Logo Contest

Anthony Atkielski atkielski.anthony at wanadoo.fr
Wed Feb 9 15:32:34 PST 2005

There's a distinction between a logo and a mascot.

A logo is a distinctive identifier (often registered as a trademark,
although this is isn't required) that is associated with a product or
service; a mascot is a fictional or real creature or person who inspires
or represents the spirit of a product, service, or organization.

It's possible to change a logo without changing a mascot, and vice
versa.  The other organizations already mentioned here, such as
universities, sandwich-spread manufacturers, etc., often have _both_
mascots and logos.  Pilsbury and McDonald's have mascots AND logos.  And
so on.

The main interest in developing a logo doesn't have to do with religion
at all, as I see it: it's just a matter of practical economics and
business. Most logos in the open-source world are extremely complex
(penguins, multicolored feathers, etc.)--they are hard to prepare for
display and very expensive to print. Full-color halftones look pretty,
but they require things like trapped four-color offset printing with
screens to produce the kind of shaded images that people tend to come up
with. Logos, on the other hand, tend to be simple, distinctive designs
that are cheap and easy to format and print for display or paper
documents; they don't normally require trapping or screens and can be
printed in just one or two colors instead of process colors, and also
usually look okay in grayscale or monochrome.

It seems that this contest isn't actually underway, but here's an
example of something I cooked up to look like a logo (not to be confused
with a mascot--which I have no talent for, anyway):


This logo concept uses ITC Garamond Bold (traditionally associated with
FreeBSD and the BSDs generally) as the typeface for the logotype, thus
retaining a link with prior generations of BSD (and showing kinship with
other versions of BSD, such as NetBSD). I've adjusted the spacing of the
logotype to tighten up the characters a bit.

The squared oval surrounding the logotype represents continuous
operation. The figure at the lower right is both a heart (representing
the fondness that FreeBSD users have for the operating system) and, in
conjunction with the oval, a symbolic pointed tail--an indirect
reference to the original Beastie. The gold color for the oval
represents reliability; the red color of the rest of logo again is an
indirect reference to the original (red) Beastie.

The simplicity of the logo makes it inexpensive to print on paper (it
can be printed monochrome or with simple two-color offset, or with
process offset).  There are no complex halftones or shadings or fine
details that might be difficult to print or might become muddy or fuzzy
when resizing the logo for display.

The spot colors used are Pantone 144 CVU (gold) and Pantone 187 CVU
(red). These can be easily converted to CMYK, RGB, grayscale, etc., as
required.  I created the original design with Adobe Illustrator.

Obviously this is very different from a mascot, but (whether you happen
to like this example or not) it illustrates the characteristics required
of a logo: simplicity and inexpensive implementation (no rainbow colors
or anything).


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