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Artwork Quality (was Re: Sound themes)

William Jon McCann wrote:
It is not often fun to be told that your work is not good enough or

It seems you've hijacked a thread about sound themes to indirectly allude that the art team's work is not good enough or appropriate. If you do believe this, it would be better to give direct feedback rather than beat around the bush. Specific critiques about the Fedora 10 artwork, which I think exceeds the F9 artwork by far, would be greatly appreciated. Also, please consider that we have a number of non-native English speakers here who might not necessarily pick up on the nuances of your message.

And it is an essential part of how human
development works. You simply can't grow without it.
In this aspect, art design is no different from software design.

I trust that was meant with the best of intentions, so I'm sad to admit I can't help finding this somewhat patronizing, sorry.

You would be right to point out here that we don't all agree on what
our audience is and what our product should feel like.
That is indeed a serious problem.

How do you propose to fix it?

Another problem is how you define who the judges are.  Do you try to
poll your audience? (requires you to clearly define the audience) Do
you trust your peers?  (must define peers)  Do you trust the

While you have not come out and said directly to what you would like to apply these questions to, I'm happy to be quite direct and state that we have done all of the above on the art team. Over the past few releases we've tried different things and learning from them. "Growing as human beings" you could say, I suppose.

It is a tough problem.  But it always goes back to
audience.  Otherwise you may create something that is beautiful,
complete, and wrong.

Again, I can't help but feel a bit patronized.

I think that the desktop wallpapers we've used by default are a good
example of this:

Why not just say the Fedora 9 wallpapers sucked instead of going to all that effort? I wouldn't argue with you on it. There were some real stinkers before we had a community art process as well. Same with the bits of the release in general, we've had some real stinkers with some broken bits shipped out of the box. So artwork and code, we've never been perfect every release. Even so, there are quite a few fans of the F9 wallpaper despite its suckage.

Switching gears slightly.  When resources are limited, fragmentation
often results in inconsistency.  Or, when the problem space is too
large or unbounded the best we can do is to define standards.  For
desktop apps we have the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.  For icon
themes we have the Tango guidelines, and the upcoming Mango
guidelines.  Widget themes are slightly different because the problem
is basically bounded - there are only so many widgets to theme.

Artwork is a little different and harder to pin down than GUI design guidelines (which are also very difficult to pin down except on the very top, surface level which is all the GNOME HIG itself has actual clear guidelines for.) We have some basic guidelines that the artwork adhere to a theme that can be clearly linked back to the spirit and goals of Fedora. Its base color is typically a shade of blue that is the same or complementary to the official Fedora logo colors. We have specific guidelines about resolution, aspect ratio, elements (where the logo is and isn't allowed), and formats for every bit of artwork we put into the release. These requirements, of course, are just as surface-level as the guidelines for widget usage in the HIG.

Just as you can't follow a formula like the GNOME HIG and pop out a beautiful, usable interface, you can't follow a formula like the Fedora theme guidelines and pop out a beautiful theme. The magic inbetween that makes something good is design. I'm quite saddened by the fact that you don't seem to believe this team has or is capable of having that magic, but I suppose to relate it to coding as you did in your message, perhaps not everyone felt Linus had the magic or capability to develop the magic necessary to start a real, usable operating system.

I suppose you could suggest we hire a professional Artist to sit in a room by themselves and design the entire theme all by themselves to get something beautiful, perfect, and befitting our high-quality desktop, but then you'd be in conflict designing artwork in a closed manner for a community operating system. It's not really fair to make comparisons to how software development and code works only when it is convenient so let's be fair and complete the analogy.

The thing is, when one person designs things in a vaccuum, you only ever see the end product and you never see the work-in-progress so the end result I think always seems so impressive than if you had seen it develop in stages. Unfortunately with the open process we have here, it is quite easy to judge works before they have fully formed and thus adopt an unfair bias against a final work that otherwise may have seemed quite satisfactory.

So, back to sound themes.  I am maintaining the default freedesktop
sound theme.  It is very new, incomplete, and definitely a bit rough.
If anyone has any high quality sounds that meet the guidelines listed
in the README please let me know.

It probably would have been better if you started a new thread since I am sure this was lost in the heat of all of the above so I've started a new one for you.

One thing that we need to stop right now is the "us" versus "them"

That would be great, I really look forward to this! It's a real shame. all the aggression that's happening on fedora-desktop-list concerning the artwork. The artwork list was left off of the cc as well, which makes me think the thread was started only to cause strife and not to help improve things (if it was meant constructively I don't understand leaving out the very folks involved in the decision it ranted about.) It's that kind of aggressive, adversarial behavior that really makes me question why I bother. (maybe from your POV it would be a good thing if I quit the art team, who knows) But I certainly don't see that type of behavior coming from the art team in the reverse direction, for sure.

I've heard that there is a long and sorted history between
the Fedora art and desktop groups.  Frankly, I don't know or care
about any of that.  It is all in the past.  We need to focus on
creating the right product for the right people and making it feel
beautiful.  Let's do it.

How do you propose we "do it" since it seems clear to me that you feel we are not doing it?


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