Artwork Quality (was Re: Sound themes)

Mairin Duffy duffy at
Wed Oct 29 04:13:35 UTC 2008

Matthias Clasen wrote:
> On Tue, 2008-10-28 at 20:33 -0400, Mairin Duffy wrote:
>> This is the problem - not talking about anything in particular, making 
>> very general and vague statements without any specifics.
> Well, the quality of artwork to a large extent consists of the general
> feeling that it gives the users. Which is a somewhat vague and
> unspecific thing, and varies from person to person. It is next to
> impossible to identify the one or two specific things that are wrong 
> to cause the impression. I'll try anyway: the default Fedora backgrounds
> are stuck in an 'abstract, blue' box for a long time now. Jon's timeline
> (that you dismissed as 'just screenshots') shows this very nicely. 

Okay. I remember very specifically that after F7 we were asked to focus 
more on abstract backgrounds. For example:

"something much less branded and image-based"

We have kept this up for a while so perhaps it is time to try to go back 
to the image-based artwork.

With Fedora 8 particularly I remember we had some purple in the artwork 
and we received a lot of negative feedback on it (not from Jef, of 
course) because it wasn't blue so we haven't ventured there again but it 
may be worth another shot.

I was not trying to dismiss Jon's timeline as unuseful, just that it 
doesn't really provide any analysis, just an overview. There is a lot 
that could be concluded from it.

>> I understand that there are a small number of very vocal desktop team 
>> members who do not like the artwork very much. We have known this for 2 
>> years now. I have never seen any specific feedback about how the artwork 
>> is inappropriate nor any discussion about what audience they would like 
>> it to be designed for from these individuals. They seem to be in the 
>> minority, 
> This I can just not let stand. Mairin. The old us vs. them game again. 
> While some desktop team members may be more vocal and harsh in their
> critique than others (and, as you pointed out yourself, not native
> speakers, this applies in both directions), I can assure you that the
> dissatisfaction with some of the Fedora art is not limited to them. 

I can understand an occasional slip up, believe me, but not a habit of 
being so extremely abrasive.
>> Okay. Let's discuss these questions then rather than harping on the fact 
>> that 'we may disagree on things and should discuss them':
>> - who do you think the audience for Fedora is / should be?
>> - what are the problems you see in the Fedora 10 wallpaper with that 
>> audience in mind?
> Here I guess we come to the core of the problem. To cite the marketing
> material you refer to further down:
>       * Free and open source software enthusiasts, developers, and
>         remixers.
> I haven't polled the entire team about it, but I can pretty much
> guarantee you that this description is _not_ what we see as the target
> audience for the Fedora Desktop.

Okay, so we may need to bring Fedora marketing into the discussion as to 
who Fedora's target audiences are since it seems the marketing team is 
marketing to the wrong audience, at least as far as the desktop spin is 
concerned? Perhaps marketing should develop different target 
audiences/strategy depending on the part of Fedora being marketed since 
maybe the audiences are different depending on the particular spin or 
other part of Fedora involved.
>       * General desktop users
> Comes probably much closer to what most Desktop team members have in
> mind for their audience (of course, it is too vague to be very useful).

The vagueness is the problem.
> Going back to the second question, and looking at the F10 wallpaper: 
> A blue sun ? Who is that supposed to appeal to, apart from the SciFi
> audience ? I admit that there is probably a larger overlap between 'open
> source enthusiasts' and SciFi fans than between 'general desktop users'
> and SciFi fans...

Honestly? How about a big abstract orange bird? Or green swirls? Or a 
field with flowers? Or an aurora in space?

Of course if you pose it in that way it sounds ridiculous. A lot of 
highly-ranked wallpapers on deviantart though, for example, are 
space-themed. When the concept was proposed in round 1, I don't remember 
there being any complaints about it; there was a lot of enthusiasm about 
Samuele's mockups.

>> Our focus right now is on the default wallpapers and other branded bits 
>> (firstboot/anaconda/syslinux/various splashes/media and 
>> sleeves/banners/etc) and we've never really done anything with the other 
>> wallpapers that ship by default. We usually are so busy with the default 
>> design that the non-default wallpapers become an afterthought since they 
>> are explicitly scheduled or planned, we just take what upstream gives 
>> us. For F11, I don't know if you think it's a good idea, we could try to 
>> have a focus on the others too and cleaning up some of the cruft that is 
>> in our wallpaper packages (there are some really horrible looking 
>> wallpaper tiles in one of the packages that the rpm post then deletes, 
>> for example.)
> Indeed, the focus on the default background to the exclusion of anything
> else is very detrimental to the consistency of the background set we
> ship. I've mentioned this repeatedly in the past.

I honestly don't remember your bringing that up so I apologize. I also 
honestly did not think the artwork team *could* do that? There is always 
the mantra of upstream, upstream, so I had thought the default wallpaper 
should be Fedora, but the rest should be GNOME and I do not remember any 
proposals to the contrary to be honest. It's I guess the way it has been 
for a long time and it may be a good idea to change.

Do you think we should have our own *set* of Fedora wallpapers and not 
ship the GNOME defaults by default? Or should we be working with the 
GNOME art team upstream to change those defaults? (But is that 
appropriate, to be influencing upstream's default to be shipping 
wallpapers specifically chosen to 'go' with Fedora's brand?)

> Again, looking at
> Jon's document, it becomes very clear. We are shipping a bunch of
> backgrounds basically unchanged since F1. We are shipping a slowly
> changing set of upstream backgrounds. And we are shipping the default
> background, which is always abstract and blue.
> I look forward to continue this discussion with you, but please leave
> out the talk about chainsaws in the future. It makes me feel uneasy.

This entire topic makes me feel uneasy. Hopefully this can be turned around.


More information about the Fedora-art-list mailing list