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

Ben Klein shacklein at gmail.com
Thu Apr 16 19:19:25 CDT 2009

2009/4/17 Scott Ritchie <scott at open-vote.org>:
> A user submitted a bug report to launchpad complaining that the Wine icon is
> not Tango compliant:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/wine/+bug/358645
> So, what is Tango Compliance?  Well, the Tango icons all use a set of design
> standards, and you can find them here:
> http://tango.freedesktop.org/Tango_Icon_Theme_Guidelines
> 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:
> http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/tango-artists/attachments/20060331/63117187/wine.svg
> 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:
> http://winehq.org/images/winehq_logo_glass_sm.png
> 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)
> http://www.the-gift-of-wine.com/Images/glass_bordeaux.jpg
> http://www.the-gift-of-wine.com/Images/glass_burgundy.jpg
> 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.
> Thanks,
> Scott Ritchie

Seems like a lot of fuss over a few trivial details:
1) The Wine system icon is ugly (I'm all in favour of changing it, but
you make a BIG fuss over it)
2) If the icon is changed, it should be done in time for Ubuntu 9.10.
(I have BIG issue with this. Wine is not exclusive to Ubuntu and
Ubuntu should be given no additional thought time over any other
distribution when making decisions.)
3) The glass is the wrong shape. Is it really THAT important? If
anything it makes Wine distinguishable from the beverage. Do we get
any outraged wine enthusiasts posting on wine-users or the forum
telling us that we use the wrong glass in our logos?

My final qualm about all of this:
Isn't Tango an icon theme, and by going to a "Tango-compliant" icon,
aren't we snubbing every other icon theme out there (in particular
Crystal-SVG, or whatever it's called, the preferred theme on KDE)? We
should not tie ourselves down to something that is only "preferred" on
some systems (i.e. Gnome in this case).

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