Thursday, June 1, 2017

A brief history of the FreeDOS logo

The FreeDOS Project has had several logos. Do you know them all?

Our first logo was created by then-webmaster M. "Hannibal" Toal, when he created our first website in November 1996. Until then, we didn't have a website, only an ftp site on Ibiblio, then called SunSITE. Hannibal created the logo using Windows Paint, so it's no surprise that it uses simple colors and standard Windows fonts: Impact and Times New Roman.

Several years later, we decided the original "oval logo" was starting to look dated. Several FreeDOS users attempted new logos for us, but we liked Ben Rouner's logo best. His logo was a sleek, modern spin that was better suited to the banner on a website. We adopted this "blue stamped logo" in August or September 2001, accompanied by a website redesign with blue highlight colors and a white background.

This logo remained popular for several years. It was around this time that some started to wonder if FreeDOS should adopt an official mascot. After all, Linux had the penguin, BSD had the daemon, so maybe FreeDOS should have a mascot too. One user had created a kind of FreeDOS mascot as a kind of blue ball thing with the oval logo printed on it, but that was never made official. I thought we might adopt a seal for our official mascot. I imagined the Linux penguin sitting next to the FreeDOS seal. But one contributor suggested a fish, and another user created a simple web logo in the outline of a fish, suggesting the fish was a symbol of freedom.

Then digital artist Bas Snabilie wrote to me with his take on a FreeDOS fish. His fish was adorable, and more cartoony than the other mascot suggestions. Bas also created a version of the FreeDOS fish that incorporated new logo text, including an alternate "boxed wordmark logo" that replaced the "O" in FreeDOS with the new FreeDOS fish. We adopted this new FreeDOS mascot, and the new logo, in February or March 2004.

In case you're curious, the FreeDOS fish didn't have a name for quite a while. We later dubbed him "Blinky" because of his googly eye. The name stuck.

Later, Rikard Lang slightly modified the FreeDOS fish that turned Blinky purple, with a shiny spot on his head. While this "glossy fish logo" was never used on the FreeDOS website and thus never became an official logo, we have adopted it for use on certain social media sites.

We've continued to incorporate the FreeDOS fish in the FreeDOS logo. On January 1, 2010, we refreshed the FreeDOS website with a new look, including a slightly updated logo. The new "white wordmark logo" used the same FreeDOS fish from our boxed wordmark logo, with the text in white with a black drop-shadow.

We think the FreeDOS logo looks pretty neat. I admit I sometimes consider updating the logo, but I just can't think of a better arrangement than the FreeDOS fish incorporated into our wordmark. It seems Blinky the FreeDOS fish has become inseparable from our logo. Maybe that will change someday, but not soon.

Over time, the only updates we've made have been to convert the FreeDOS logos to scalable vector graphics, or SVG. The original oval logo was GIF, the stamped logo was Photoshop converted to PNG, the FreeDOS fish logo was JPG, and the white wordmark logo was PNG. While these raster images work well to represent an image, we have made them smaller and more scalable by adapting them to vector graphics. Many thanks to FreeDOS developer Mateusz Viste for converting many of our logos to SVG.

If you want to see the gallery of the FreeDOS fish mascot and official FreeDOS logos in SVG format, visit our FreeDOS Images page.

No comments:

Post a Comment