I’d like to let you know about a little initiative the Fedora Design team is starting related to the Fedora.next effort.
Hopefully by now, you’re aware of the Fedora.next initiative. Among other things, Fedora.next involves splitting Fedora into three separate products:
What each of these ‘products’ will be, exactly, who they are targeting, and their various features, etc. is up to working groups that have been formed for each product. Information about the working groups is available at their respective wiki pages (linked to above.) Those working groups will come up with product requirements by January 2014, at which point we’ll have more information about each product and what it will be like.
Okay… what does that have to do with Fedora’s brand?
Having more than one main ‘product’ for Fedora is going to result in our team – the main caretakers of the Fedora brand – having a lot of requests we aren’t quite equipped to handle right now. Here’s a few example questions, some of which we’ve gotten, to show what I mean:
- Can you design us a logo for our Fedora product? (What should each of the logos for these products look like? Should each product have its own logo?)
- Can you make some artwork for our Fedora product? (What kind of artwork should be used to represent each? How can we give each product a distinctive feel but still keep all of the products coherently ‘Fedora’ looking in its branding so they look related / like a family?)
- Can you add our product to the Fedora website? Can you make our product its own website? (How should we represent these products on the website? Should we allow products to have their own separate websites?)
How do we answer these kinds of questions? How do we get on the same page about how to answer these questions? Over time as these Fedora product plans solidify, we’ll need to come up with a ‘brand framework’ to support them all. (This sounds very fancy but it really isn’t. I think it’s just going to amount to some extensions to our current brand guidelines.)
The Working Brand Plan
- The Fedora brand is a strong brand, and we all collectively have invested a lot in it. The Fedora brand isn’t going anywhere.
- The products will all have a common core – Fedora. Their mission statements should, hopefully, derive in part from Fedora’s overall mission statement of “leading the advancement of free and open source software and content as a collaborative community.” The products’ individual branding should reside under the umbrella of Fedora. We’re talking different models of vehicle from Ford, where Ford is the overarching brand and each individual model of car has different target audiences and strengths, and *not* a model where boutique brands are spun up for each individual product (e.g., Lexus for high-end Toyotas, Scion for entry-level Gen-Y Toyota customers.)
- Since the products will be sub-brands under Fedora, we’ll probably use one of the existing sublogo layouts or design a new sublogo layout for them.
- We can develop additional brand elements to extend the Fedora brand and help give each of the products their own visual identity within the main Fedora branding framework. What do I mean by brand elements? A very simple example would be to associate each product with a specific color: e.g., workstation is blue, server is green, cloud is yellow – or something like that. The Wikipedia visual brand language article touches on this a little bit, especially with the example of the original Starbucks Visual Brand Language (shown above.)
- Specific brand framework elements we’re thinking we’ll need (much of which exists in our current brand framework):
- Logo, sublogos, and usage guidelines
- Visual brand langauge / brand element system
- Imagery: Illustration and Photography, guidelines for these
- Chart / Diagram / Table design and guidelines
- Voice: What is the Fedora ‘sound’ in written communication?
- We’ll probably need to review our current brand assets to verify whether or not they make sense given the changes we’ll be making as well. E.g., will the four foundations still make sense? (Probably?)
While I don’t think there’s much reason to stray from the above knowing our brand, we may tweak here and there based on our research on the different products. Also, of course, the particulars of how we extend the brand framework will require that research before we can even get started.
The Research Plan
How do we develop these extensions onto the Fedora brand and build out our branding framework to be able to encompass multiple products?
- We’ve already put out a very short set of questions together and sent it out to each of the three product working groups. Their answers to those questions are due by Wednesday, December 4. We may have follow-up questions to each of the groups once we review their answers.
- We will meet with the working groups initially to make sure they’re thinking about some of the things we need to create these brand elements (e.g., mission statements, target audience, etc. so we know what and who we’re designing for.) We’d like for these to be interactive brainstormy /hackfest type of sessions where we come to a clearer understanding of the identity of that working group’s product by the end. This will likely be in January 2014, some time after the working groups’ product requirements documents are completed.
- After that, we will likely plan a Design team hackfest to kick off the visual brainstorming / mockup process for expanding the Fedora brand framework to include these new products. Hopefully this will happen in March if not before.
How to Get Involved
Are you interested in getting involved with this effort? Here’s the right places to continue the conversation or start a new one (or feel free to post in the comments on this blog post instead of course!):
- IRC Channel: #fedora-design
- Mailing List: design-team list
- Wiki Page: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Design/Fedora.next_Brand