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Bug 126074 - Icon styles should not modify official application icons in start center (and other relevant places)
Summary: Icon styles should not modify official application icons in start center (and...
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: UI (show other bugs)
Version:
(earliest affected)
6.2.4.2 release
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
URL:
Whiteboard:
Keywords: needsUXEval
Depends on:
Blocks: UI-Theming
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Reported: 2019-06-25 05:17 UTC by Bastián Díaz
Modified: 2020-07-04 20:35 UTC (History)
5 users (show)

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Crash report or crash signature:


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Description Bastián Díaz 2019-06-25 05:17:51 UTC
Description:
Styles of icons are cool and help to give a fresh air to the LibreOffice interface, however, I believe that these should not modify the application icons, since these are part of the brand and image of the project. On the other hand, there are styles of icons that modify the application icons a lot (eg Karasa Jaga).

At least in the start center, the official icons should always be shown, except in situations that require accessibility (high contrast).

Another important point is when you use a custom icon theme in the operating system, many icon packs do not respect Brands and that leads to having a custom LibreOffice apps icon in the system and a different one for LO icon styles, which in turn can be different from the official ones. This may vary between operating systems, but the idea is that the LibreOffice brand is the same in all of them.

Steps to Reproduce:
X

Actual Results:
X

Expected Results:
X


Reproducible: Always


User Profile Reset: No



Additional Info:
Comment 1 Mike Kaganski 2019-06-25 05:40:10 UTC
There's no "official applications icons" which are "part of the brand", other than LibreOffice logo itself, which is the while sheet with a corner. See [1].

NOTABUG imo.

[1] https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Marketing/Branding
Comment 2 Bastián Díaz 2019-06-25 06:09:30 UTC
(In reply to Mike Kaganski from comment #1)
> There's no "official applications icons" which are "part of the brand",

Right, but the icons of the applications (modules) are derived from the "Document Symbol" logo and can only be used in official projects. They are part of the official visual elements. See [1].

My point remains the same even though I am not literally talking about a "trademark".

[1] https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Visual_Elements
Comment 3 Heiko Tietze 2019-06-25 08:02:02 UTC
Andreas, Rizal: Please decide. I agree with Bastian since we want a branding.
Comment 4 andreas_k 2019-06-25 08:16:56 UTC
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #3)
> I agree with Bastian since we want a branding.

I din't know that we want a branding. Since now EVERYTHING is without brand and respect the desktop theme.

If LibO want an brand, than LibO has to decide the brand and THAN we can brand LibO. For example if you install LibO on any linux desktop, the mimetype and app icon from the icon theme was choosen (if available) only the backup is the LibO icon from the source code. Compare to Firefox this is possible, cause there is no trademark.

From my point of view I didn't see the benefit of use "official" app icons in the start center in addition you have to update all icons in the start center to have a unique brand (so also the folder, template, ... icons)

NOTABUG imo, as long as LibO say follow OS theming.
Comment 5 Bastián Díaz 2019-06-25 10:35:22 UTC
(In reply to andreas_k from comment #4)
> 
> I din't know that we want a branding. Since now EVERYTHING is without brand
> and respect the desktop theme.
> 

Any organization seeks to build a reliable brand that represents their product and community, beyond any intangible identity. Respecting the desktop theme is not contradictory to maintaining a brand.

> If LibO want an brand, than LibO has to decide the brand and THAN we can
> brand LibO.
> 

In all the time that TDF has existed, a brand has been built in both the intangible and the tangible. Within the latter is the visual identity (Ex. Logo, icons, colors, typography, etc.). There are already characteristic visual elements that identify a brand (LibreOffice) that corresponds to be used in a unique and coherent way everywhere.

> For example if you install LibO on any linux desktop, the
> mimetype and app icon from the icon theme was choosen (if available) only
> the backup is the LibO icon from the source code. Compare to Firefox this is
> possible, cause there is no trademark.
>

Theming in gnu/linux is particularly problematic, simply because the FLOSS allows it and it is fine, however, unlike what you mentioned above, the designers of icons themes should respect the visual identity of the applications. LibO Main icon and modules icon are a problem (Some distros maintain the branding despite using custom icon themes), however, icons of mimetypes can be handled by the operating system of turn in a neutral way, (although currently it is common to see thumbnails before icons).

