding / visual design of the product and creation of the majority of graphical elements in the product.
    • Art: Creation of marketing material and other artwork based on the splash screen and other branding elements.
    • Website: Design of the website style to be used for the OOo project websites and collateral sites like wiki, templates and extensions.
    • Marketing: Usage of artwork created by the Art Project for online and and printed representation.
    • User Experience: Feedback of the general users and specified target groups on branding and visual identity.
    • Native Language: Localized artwork on website, other online and printed material in native language.
    • Documentation: Design of the official OOo documentation.
    • User Interface: Menues, buttons and windows inside OOo.
  • Find people from all these projects interested in working together on design and branding topics as representatives of their projects. They will serve as contact persons in both directions: From their projects to the new branding/art project and from the new project back to the other projects.
  • Look at artwork projects within other well known open source software and see if we can gain additional insights or ideas
  • Proposal and creation of the new project
    • A decision on what will happen to the Art project - it may be preferable to integrate it into the new project

After establishing the new project

  • Determine the general goals for OOo's visual design.
  • Revise present artwork and design elements if they would serve for a general branding design.
    • Define the goals of OOo quite clearly (perhaps run a survey among the community on that topic) and have a look at any of the present graphical elements with regards to it's relation to this goals and it's usability for our general branding. Keeping in mind the recognition value of these elements (this might be part of such a survey too), we then have to decide, if they should be part of the new branding identity, if they have to be updated or recreated from the scratch.
  • Define a general visual design and branding style.
    • Decisions (voting) should take place within the new project instead of the whole OOo community, unless there is a very good reason to involve the whole community.

Next activities

  • Create a style guide describing the visual design to be followed by every artist working on artwork to represent
    • According to this style all necessary artwork has to be created.
    • Spread this artwork to all the projects involved in branding and visual design (see above).
    • Establish this style all the places where is represented by visual means.
  • Provide an area for artwork development, even if it doesn't follow the branding style. This artwork will not be allowed to be used for references to the product and our project, but may serve other goals:
    • It can become a basis for future branding elements.
    • Artists can keep their own style and creativity.
    • It reduces the hurdles for new members to start.
  • Involve areas not yet in the focus of visual design. Ivan already collected some ideas.

Continuous work

  • Re-evaluate iteratively the visual goals of
  • Have members from the project on i-Teams in relevant/applicable areas
    • Help shape the visual appearance and UI changes of OOo with Project Renaissance
  • Decide about possible design updates with major product changes.
    • Have measurable goals for each release cycle of OOo - i.e., a roadmap - to provide clear directions for the community so that more of its artwork can be included in and throughout the project
    • Allow for the possibility that the design can be evolved over a particular version of - e.g., the splash screen for OOo 4.1 can be slightly different to the splash screen for OOo 4.0, as long as it keeps in line with the motif set and there is a good reason for it. This would allow OOo's branding to be a little more flexible - right now it is quite rigid (e.g. the splash screen for OOo 3 will stay the same throughout OOo 3, even though issues have been identified, such as the incorrect coloring of the dots to match OOo's applications)
  • Keep the artwork, the places where it is used and the style guide up-to-date.
  • Have a blog to keep the community informed (along with the wider open source world).

More information

People interested in active contribution

OOo user name ( wiki user name real name active in other projects interested in comment
bedipp BeDipp Bernhard Dippold art, marketing, (website, UX) organizing and coordinating with other projects
christophnoack ChristophNoack Christoph Noack UX representing UX interests visual design is an essential part of what the user experiences when using the product and our services
ivantm Ivanm Ivan Miskovic art, website and (to a lesser extent) UX making OOo look great in every possible way a strong and consistent visual identity will see more downloads, website visitors, etc.
overkill Overkill Nikash Singh Art Contributing graphics and generally helping out The hard work done throughout OOo should be reflected in a new, equally impressive, consistent Design.
jensgh JensGH Jens Habermann Art, Marketing everything graphics
Chs Chs Charles-H. Schulz NLC, ODF@WWW Got some "skunkworks" going on at the ODF@www project, incl. the "Pinneberg Files" (check out this wiki) and this initiative cannot ignore this one :-)
rosana_a rosana_a Rosana Ardila Marketing interested in a consistent and strong OOo branding
maple1249 maple1249 Connor Montgomery UX Website, UI, and UX in particular, but open to anything! Visual design/UI is the first impression we make on the user(s). The more enjoyable/consistent we make it, the more users we have the ability to not only get, but keep as permanent users.
ismaelgrammenidis Ismaelgrammenidis Ismaël Grammenidis nl, fr Web Design, Visual Identity (branding) Create a consistent and strong visual identity on international and local (native language) level.
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