NLnet Gives KOffice a New Logo and Sponsors ODF development

The Dutch NLnet foundation aims to financially support organisations and people that contribute to an open information society. Some time ago they decided to help KOffice in two exciting ways: to sponsor the design of a new logo for KOffice, with matching logo designs for all KOffice applications, and to sponsor Girish Ramakrishnan to improve the ODF support in KWord 2.0. The KOffice team is deeply grateful to NLnet for this support!

Girish Ramakrishnan, a former Trolltech employee, has already started on implementing a thorough test suite for ODF text loading. Helping him are Thomas Zander and Thorsten Zachmann, two old-time members of the KOffice team. In his own words:

"I am working on getting ODF support up to speed in KWord, my work being sponsored by NLNet. As the first step, I
have spent my time now automating the ODF testsuite at the OpenDocument Fellowship....

"So far, I have found some basic tests are failing - loading of lists, possibly superfluous spaces/blocks. I have patches coming up."

KOffice has done without a real logo forever: we used to use the application icon of KOShell, a rainbow, but that was hardly a real logo, and besides, everybody, including the primary school your correspondent attended, uses a rainbow. But coming up with a good logo is hard, and we postponed and postponed the task.

But then NLnet proposed to retain the services of designer Michiel van Kleef of 30 Media. Michiel was faced with a very hard brief: to design a logo, not an icon, for KOffice which combines business and creativity in one, integrated package. After consultation with the KOffice team we arrived at the following logo:

This great design suggested to Michiel the possibility of doing variations on it for the individual applications that KOffice consists of. While KOffice itself has got the KDE color blue, the business applications get orange:




And the graphical applications get purple (and it's good to see that Karbon2 opens the official SVG sources correctly):


KPlato, the project planner application that is coming along amazingly well for KOffice 2.0 is the odd one out, and gets red:

The helper applications KChart and KFormula are green:


There is also a logo for Kugar, the report writing component in KOffice 1, which will probably be replaced by Adam Pigg's promising new report component in KOffice 2:

All with a subtle, but apposite variations on the design in the circle.

Now all that remains to be done is updating the KOffice website and prepare some t-shirts for Akademy!


I see your point, but I have to beg to differ:

Word looks like a W - and a sheet of paper
Excel looks lik a sylized XL on a spreadsheet background
Powerpoint looks like a Piechart which makes people think presentation
Access has a key, which is a symbol for locked/secured data
Outlook looks like a clock - since it's primarily a calendar
Publisher has a big P and looks like a Page layout document.

Even Office newbies understand theses symbols.

Icons/Logos should be self explanatory. Only if the company/product is big and well known it can afford abstract (albeit very, very pretty :) ) meaningless symbols.

I also think that Logos and Icons should be RELATED. That helps a lot.

Please no flame!

Thanks for helping out with ODF btw.

By anon at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

My point is that if I saw a yellow clock, I don't think I would have considered that it was calendar program (outlook), but now that I have seen Outlook and the yellow clock a thousand times, I can associate the two.

>Only if the company/product is big and well known it can afford abstract (albeit very, very pretty :) )

I agree here. No company starts out big. And few companies change their logos significantly (key word) when they do get big.

>I also think that Logos and Icons should be RELATED. That helps a lot.

Definitely agree.

Honestly, I don't know if I'm right or not, but imho, I think the koffice logos are very nice, and I certainly respect the position that they should look more relevant to what the program does, but I just don't agree.

By rat at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

> Same as the koffice icons. unique and look nice. This is important when dealing with brand recognition. Once you associate the brand with the logo, then you can recognize the logo with the brand.

I agree the logo doesn't need to look like what the application does; I would argue that it does help a lot when it does though (e.g. a logo that obviously looks like it's got something to do with TV will perk your interest if you're on the look out for TV stuff). This point aside, I don't agree the koffice icons are unique from each other. They look nice, but they all look very very similar. They don't look like object (e.g. a wolf, a dragon, a pie chart) that your brain will recognise and label, but random lines with random coloured bits. I could look at some of them, wait 1 minute and I wouldn't be able to pick it out from a line-up from other koffice icons. Most people are never going to be able to tell them apart. The amarok wolf is unique and memorable for example.

By Bob at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

please don't flame me either, but I agree with the post.

By AD at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Also the main post.