It is for the above, that in the report I mention mainly the icon styles, because it is easier to control to maintain a coherence. It is also more difficult or unusual for users modified themes icons in Windows and macOS.

> From my point of view I didn't see the benefit of use "official" app icons
> in the start center 
>

Consistent visual identity, with all that that means.
I believe that LibreOffice currently fails in this part of its communication strategy.


> in addition you have to update all icons in the start
> center to have a unique brand (so also the folder, template, ... icons)
> 

Of course, I do not know the necessary technical changes, but before that it is necessary to discuss the relevance of the topic.
Comment 6 Adolfo Jayme 2019-06-25 12:15:20 UTC
As a Linux user, icon themes are to me a feature, not a bug. And yes, that entails having several application icons inspired by each icon style; otherwise, LO sticks out like a sore thumb.

At some point, the Ubuntu Yaru designers created custom icons for LibreOffice; they were excellently drawn and made LO fit with the desktop, which is a highly desirable trait for our project.

I simply refuse to drink that Kool-Aid, common among hipsters in the GNOME community, that customizability is cancer (cf. that ridiculous “please don’t theme our apps” letter!).
Comment 7 Bastián Díaz 2019-06-25 17:30:00 UTC
(In reply to Adolfo Jayme from comment #6)
> 
> I simply refuse to drink that Kool-Aid, common among hipsters in the GNOME
> community, that customizability is cancer (cf. that ridiculous “please don’t
> theme our apps” letter!).

Please, do not mix the themes here.
First of all, I never said "no" to customization. The customization is an important part of the LibreOffice UX and for this reason there have been the styles of icons, FF themes, NotebookBar, etc. What I am questioning here is the need to ignore having a consistent visual identity through operating systems/desktop environments via visual elements such as application icons.

Second, some members of the GNOME community did not say that "customization is a cancer", they support customization, but not if there is no standardized way to do it, which otherwise causes more issues than benefits, which It shows that you did not understand the meaning of the letter.
Comment 8 Mike Kaganski 2019-06-26 02:17:07 UTC
I - again - suppose that having guidelines to icon creation when the icon is based on the official logo - is enough, vs making app icons part of the "branding". You cannot limit the amount of UI elements appearing on different marketing materials, and if any of them would then fall into that category of "we want branding", we'll end up in a miserable state of having part of UI "customized" to match environment, and other - highly prominent - parts visually different-styled, creating very unprofessional, very untidy look and feel.

If we need something to represent apps in marketing papers, then better come with something very stylized and not related to icons in start center, which would represent e.g. activity, not buttons used to start the apps. This way, you decouple the icons and marketing.

Still NOTABUG imo, with a possible need to have a different issue about the said app-graphics for marketing.
Comment 9 Mike Kaganski 2019-06-26 02:49:58 UTC
Also, I don't believe in a need to insist on "branding" for *users* of our software, who decide to customize. It's like "we insist that our app must look this way, because "we want branding" - for unclear reason, maybe to keep reminding you, our existing user, that you are using our app, because we believe you may have forgotten that fact, and we won't let you choose a different look of some elements, because of BRANDING!!!1111 Or - maybe we consider *your workplace* our advertising facility, anticipating anyone approaching your monitor to get that BRANDING, and we don't care what you, our user, thinks about that"?
Comment 10 Bastián Díaz 2019-06-26 04:55:01 UTC
(In reply to Mike Kaganski from comment #8)
> I - again - suppose that having guidelines to icon creation when the icon is
> based on the official logo - is enough, vs making app icons part of the
> "branding".
>

It sounds good, but that does not currently exist. I already mentioned how some styles totally differ from the concept of the original logo (karasa Jaga) and how others only modify their color palette (Colibre). There is no consistency nor at that level.

> You cannot limit the amount of UI elements appearing on
> different marketing materials, and if any of them would then fall into that
> category of "we want branding", we'll end up in a miserable state of having
> part of UI "customized" to match environment, and other - highly prominent -
> parts visually different-styled, creating very unprofessional, very untidy
> look and feel.
> 

Do not get confused, we are not talking about Marketing and even only part of what is Branding (visual identity). Come on, I'm not talking about changing everything, you can match with the interface of a specific system by imitating its design of "folder", "format", "undo", etc. Only maintain a consistent visual identity that would apply to the logo and its derivatives.

