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 have to say the logos look really nice!

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


Those Logos look very nice!

Even more cool though is the fact that they are sponsoring getting proper ODF support in KOffice.

Thanks a lot!

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

They could be paying the oxygen designers instead! (they already have done a great set of koffice icons!!)

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

the purple colour is annoying though....

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

Those look great. The pink is a bit too saturated for my taste, but that's cool with me, not necessary to criticize small personal taste issues when everything is awesome otherwise. And the ODF sponsoring is just as nice to hear!

I am so looking forward to KOffice 2 :)

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

Great work guys! :-)

I would prefer less shiny, but that's just my 2 cents :-)

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

Specially 16x16 and 22x22? There should be enough visible differences at these sizes.

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

These are logos -- meant to use on websites, t-shirts, business cards and so on -- splash screens if KOffice ever gets slow enough that a splash becomes necessary, not as application icons. So don't worry about scalability :-)

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

HUH?? They aren't going to be used as application icons??? That doesn't make any sense. It would make sense to use the koffice logo in the splash screen of all the koffice programs, but i sure hope that these other logos are going to be used as icons too. The current icons are really sad.

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

I agree on that.

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

> in the splash screen of all the koffice programs

We don't have splash-screens cause our apps startup to fast for them ;)

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

be sure to keep it that way,
it's any of the very good aspects of koffice.

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

I think these would make nice application icons actually: it could perhaps take a bit of work to ensure they are recognisable at the smaller sizes, but they're clean and fresh looking. New and shiny is what KDE4 is about :)

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

I understand. But making application logo and icon different may confuse...

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

In KDE, the icons are associated with the file type, not the application (this is stated on the Oxygen site). However, when you DO see something associated with the actual application (menu?, titlebar?), it would be a good idea to use the logo. Anything less would be confusing.

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

I'm sure that some idiots who are not reading the text properly [*] will start to complain that these will not be distinguishable at small sizes. So just once again:
These images are designed to be LOGOS. They are not meant to be used as ICONS. So stop mumbling and screaming, and read the text!

[*] Ok, I have to admit that that note is well hidden in the text and should be placed a bit more apparent - I myself first thought "that will be tough to distinguish these as Icons...". :)

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

I think they'd be great as icons (even if requiring modification). If we're using them to brand the KOffice suite it would make sense to be consistent to avoid confusion.

Very nice work & very professional looking.

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

Yeah, while I appreciate you can't just shrink these logos to make icons (at least, I think that would not work from a distinctiveness point of view...) I really like the way the consistency brings all the koffice apps together and makes them really look like the integrated office suite they are and i would like to see this reflected in the icons too - maybe the koffice 'K' with something representing the respective app's function?

Oh and great news on the ODF in koffice sponsorship :-)

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

Sorry, I missed that part. But would it help if logos and application icons look different? May be without the text portion of it they can become good application icons.

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

Actually I think it would be very easy to distinguish as smaller icons.

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

What about using only the content as logo? Omitting the circle could save some space.

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

That's a very good point actually: you could place the symbol on top of a document 'template' shape. For example, spreadsheet would show a mini page of cells, with the Kspread symbol over it.

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

We're thinking in the same direction. Must mean it's a good idea, right? ;)

The actual symbols don't say much, but I really like the idea. As logos, they're fine. However, as application icons it would be hard to distinguish the applications. I think a "background" would help very much - maybe show the symbol on top of the mimetype icon?

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

Funny, I was thinking something similar, too. Omit the circle (and, of course, the name), and place it over the mimetype. Immediately recognizable, and associated with the logo.

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

Very nice! This is great news :-)

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

Wow! Well done, that artist.

I don't understand why the F for KFormula is upside-down, but overall I think these look very professional, very cool, very KDE4 :)

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

I think it may be intended to look like an "=" sign? Perhaps it would work rotated a little to the right, would look like less than or equal (sort of).

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

I think it's a root sign -- see? Art is good when it gets people talking :-)

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

Probably because of this:

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

I don't like saying this (I realise dot threads are getting ruled by trolls) but the logos are very unrecognisable and really don't communicate anything to me. The Koffice one is OK as a logo (I would prefer some hint that it is an office application if it were used as an icon) but the other ones don't really look like anything but a bunch of strange symbols.

It would be OK if there was only a couple of extra logos, but there are so many, they all look very similar and they don't communicate even the name of application, let alone what it does. This makes them very forgettable once you figure out what they are too. For instance, the Kugar one doesn't even look like a K or anything to me really; it looks a bit like a rotated fast forward sign with the chunk removed. How am I suppose to work out the difference between the Kugar and Kforumla logo by looking at them or remember which is which without serious effort?

I'm very confused by the logo/icon comments; why would you want a logo for an application that is different to its icon? That would just be confusing and dilutes your branding.

To improve each logo/icon I would do either or both of these:

* include something that indicates what the app does (e.g. a spreadsheet symbol in the kspread logo), like the openoffice icons.

* incorporate the whole name of the application into the logo, not just one letter or a bit of one letter.

Please don't flame me. I've explained what I don't like, the reason why and have suggested improvements. Feel free to ignore my comments.