By AD at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

One factoid that many people have not taken into consideration is that in KOffice you can start KWord and end up editing a spreadsheet in it with almost the same power as if you would have started the spreadsheet app.
This goes for the editing of almost all content in just about all koffice apps. So we are seeing that the apps themselves are just a guide towards your final output, or just that you feel more comfortable in one app vs. another.

This means that while the list of applications is long the difference between starting one application over another is not that big. I think that this is reflected in the logos very nicely.

Over time this concept will only grow stronger in the vision of the koffice team. A logo is something that will be around for quite some time, so there is some looking into the future included here. A logo is surely meant to outlive an icon theme.

By Thomas Zander at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Completely aggree with OP.

By Anders E. Andersen at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am

They look great. These logo (which I am sure would look good as icon) follow a specific style which great, the user would able see these applications are part of the office suite.

By Michael Wright at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Hm. I actually quite like the logos from an artistic/designers point of view.

How are the application icons supposed to look? If these are specifically *logos* and not *icons* - how are the two going to relate?

Normally, icons and logos are quite similar, which is a Good Thing (tm) from a branding and brand recognition point of view.

Maybe the same overall design, but with a symbol related to the actual application in the center of the circles (i.e. the same colors as the logos for each application, but with e.g. a page of text for kword or a spreadsheet symbol for kspread in the center of the circles instead of these unrelated symbols)?

By Frando at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Yes I agrea totaly, I have no idea what I shoud do with the oxygen koffice icons we did....
Should I just redo this in icon sizes with some nice outline???

By nuno pinheiro at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Why don't you try and see what comes out of it? No one better than you for this task, Nuno.

By NabLa at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

I think the Oxygen icons are great, and I could imagine making sense of them without a key. My vote is to stick with them.

By anon at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

With this logo "icon" I can't see clearly for what the hell the application for. It has to have an indication of for what is for in the icon...

By Autumn Autist at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am

With this logo "icon" I can't see clearly for what the hell the application for. It has to have an indication of for what is for in the icon...

By Autumn Autist at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am

Why should you need to do anything with the oxygen icons? They mostly look good and work, so why change.

If you really want to make changes. Then perhaps including the colours from the logos into the icon some subtle way, to get a bridge from icon to logo.

By Morty at Wed, 2008/04/23 - 5:00am

These are fantastic! Well done!

By p.daniels at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

very nice logos indeed, a pleasure look at! congratulations

By Peter at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

The new logos are awesome!

Very simple, cool, distinct and recognizable. Nice!
The only thing is... they're not that intuitive.
Also, there must be only so many variations available. What happens in a few years when new apps have been added to the suite?

But overall, congratulations!
Now we'll just see how good the applications have become.

By Yeah Right at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Pink is really a bit too much for me. I'd prefer sth. a little less obtrusive. Otherwise they look really great though.

By Michael at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

That is purple, not pink. And the purple is dangerously close to magenta territory. I think we could choose a regal shade of purple.

By T. J. Brumfield at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Mmm. Looks pink on my monitor. Oh, well.

By Michael at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

I'll go with the crowd.

I have no idea what some of these apps do, and the logos, while cute(and weird), even make me scratch my head trying to figure what are we talking about.

If you say it's a office suite, okay, I figured it out by reading KOffice, then you have KWord, KSpread, KPresenter, KChart and KFormula, I might have a little idea about what they do, I'm not so sure about the last two. Kivio sounds like Visio, so it might also be a diagramming software.

Okay, for real, I use Krita all the time, Kexi is the "database program", Karbon 14 is the "vector graphics editor", and I've learned what KPlato and Kugar are from the news.

I'll not nitpick about the Knaming_scheme, it's been overly done, but where's the marketing team to FLOOD everyone with awareness of what KOffice 2.0 is?

I do believe it can take the 1st place for the best Open-source Office suite. On the other hand there's not much time until July if you want to have a simultaneous release with KDE 4.1.

PS: A little nitpick from my dirty mind: Kugar's logo looks like a dick. (no offense)

By Bruno Laturner at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Aw, a dirty mind is, famously, a joy forever. But I don't think we'll have a simultaneous release with KDE 4.1 -- there remains too much to be done before that.

By Boudewijn Rempt at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Heh, how do you like the Krita one, then? ;-)

By Inge Wallin at Fri, 2008/04/18 - 5:00am

Very few apps have names that immediately spell out what they are. Photoshop and Word being great examples of the exceptions, but what does Nero do, or Napster? Everyone knows, yet people insist that the only way people will understand a program's name is if it plainly describes what the software does.