What is not professional is not to consider it for a project as big as LibreOffice. On the other hand if you want to improve the "look and feel" in general, you can propose to improve the current visual elements, so that they fit modern design trends.

> If we need something to represent apps in marketing papers, then better come
> with something very stylized and not related to icons in start center,

That is what is currently used!

> which
> would represent e.g. activity, not buttons used to start the apps. This way,
> you decouple the icons and marketing.
> 

In practice it is the same and I insist, I mentioned that particular example because it is the most obvious, but there are other places where those icons are used.

> Also, I don't believe in a need to insist on "branding" for *users* of our
> software, who decide to customize. It's like "we insist that our app must look > this way, because "we want branding" - for unclear reason, maybe to keep
> reminding you, our existing user, that you are using our app, because we
> believe you may have forgotten that fact, and we won't let you choose a 
> different look of some elements, because of BRANDING!!!1111 Or - maybe we 
> consider *your workplace* our advertising facility, anticipating anyone 
> approaching your monitor to get that BRANDING, and we don't care what you, our  > user, thinks about that"?

Irony never brings a healthy discussion.

Nevermind, do you really believe that the intangible image of LibreOffice is so solid to omit a clear visual identity? You can not put the customization above everything else. The end user can always choose because thanks to FLOSS he can do it, but that does not mean that there should not be minimum criteria of the software that distributes TDF directly.

[1] https://www.libreoffice.org/discover/libreoffice/
Comment 11 Mike Kaganski 2019-06-26 05:35:05 UTC
(In reply to Bastián Díaz from comment #10)
> (In reply to Mike Kaganski from comment #8)
> > I - again - suppose that having guidelines to icon creation when the icon is
> > based on the official logo - is enough, vs making app icons part of the
> > "branding".
> >
> 
> It sounds good, but that does not currently exist. I already mentioned how
> some styles totally differ from the concept of the original logo (karasa
> Jaga) and how others only modify their color palette (Colibre). There is no
> consistency nor at that level.

Note that my wording doesn't imply that customized app icons *should* be based on the logo; only that *if* they are based on it, *then* they should follow some guidelines (and I suppose that existing guidelines wrt the logo is enough). I would agree that KJ styling seems too resembling the logo (having the page), but at the same time, is too different, breaking the logo guidelines (already existing: they tell about the ratio, the position and styling of the corner etc, and simply following that would already make it consistent). Again: I don't think that the app icons should be based on the logo in all customizations.

> > Also, I don't believe in a need to insist on "branding" for *users* of our
> > software, who decide to customize. It's like "we insist that our app must look > this way, because "we want branding" - for unclear reason, maybe to keep
> > reminding you, our existing user, that you are using our app, because we
> > believe you may have forgotten that fact, and we won't let you choose a 
> > different look of some elements, because of BRANDING!!!1111 Or - maybe we 
> > consider *your workplace* our advertising facility, anticipating anyone 
> > approaching your monitor to get that BRANDING, and we don't care what you, our  > user, thinks about that"?
> 
> Irony never brings a healthy discussion.
> 
> Nevermind, do you really believe that the intangible image of LibreOffice is
> so solid to omit a clear visual identity? You can not put the customization
> above everything else. The end user can always choose because thanks to
> FLOSS he can do it, but that does not mean that there should not be minimum
> criteria of the software that distributes TDF directly.

Heh, you seem to miss the idea I tried to emphasize by the irony: that your proposal affects only those who are already using the software; and that suggests that you must be right wrt "Irony never brings a healthy discussion".