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

Actually, the name is part of the logo design, that's why it's colored and styled similar to the symbol.

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

Doh ;) Thanks for the tip.

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

I think with the colour/etc. it would be recognisable "enough" if not for the sheer number of applications. But, I think part of the problem is that I don't have a clear understanding myself of the difference between all the applications and what I would use a particular one for. It's especially the case in the graphics apps (partly also as the names don't give a clue).

Mostly ignorance on my part: But is there an "introduction/startup/use this to do this" guide with KOffice? Genuine question.

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

I'm sorry to say so but I agree with all you said.

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

I fully agree!
The logos are cute, no question. They all obviously belong together fine.

But the symbolism does not remind me at all of what the applications are about.

For example
* a small mathematical symbol (like x²) in a circle for KFormula
* a Pencil in a circle for Krita
* horizontal "Gantt-like" bars for KPlato
* a tiny chart for KChart
* a hard disk - symbol for Kexi
* a small table for KSpread
* a tiny beamer for KPresenter
* a pen for Kword (o.k. everybody uses a pen... ;-)), curves for Karbon.
All that could be doable with the same or similar line styles and thicknesses and coloring, to retain the general look.

All of that in a circle, of course, and with the name of the application along with it!

Probably this might be a suggestion to use as ICONS, eventually.

Why are logos and icons different animals? Look at Amarok!

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

Rock on sulla! I fully agree with this post. All of it.

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

I fully agree too. Without something more, the icons don't mean anything to me and I couldn't understand what app I'm supposed to use for a given task.

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

Rock on!!! Great suggestions.

Can we do it that way, - pllleeeeeeaaaaassssee!!! :)

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


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

I completely agree

the logo's hold no meaning to the applications they are meant to be about. I do not use Koffice, and if I saw these logo's they would not inspire me to look into it, they are logo's that I would simply just ignore.

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

The application brings meaning to the icons, not the other way around. The triangular red thingy that PDF has as it's icon isn't immediatly obvious what it is.

Personally I think the icons are beautiful and think that they should be used wherever possible. Well thought out and nice looking.

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

Don't agree. Not every icon has to look like what the application does. Think about logos. How does the coca-cola logo look like? What does the acrobat-reader icon show? Why does the kde "start-menu" have a icon with an "K" and not an picture of a small menu?

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

Actually Coca-Cola is a very bad example in this context because the white on red "logo" only stands for _one_ product. All the other products (Fanta, Sprite, ...) by that company are quite different in shape, color etc.

By rogue at Sat, 2008/04/26 - 5:00am

I think (mentioned elsewhere in the thread) if we take out the middle symbol (from inside the circle) and place it over a recognisable document 'template' they would work great as application icons. Example I used is the KSpread arrows over a page of spreadsheet cells. But would also work putting the KPresenter "Play" over a presentation-like page.

This could work really well.

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

It bears pointing out that:
* Krita basically is a pencil on a canvas in a circle,
* A play button, when talking about office apps, isn't a particularly bad symbol for a presentation program,
* W is bsaically the symbol used for MS Word, so obviously using that is a recognizable shape (though the fact that it is shared between those two programs might not be good).
* The KChart icon basically *ιs* a small chart, it just has one line on it.

Basically, all the applications seem to evoke evither their function or their name (Kugar, for example, has a pair of whiskers, basically). The only one that is a little weird in that regard is KPlato (as pointed out elsewhere, even KFormula has a square root).

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

I'd love this suggestion too!

Yes, people have pointed out that most logos don't look their part (Coca-Cola etc). Then again, those companies took years (and/or millions in advertising) to build brand-recognition and for everybody to know what they are about.

Also, most applications and companies don't have a whole series of icons. They stick to one. There's a difference between remembering 1 logo and 10 logos. Anybody could see one of them and know that it's a KOffice application, but they'd have to wrack their memory to remember which.

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

> I don't like saying this (I realise dot threads are getting ruled by trolls) but the logos are very unrecognisable and really don't communicate anything to me.

> Please don't flame me. I've explained what I don't like, the reason why and have suggested improvements. Feel free to ignore my comments.

You shouldn't apologise for not liking something. I know there are some childish people who think the dot is a place that should be filled to the brim with praise and nothing else, and call people names, but ignore them. Not liking something doesn't make you a troll.

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

I second your well thought out comments.

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

"Please don't flame me. I've explained what I don't like, the reason why and have suggested improvements. Feel free to ignore my comments."

Your post was a good example of constructive criticism - something that is all too rare on the Dot, nowadays. Please don't be afraid to post more :)

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

These are good suggestions, but I would respectfully disagree with your original point -- that they are unrecognizable and therefore not effective.

I agree that they don't necessarily mean much, and are not recognizable so far, but give it time. Think about logos in general, and look at all the logos from Microsoft (one of the best marketing teams on the planet imho). They really don't tell you much about the product. They become recognizable as the product becomes known. The only thing they have in common, is that they are unique and look nice.

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. Think about every logo out there. How many truly tell you anything about the product? Some, but not many.

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