OK, *now* you can bikeshed!

Eric S. Raymond esr at thyrsus.com
Sat Aug 27 08:42:29 UTC 2016

Mark: Heads up, PR issue.

In the dark and backward abysm of time near the beginning of this
project, I designed us a logo. It's the one used at
www.ntpsec.org. Here it is:


Historical note: The thought in my mind when I made this was that
I wanted an image that unified time with security.  Thus, a clock
tower crossed with a fortification tower. The step from that to "chess
rook with a clockface" was almost instant.  Then I went looking for
two pieces of free clip-art I could composit with the GIMP, and found

More recently, Mark Atwood's sister very kindly designed us a
shaded/sculpted version of the same concept. It's the one used on
our GitLab pages. Here it is:


The question I lay before you is: should we drop one of these?  If
not, what are the appropriate usage conditions for deploying either
rather than the other?

Now I will say an obvious thing and an unobvious thing.  The obvious
thing is that the second is much prettier.  The unobvious thing is
that I have zero ego investment in keeping my original in use.

However, the brutalist #1 is not brutal merely because I am a poor
excuse for a visual artist who couldn't compose anything like #2 to
save my life.  I've read stuff about optimizing logo design - had to
choose a logo for an organization more than once (and the rather
successful OSI logo was one of my choices).

Simple is good.  Fewer colors and shades makes a design easier and
less expensive to replicate at different sizes and in different media.
#1 can readily be printed on clothing; #2 is much trickier, you'd
basically have to print it on an applique and bond that to the cloth.

So the actual question here is what we want to optimize for. If it's
visual appeal on the Web and in other media where the shading renders
well, absolutely #2.  If we want consistency and recognizability
across all media (including low-rez stuff like silkscreening) #1 is
a better choice.

We could use both.  But if we're going to do that, we need a
deployment theory.  Also (and I sold open source to the mainstream
partly by taking issues like this seriously, so don't snort) there's
a brand dilution problem when you use two logos that aren't very close
variants of each other.  Strong brands have unitary visual identities.

I don't have a particular answer to this question that I want to sell.
Supposing I did, it wouldn't be my place to make the decision. The
individual with responsibility is Mark, our PM and external-relations
person.  But it would be nice if the project had consensus about symbolic
stuff like this, too.
		<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>

Hoplophobia (n.): The irrational fear of weapons, correctly described by 
Freud as "a sign of emotional and sexual immaturity".  Hoplophobia, like
homophobia, is a displacement symptom; hoplophobes fear their own
"forbidden" feelings and urges to commit violence.  This would be
harmless, except that they project these feelings onto others.  The
sequelae of this neurosis include irrational and dangerous behaviors
such as passing "gun-control" laws and trashing the Constitution.

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