Icons, logos, Tango, consistency, the user experience, and our project looks like a 2D champaign flute

Scott Ritchie scott at open-vote.org
Thu Apr 16 15:55:46 CDT 2009

A user submitted a bug report to launchpad complaining that the Wine 
icon is not Tango compliant: 

So, what is Tango Compliance?  Well, the Tango icons all use a set of 
design standards, and you can find them here: 

In short, it means the Wine icon looks very out of place when it is 
placed alongside all the other Tango-compliant icons on the system.  If 
you click the Applications button on an Ubuntu system, for instance, 
you'll see 7 three dimensional, front perspective, on the table, lit 
from above, well-bordered and highlighted icons.  At the bottom you see 
a two dimensional, heavily tilted underneath perspective, hovering in 
midair, lit from the lower right, thick-bordered Wine icon.

In short, it's ugly, but our real goal here is usability.  Making Wine 
blend in is part of that, however it's also important we deliver a 
consistent experience: as ugly as it is, I thought, that icon is our 
project's logo, so we should use the same image throughout.

But then, I realized, we don't use the same logo consistently!  If you 
go to winehq.org you'll see another logo, which fits in with the website 
theme very well but is nevertheless quite different from the Tango 
icons.  From a user's perspective, changing the Wine icon on the system 
can present a very slight familiarity issue: you're jarred for a second 
while you realize that the old Wine icon is gone and the new icon 
(helpfully next to the familiar words Wine) is actually the same program.

This is the main place where the user sees the Wine icon, as we don't 
yet display it on other areas where they may be interacting with Wine 
(eg, by placing a small Wine icon next to the program icon as in 
http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/ideatorrent/idea/2141).  Accordingly, a 
change here will be narrow, and if we make it now (before the icon needs 
to be used elsewhere) there is a minimal amount of familiarity loss.

A new icon makes a program feel new, so the user will expect some 
change.  Accordingly, I'd like to propose updating our icons when we 
move forward with the 1.2 release.  This will coincide with the 
inclusion of several of the Wine integration projects I'll be including 
in the coming months, such that the user will see it all (with a new, 
consistant icon) in one big package in the October wave of distro 
releases like Ubuntu 9.10.

So, what should that new icon be?  Well, tango compliance is one major 
goal, as is recognizability as a Wine glass.  Fortunately, someone has 
already made a Tango-compliant Wine logo here: 

Now, if you're like me, the second you saw that you went "Whoa, that 
doesn't look like the Wine icon!  It looks completely different!"  The 
glass on the website, for instance, is much more narrow: 

Now, I'm not a drinker, but I do know that real wine people can be very, 
very picky about these kind of things.  After giving the wikipedia 
article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_glass) and a few other 
websites a full read, I can categorically state one thing: we're using 
the wrong glass for red wine.

Now, whether the icon we use should be the right kind of glass or not is 
an aesthetic choice.  Personally I'd use a red wine glass but one with a 
slightly narrower bowl than in the tango icon above (a "Bordeaux" glass 
rather than a "Burgundy" glass)

Anyway, I suspect most of you really really won't care, as long as it 
looks something like a wine glass and has the words Wine next to it. 
But I did want to start a discussion, especially because this represents 
our projects logo and is, to a real extent, more than just an icon.

Meanwhile, I'll try drumming up some artists to see if I can get a few 
different Tango-compliant icons for us to chose from.

Scott Ritchie

More information about the wine-devel mailing list