[Tor www-team] Graphic Design thoughts

thomas lörtsch tl at rat.io
Wed Jan 15 10:57:35 UTC 2014

Now this is becoming exactly the type of debate one doesn’t want to have :)

On 15 Jan 2014, at 05:05, I <beatthebastards at inbox.com> wrote:

> The Tor Project is 90% goodwill powered so why go for a corporate brand mentality?

More or less any good logo is stylized and abstract or, depending on it’s history, abstracted away from a natural motive. That has nothing to do with corporate brand mentality. It's a question of visual catchyness, memorizability, recognizablity - like every slogan has to be short and memorable. Advertising slogans are short and memorable too, but that doesn’t make any political slogan “corporate brand”-ish.

Btw: I doubt the 90% power given the amount of state money that goes into Tor but OTOH I’d rate the goodwill more like 100%...

> Tor is inspiring. The community is inspiring.
> Donating your time and money to Tor is an alternative that appeals to the individual not the masses.

An amateurish looking logo might seem amicable and induce trust in some people exactly because it doesn’t look corporate and perfect but grassroots and nonconformistic - but it certainly doesn’t reflect the level of technical perfection and scientific scrutiny that Tor achieves and therefor might turn people away that are looking for a solution that can protect them from state level adversaries and the like.
You have to be careful what impression you want to make on which people, which population you want to convince, what is essential to your own identity and how to express that visually.

> By the way why have an emphasis on a realistic onion image yet avoid the term onion router i.e. NOT The Onion Router Project?

Historic reference maybe? A hint that we’re not corporate and shiny? Because it’s never bad in a creative process to have a concrete place to start from?

> Perhaps the current symbol would look good on an all terrain tyre?

And now you are starting a discussion about an all new logo. That’s something that I certainly wouldn’t suggest. The onion, as a reference to the beginnings of this project, is both a nice quirk and a good starting point for new designs. Creating a new logo out of the blue *and* have everybody agree on it is nearly impossible. Maybe it could happen out of a meeting, or if the 10 (or 100) most active people in the Tor community all happen to agree on it (highly unlikely in itself, regardless of the actual people) or/and out of deep frustration with the current logo (which I don’t see).
Maybe somebody makes a modified logo along with a new site design and it all fits together very nicely. Than I see chance for a new logo. And I would welcome that. 

But now on to my own work, which is rather technical at the moment, I’m afraid.


> Robert
>> you are right. maybe you can modify the current logo and make it look a
>> little more graphical and abstract, less like a drawing of an actual
>> onion from a biology textbook for children? if one can still recognize
>> the onion maybe the move wouldn’t be too controversial.
>> i think a more stylized logo would definitely help make Tor look like the
>> serious tool that it is and not like some likeable, but amateurish
>> hobbyists project.
>> cheers
>> thomas
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