Did people know what Google meant? Today it is a verb for searching. Pick a name you like, and then establish the identity of that name with a great app.

By T. J. Brumfield at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

>what does Nero do

Burns rom(e). :)

By 138 at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

That's always been one of my favorite software puns. Someone was thinking way too hard when they came up with that name. And the old Colosseum on Fire icon was excellent too.

By Tim at Thu, 2008/04/24 - 5:00am

I like the logos. They're really nice.

Not quite self explanatory, and very similar to each other. But after some getting used to, I think we'll really like them.

Could you guys update the KDE - logo for KDE 4.1 too? I'm curious to see what it would look like. Then if more people like the new logo than the old one, we could switch. Either way I'd like to see a KDE logo in the theme of your logos. :)

By AD at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Agreed, the KDE logo looks a bit old-style, I'd like to see what they could do with it :)

By Cypher at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am

I really like the idea of colour-differentiating the apps by their tasks.

But the main joy I find in this post is the sponsored ODF support! Now *that* is good news!

If this were icons (which it doesn't seem like that's the case): why not just use a different iconset? ;)

By Matija "hook" Suklje at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

OK, as a designer I feel I need to point out a couple of obvious things that seem to be being overlooked here. The visual style of the new logos is very shiny and attractive. This is a good thing (tm).

Given that they look like play/stop/ff/rewind buttons on a media player its worth looking at what they suggest and if it is what we want:

K-Office - Looks like the classic "Go back one chapter/track" button. Uh, don't we want people to feel they're going *forward* with K-Office?
k-Word & K-Spread - Quite unique. Good. Especially the word one which clearly looks like the "W" in word processor. These work nicely.
K-Presenter - "Go forward 1 chapter/track" could be OK as presentations are often to impress, which is compatible with the "go forward" idea.
Kexi - Uh oh. Looks like the "Quit" or "Shut down" icon. (See the top right corner of any window with Oxygen for reference).
Karbon - This is the classic "Eject" icon! Does any software maker (other than CD-ROM burning) want to be associated with "Eject"?
Krita - I love Krita. I want it to do well. Does an icon that points *down* and *backwards* suggest a great app?
Kivio - See Krita, but going down faster... :(
K-Plato - No media player references. If anything the square looks like the classic "photographers 2 finger, 2 thumb rectangle", suggesting to see clearer. I'd say this works well with project planning ie "See your project more clearly."
K-Chart - Why not just 3 vertical lines? Yes, I know it doesn't have the "V" in it, but it would more clearly represent a pie chart. Form follows function.
K-Formula - Why not just an = sign? See K-Chart above.
Kugar - Looks like it's trying to mimic a Cougar footprint. Fair enough. A cougar fits with an "Agressive business" report concept. Why upside down though?

All in all, it's definately a huge step up for K-Office (yay!) and many of the icons (K-Word, K-Plato) work really well. A number though give a very clear belittling image that I suspect the original designer missed, especially K-Office, Kexi, Karbon 14, Krita and Kivio.I'm hoping with the visual style established and the files available though, that other designers can upgrade these icons, but keep the style before they stick too rigidly. Overall though, the style is great. The 1 colour per set of apps is nice. And it's all definitely a huge improvement. The question is... will the community be allowed to improve them further? :)

By Bugsbane at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

+1. I agree that while the logos look professional per se, the icons will hopefully be more reflective of the programs' functions.

I'm taking a course in marketing, and was thinking of how a free project like KOffice could improve its branding. So I thought it might be a great idea to rename KOffice to KeyDocs/KeySuite/Keystone Suite/KeyOffice, offering KeyWord, KeyCell or KeyGrid (for kspread), KeySlide (kpresenter), Kexi (leave as is, or maybe KeyBase), Kreska (instead of Karbon - it means "line" in Polish, perfectly representing the vector editor nature of that app), Krita (great name already), Kivio (ditto), KeyTeam or KeyPlato (for KPlato), KeyChart, KeyMath (for KFormula). With such consistent branding where the meaningless K is replaced with something concrete that users can idenify with, we could even have a tagline "unlock your potential", or we could emphasize that it's free with "unlock your documents".

Of course, I realize people may be attached to the old branding and names, or alternatively someone will suggest that people choose programs based on functions rather than catchy names, but if my suggestions were to give anyone ideas that's great. What do people think?

