A little over a month ago Sandro Groganz announced the launch of InitMarketing, his new marketing consultancy. Like any new company InitMarketing is in need of a logo, so Sandro is conducting a logo design contest through the end of the month. Being a marketing guy in the open source software industry, I figured I’d take a shot and see if I can win the iPod Touch he’s giving away for the top design. I should note that I’m not a formally-trained graphic artist, but I’m pretty handy with Photoshop and Illustrator.
As I started tinkering with a few designs I got to thinking about what makes a good open source logo. A couple of questions stood out in my head:
1) Should open source companies approach logo design differently than proprietary software organizations? I think it’s pretty neat that Sandro is holding an “open” design contest—anyone can submit designs regardless of skills or background—and I suspect that companies in or related to the proprietary software industry rarely conduct similar contests. But is an open approach more important if the company is in the open source industry? Does it produce better or more appropriate results? Ultimately, somebody (in this case, Sandro) has to decide which logo wins and will represent the organization, so does it matter if the decider is selecting from community-submitted logos versus professionally designed options?
2) Are there any key characteristics for good open source logos? It occurred to me that a “web 2.0 look and feel” might be appropriate for the InitMarketing logo, as open source software is one of the driving forces behind web 2.0 websites. But while some open source logos (think Alfresco, Drupal, and JBoss) seem to fit into this category, I would argue that most open source logos don’t. In fact, a lot of open source logos are pretty uninteresting in my opinion.
3) Should commercial open source companies take a different approach to branding than open source communities? Obviously, commercial organizations tend to put more time and money into things like logo design, but does that reflect anything other than a greater emphasis on marketing? In other words, should a company that makes money on open source try to convey different qualities or messages through its brand than a developer-driven open source community?
I don’t necessarily have answers to these questions, but I think they’re interesting. What do you think?
Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics
If you read a post on The Enterprise OSS Blog, please leave a comment. Let us know what you think, even if it's just a few words. Comments do not require approval, but they are moderated.OpenLogic reserves the right to remove any comments it deems inappropriate.