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RE: New Emacs Icon and Tango

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: New Emacs Icon and Tango
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 16:01:18 -0700

    people mostly don't go looking for a tool that does everything, they
    go looking for a tool that does some particular thing.  an icon that
    says "this does everything" is not useful as an introducer, and i
    think it is a poor reminder - a poor mnemonic.

    (now, i happen to be one of those people who uses emacs for my shell,
    development and compilation environment, outlining, file management,
    encryption, and whatever else it does well enough.  i leverage my
    expertise.  the fact that it's maintained a text-oriented focus,
    howeer, has served all these purposes in surprising and unprecedented
    ways.  i have no doubt editing is central to its purpose and power.)

    the kitchen sink and swiss army knife are funny, but it's an inside
    joke.  an icon should be simple, visually and conceptually.  i don't
    know of another simple symbol for an editor besides a notepad (maybe
    we should call the image a "notebook"), so i'm comfortable with that
    (despite microsoft's penchent for co-opting concepts with generically
    named tools).

I second everything Ken said. I knew, for instance, that the swiss army
knife image I played with cannot be appropriate as an icon because it cannot
be made legible at a small size.

And his more important point is spot on: if we try to make any association
between the image and the meaning/use of Emacs, it should be the plain-text
editor meaning/use - not the
does-everything-has-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink meaning/use (and
not, IMO, necessarily the gnu association either). Advertise Emacs as a
plain-text editor - newbies will discover soon enough that it is really a
portal to beatitude and collective self-realization ;-).

And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, we need not try to make any
association at all - the image can be totally abstract or an everyday
object, as long as it is noticeable, rememberable, and attractive.

It sounds to me like people are converging on Andrew Zhilin's icons. We can
go with those, IMO, though there is no hurry and we could still entertain
other ideas, keeping AZ's as the front contender to beat.

I like the idea of offering (to users) several different color schemes for
the same icon design (whatever design we choose) - because people use _very_
different color schemes for their desktops and Emacs itself. Some are
dark-background metalico-neonoid, others are pastel-background
daisy-meadowish, and so on. IOW, let's pick a design, and then come up with
several color schemes and offer them all.

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