Re: GNOME colors

On Sat, Dec 16, 2000 at 09:05:25PM -0500, digitect wrote:

>> I think there's little disagreement that the current site is a vast
>> improvement over the old one.
> I'm not sure I would agree. One of the things I first noticed about GNOME
> was the softer tone of the web site. I tire of getting hit with primaries
> and contrast at every page I go to, and the old GNOME site was a refreshing
> change. (No offense intended Joakim, just my preference.)

See my mail to Ryan Muldoon for a comprehensive explanation of the background
for the current design.

>> Additionally, some of the colors in the GNOME color scheme (especially as
>> used on the old site) are plain bad, visually. Low-saturation greyish browns
>> are extremely dreary colors (while reducing the contrast of the entire site,
>> and thus the readability). There are also different goals for the visual
>> design of a desktop people are supposed to use for 10 hours a day, every day,
>> and a website that serves as an information and promotion channel for that
>> same desktop. Specifically, you have a much shorter time to make and
>> impression, so being less subdued (in color use, design, etc.) is necessary
>> to capture the user and build brand recognition.

> This is *definitely* a matter of aesthetic opinion. What you say is "dreary"
> I think is easy on the eyes. Fact is, when you stare at a monitor 10 hours a
> day, a slightly lower intensity and contrast is more desirable. (Not too
> much of course, just a little.)

As mentioned elewhere, you're not going to be staring at the GNOME website
for 10 hours every day. Also, please read the literature on the impact of
contrast on legibility and comprehension (Nielsen has a few good passages on

> Also, I don't care about making a visual splash and capturing the casual
> visitor to the site through theatrics. GNOME is better. That's why you would
> want to use it. Let's make the site *clear*, useful and navigable and let
> the user judge for himself whether or not GNOME is better. Sooner or later,
> flash runs out of steam, and they'll go on to something else. There's a
> saying in architecture: "If you can't make it good, make it big. If you
> can't make it big, paint it red." Let's just make it good.

If you have a good way of showing people the total spectrum of quality that
GNOME represents in the 5-10 seconds a typical user will dedicate to the
front page of an average site before he either gets interested or moves on,
please let me know.

Please do not erect strawman arguments like this. I'm clearly not arguing
that we make it good-looking instead of good, I'm saying we do both.

> Ok, now my turn. Try these on:


Personally, I find these colors to be awfully bland and boring. Others might

> (This one
> is *not* intended to be a real proposal, just a way of testing icons against
> a gray on charcoal scheme.)

> The first test comp is obviously neutral. But as you can see from the
> developer alternative, with neutrality comes flexibility. If we make the
> main GNOME site's colors too strong, the myriad related application and
> project sites will have much more of a struggle to maintain/create their own
> identity while still incorporating some flavor of the central GNOME site.
> Take the current site's "pastels". Anybody else using them? Of course not,
> because it's too strong to be identifiable as anything other than the main
> site.

I don't think it's our goal to make a reusable design framework of some kind,
which can be used by any random project site that happens to be related to
GNOME. It might be a good idea to have such a framework, to make it easier
for GNOME projects to create attractive and presentable web pages without too
much work, but that's a separate effort from the main GNOME pages.

There are many good reasons for *not* encouraging a spread/bastardization of
the design, such as the confusion that would arise, with people potentially
confusing random project sites and the main sites, possibly with content
whose quality or reliability we can't vounch for, etc. This is known as brand
dilution, and is considered a Bad Thing.

So let's create this design with the GNOME sites in mind, not with generic
project sites, for whose sake we need to be bland and nonintrusive. Gods know
it's a big enough job as it is.

> I guess I'm trying to say that these pages, like the desktop, is a canvas on
> which many projects and applications are painted. It isn't supposed to stand
> out, just be a good supporting structure. Let's keep it clear and somewhat
> neutral. It can still be kickin if the composition is proportional and we
> express style through the subtler things.

As I've said countless times, feel free to create a wonderful site design
using these colors. I'm still not willing to let the use or non-use of brown
become a deciding factor in whether or not a design is "good enough for the
GNOME sites".

Joakim Ziegler - Helix Code web monkey - joakim helixcode com - Radagast IRC
      FIX sysop - free software coder - FIDEL & Conglomerate developer

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