I just don't agree that the app icons should be made part of that "intangible image of LibreOffice". I find it nice that only the logo is part of it. The more things you make part of it, the more difficult it becomes to maintain and evolve. Without actual benefit really, because, as I already mentioned, the discussed proposal tells about what already existing users may notice, and which doesn't improve the "intangible image of LibreOffice" it the existing userbase view.
Comment 12 Bastián Díaz 2019-06-26 06:51:24 UTC
(In reply to Mike Kaganski from comment #11)

> Note that my wording doesn't imply that customized app icons *should* be
> based on the logo; only that *if* they are based on it, *then* they should
> follow some guidelines (and I suppose that existing guidelines wrt the logo
> is enough). I would agree that KJ styling seems too resembling the logo
> (having the page), but at the same time, is too different, breaking the logo
> guidelines (already existing: they tell about the ratio, the position and
> styling of the corner etc, and simply following that would already make it
> consistent). Again: I don't think that the app icons should be based on the
> logo in all customizations.
> 

And again it comes to the same thing, inconsistency of a key visual element. You assume that the customization is good as a premise and also this may or may not be based on an established element (logo). In the end you could see any design and be fine.


> I just don't agree that the app icons should be made part of that
> "intangible image of LibreOffice". 

Of course, we agree on that. The icons of applications are part of the visual identity of LibreOffice and it is a tangible element of its image, which is not respected in the software itself, since it is placed on top of this the "non-standardized" customization.

> I find it nice that only the logo is part
> of it. The more things you make part of it, the more difficult it becomes to
> maintain and evolve. Without actual benefit really, because, as I already
> mentioned, the discussed proposal tells about what already existing users
> may notice, and which doesn't improve the "intangible image of LibreOffice"
> it the existing userbase view.

Curious, some concrete examples here.
- The logo is used for the main app/start center, however it is replaced by the customization, even though you consider that it is the only thing that should be maintained.
- I think it's harder to keep X different icons and T different styles, than a concrete one that can be used equally by all of them.
- The visual elements to which I have mentioned are used everywhere, except in the software. With this I do not say that it is not included, however, it is placed below other layers such as customization, so for example, there are users of macOS or some gnu/linux distro that do not relate the icons of applications with those used on the web, wiki, help, etc. You should not assume that every user should know what LibreOffice is.
. Having a clear visual identity improves both the tangible and intangible image of any organization.
Comment 13 Rizal Muttaqin 2019-06-26 08:02:10 UTC
Thank you Bastian for the report.

I have been thinking about this since the first time I designed the icons. If we look down to current situation, at least Karasa Jaga and Breeze are the two icons  that use "non-compliant" (or whatever you called it). But as far as I know, the startcenter itself from ooo era does not show application icons rather than __MIMETYPE__. So our focus should be towards that direction. So my question is, in which time the ODF mimetype "should" follow application icons? That's the strange thing currently LibO has from the first it was born/forked. TDF >< LibreOffice main app; LibreOffice module >< theirs mimetype are using the same visual appearance. This lead to confusion identity. This discussion is a very clear proof the existence of the confusing brand. 

I personally don't mind if I have to change the mime icon in the StarCenter as long as we start to tyding up LibO brand itself. For now I prefer to keep it as is in current state.
Comment 14 Bastián Díaz 2019-06-26 18:26:53 UTC
(In reply to Rizal Muttaqin from comment #13)
> Thank you Bastian for the report.
> 
> I have been thinking about this since the first time I designed the icons.
> If we look down to current situation, at least Karasa Jaga and Breeze are
> the two icons  that use "non-compliant" (or whatever you called it). But as
> far as I know, the startcenter itself from ooo era does not show application
> icons rather than __MIMETYPE__. So our focus should be towards that
> direction. So my question is, in which time the ODF mimetype "should" follow
> application icons? That's the strange thing currently LibO has from the
> first it was born/forked. TDF >< LibreOffice main app; LibreOffice module ><
> theirs mimetype are using the same visual appearance. This lead to confusion
> identity. This discussion is a very clear proof the existence of the
> confusing brand. 
> 

This makes more sense. I was doing a historical review of how Start Center looked in previous versions (OOorg) and had reached that conclusion.

It would be more reasonable theoretically to rethink the design of LibreOffice backup mimetype, although if you are looking for integration with the base operating system, use mimetypes design of style icons instead of apps icons (I do not know if it would be technically possible to use the mimetypes provided by the operating system/desktop environment Instead).

> I personally don't mind if I have to change the mime icon in the StarCenter
> as long as we start to tyding up LibO brand itself.

It sounds good

> For now I prefer to keep
> it as is in current state.

I understand Although ideally it would be good to plan a discussion at some point (design team) even if it is not a priority. Thank you.