By Darryl Wheatley at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

I felt compelled to express that I believe your ideas are phenomenal.

Furthermore, I would like to express my support for the idea that it is confusing to have icons that are different from the logos, and both should somehow represent the function of the program.

That said, I'm really impressed by the KOffice logo. The rest really just don't make sense to me.

By The James at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Very nice ideas. I'm not sure about the using Key on some and not on others, but it is difficult to think up snappy enough names using it.

Very interesting anyway, thanks for the ideas.

By Martin Fitzpatrick at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Maybe the logos are meant for a RTL audience? ;)

I didn't like them at first, but I think the simplicity rather makes sense.

By Ian Monroe at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

> KOffice - Looks like the classic "Go back one chapter/track" button. Uh, don't we want people to feel they're going *forward* with KOffice?
Actually, my first impression was that it looked like a K.
> Kexi - Uh oh. Looks like the "Quit" or "Shut down" icon. (See the top right corner of any window with Oxygen for reference).
Actually, again, I think it's meant to look like an X (Kexi).
> Karbon - This is the classic "Eject" icon! Does any software maker (other than CD-ROM burning) want to be associated with "Eject"?
Are you sure it's not an up arrow?
> Krita - I love Krita. I want it to do well. Does an icon that points *down* and *backwards* suggest a great app?
It's a paintbrush.
> Kivio - See Krita, but going down faster... :(
Obviously a V, not a down arrow.

By Riddle at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am


KOffice is *a single product* and therefore needs only *one* LOGO.

Inside this single product we have *many applications* which all need different ICONS.

--> The logo can be very abstract.
(but not too abstract since your product is not that well know)

--> The icons should be less abstract.
(for productivity)

Having different logos for each app is just plain silly. But if you really have to go there do NOT make the logos and icons different. That would be even more silly (and confusing for users).

This is the way its done elsewhere. If you don't believe me just take a look at any other multi app products (e.g. OpenOffice) or even single products where the logo is almost always also used as the icon (e.g. Adobe Reader).

By trg at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

A more apt parallel would be the Adobe Creative Suite, in which all programs have different logos. The Creative Suite is often sold as a full single product, but that doesn't mean the programs aren't individually useful. Especially when people expect things to be divided like this, it useful to do so.

By Shadowfiend at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

Ok. Never used the suite but I bet the logos are also used as app icons.

By trg at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am

so if someone sponsors art work does it have to be accepted? i could reiterate all the reasons why these are unsuitable but we've all read the posts above.

By anon at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

i like the branding the the ">" Sign in every Sub-Product.

By qwq at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

It *has* been accepted by the people that get to decide: the people working on KOffice.

By Andre at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am

Well, they do look kinda nice but i just don't get them. so i think they suck as icons, the one for koffice is good though

By gunter at Sat, 2008/04/19 - 5:00am

I suggest to compose the application icons as follows:
1. Take the standard icon of the file type that the application works with.
2. Put (a part of) the application's logotype on top.

(I do not know whether the ODF file type icons are standardized on freedesktop.org or in the ISO standard.)

By Erik at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am

I notice that Kformula has the same logo as Kword - except for the color. This is NOT a good idea for the visually impaired. I'm sure it's quite easy to find a close alternative.

By Nuno Pinhão at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am

For someone who is so much into visual design as you are, I am a bit dissapointed that you do not see the difference. They are NOT the same. The difference was immediatly obvious to me.

By Andre at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am

nuno pinhão not pinheiro :) that was not me :P

By nuno pinheiro at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am

Hoops! right...
But at least they are close enough to fool me at first sight. And I am sure I'm not the only one.
Which IMHO is a reason enough to improve.
As for the fact that the name is included in the logo, off course that counts also to identify the application, but probably the logo image will be used for icons and quite probably the name will be left out of the icon.
Considering the size of an icon and the difference between the two image logos is small, I do thing it would be better to change one of them.

By Nuno Pinhão at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am

"but probably the logo image will be used for icons and quite probably the name will be left out of the icon."

Er, no, probably none of these things will happen.

By Boudewijn Rempt at Mon, 2008/04/21 - 5:00am

Er, no -- apart from the difference in the symbol, there's a much bigger difference: underneath the KWord logo the text reads "kword" and underneath the kformula logo it reads "kformula" -- the text is part of the logo.

By Boudewijn Rempt at Sun, 2008/04/20 - 5:00am