What is the Open Source Branding Project?
Open source software is powerful stuff. It runs the world, and underlies most of the technology we use today. Gone are the days of Open Source being looked at with suspicion by [governments], or [large corporations].
This is good, but one thing which hasn't changed so much is the approach which open source projects take towards design, in particular the fluffier kinds like branding and visual design. 16 color terminals, and tight compact IRC channels are still seen as the lifeblood of open source development and a focus on pretty logos or snazzy buttons can often be met with sneers of derision ([This argument has been] [bouncing around the design community] [since time immemorial]).
Visual design is seen as useless, perhaps even a little childish. Open source doesn't need good visual design. Afterall, it's not a product being sold or advertised.
This idea is false. In fact, open source projects need good branding more than close sourced projects.
- Closed Source projects have their own ad and marketing departments which can easily drown out good open source products. Good code does nothing if no one ever can hear about the project.
- Close sourced software used for development purposes doesn't need anyone to know about it, except the few developers who use the product, while open source projects need as many people to know about it in order to gain users and contributors.
The goals if this project is to provide a place for open source projects to seek help from designers, and to model a solution towards design work which is native to the open source methodology. This means:
- Treating design work like code in a repo
- Utilizing open source and transparent project management solutions like git source control, wiki documentation, and github issue tracking.
- Standardarizing the design creation process in such a way that it can be forked or tweaked by other organizations to their own needs.
- Allowing for a decentralized collaborative multi-designer fork and merge process.
- Providing resources for open source collaborators to bootstrap their own design process. This means listing resource troves for design tools, providing free templates for design work, and guides on improving open source projects branding and visual design in low investment high reward ways.
This is a hybrid repo, work in progress where I plan to keep information and production files for open source projects that have expressed interest in getting help with visual design and branding. If you want help:
[please log an issue here]
[For examples of my work click here]. I am not looking for clients, I'm looking to model a new paradigm for open source projects to work.
Q: How is branding different than just making a logo?
A: Branding is bigger than just a logo. It encompasses the entire thought process and implementation of a [brand identity]. [Brand] identity includes things like logos, but it also includes the brand name itself, variations of the logo, the brandmark, brand colors, the typography used, the kinds of illustration or photostyles used, the style of prose writing, styles guides, etc.
A logo is a specific instantiation of a part of the brand identity. A brand identity is the system of collected artifacts and guidelines that make up a brand, and The Brand as a whole is the conceptual underpinning, the narrative and story meant to be communicated about the project.
Q: What can I expect when I make a branding request?
A: It means I (or anyone who wants to join this project with a history of design work behind them) will make a branding package for the open source project. This is meant to be a collaborative process which will be openly discussed using the github ticketing system. I'm still adjusting the overall structure of this project, but my plan is to have a template repo which can then be forked, and added back into this project using git submodules.
(the below is a work in progress and will change over time) A specific list of artifacts created for a brand identity would be as follows:
- Type and Font Palette
- Brand-mark, B/W and W/B
- Monochrome Logo, B/W and W/B
- Full color logo render
- Mood board presentation for general brand aesethetic guidelines.
Other possible things based on the context of the project can be icons, icon families, Design System Libraries or examples.
- create branding template toolkit with separate repo, added as a git submodule.
- rearrange old projects to live in example directory
- add illustrations and visual examples to README guide.
- create resources folder with resource guide and templates or utilities created for this project not included in the default branding package repo
- create guides folder with design guide information. Focus on immediately applicable best practices like improving markdown files etc.