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From Joan Touzet <>
Subject Re: Concept Art 0.10-0.12
Date Thu, 13 Nov 2014 21:49:57 GMT
Hi Johs, might I recommend C.P. Snow's lecture/essay on The Two Cultures?

In it he explores the dichotomy of scientific and humanistic culture,
and while the intent was never to set up fences between the two, some
people have taken it this way.

The lesson I take with me from reading Snow is that there is much to be
gained from both scientific and humanistic approaches to problem solving
and creativity, and that dogmatic adherence to either is deleterious.
The fact that Snow's observations are frequently quoted even in 2014
reflects that this great divide is still not healed. Might I encourage you
to tread a bit more lightly here, and observe the process before railing
against it?

Nick, I want to thank you for your explorations of potential new logos.
I'm really glad that you're bringing your creative process to this.
Certainly, as Johs points out there are requirements to be considered,
and we have to contextualise your exploration within the bounds of both
social and technical expectations. Developing new art assets does require
a different approach to software development, though, and your eagerness
to continue to "throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks" is

Best regards,

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nick Pavlica" <>
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2014 4:13:39 AM
Subject: Re: Concept Art 0.10-0.12


Thanks for your patience, Nick
> it is not the “creative” approach that I address here, it’s
> domain-specific professionalism in communications and identity design that
> is lacking.

Here is where we see things differently.  I have worked professionally,
with other professionals for years with the communication techniques
utilized thus far.  To say that it's unprofessional, is a bit naive, and
presumptuous.  Our communication right now is part of it, and is
important.  I appreciate your perspective, but please realize that our
methods can be different and professional at the same time.

> Code isn't written based on your “creative” process. Yes, allowance for
> non-linear, out-of-the-box break-the-conventional-wisdom approaches are
> valuable.

We are not writing code, we are working on improving a negative image that
not only represents the project, but buy extension, those that are involved
with it.  This has to be a creative process, it's art and marketing, which
is mainly based on emotion, not something as rigid as a type system or sql

But I would stop using CouchDB this minute if I didnt have faith in the
> software development competence of the “officers” of this Apache CouchDB.
> If the community was shooting wildly in the dark for solutions, hoping to
> catch a silver bullet one day, this project would not be where it is today.

I agree totally,  that's why they have been evolving the code based on
feedback and experience of the users.  It's an evolutionary process that
starts with a basic idea, then matures.  I'm sure we can both agree that
the CouchDB code has changed dramatically, even in the last year.  Does
this mean that they were shooting in the dark or catching silver bullets
with the previous code, I think not.  Many pieces of software start out as
prototypes, then are thrown away.  This process is fundamental in almost
everything we do.

> Let me try with some tech analogies:
> The visual identity is like a memory chip in brand building.
> The brand building itself is done by you all, us all, the product, the
> buzz, the reality — the experiences that we have and make happen over time
> with the thing, CouchDB.
> Eventually it becomes part of our system, or we become part of it’s
> system, the community, we identify, the brand earns a place close to our
> heart, occupies some space in out brain.
> This is process is s tedious, everyday process of small impressions,
> contributions from everybody. The brand is built, day by day, experience by
> experience.
> At the core of this is a memory chip: The identity, first and foremost the
> NAME, but as much the VISUAL IDENTITY.
> CouchDB has a red color as part of its identity, typography and a clean,
> fresh look red and black on white.
> Look at the new web site and you see how easily this is executed in a
> powerful way.
> The name and logo is the core element.
> It is unique, it is very well designed, the symbol works with the name and
> makes a good logo.
  The colors and name are not in question, and the website looks great.
Those don't need to change, and no one is proposing that they have to.  The
issue isn't with all of the good stuff that doesn't need to change, it's
the logo that needs to evolve to something that's not offensive, and better
represents the current CouchDB project and community.

Now, if we had a good reason for changing the identity, it needs a process
> other then being “creative”.

  Please refer to the definition of creative:

If we had a good reason to change the CouchDB visual identity, maybe even
> its name since the slogan “relax” is also disliked by so many.

I agree, the "relax" slogan is horrible, but it doesn't have the same
issues that the logo does.

> If we really had a reason other than the invisible “crouch” of a sexy
> programmer being a “hidden message” in the CouchDB icon.

  Yes, it's repulsive to think that we have that as a hidden message.

What we would do then is…
> ERASE the brand memory chip.
> Start all over again.
> Build recognition from scratch.
> Build values into the brand.
> Promote something new in competition with… puh.. everything else on the
> net.

  Modifying the logo doesn't mean we are starting all over again, it just
means that we are evolving as needed when needed.

> My only point is:
> When you want to erase your brand’s visual identity, you need to have a
> good reason and you don’t just dismantle it piece by piece in a “creative”
> process.
> Look at how CocaCola or Shell changed their logos over the years.

Great examples, they started with a logo and evolved/changed it to better
fit their branding as time passed.  It's informative, and interesting to
see the changes they made over the years.  Here are some links that
illustrate the changes.

As a bonus, Starbucks:

> Of course you could say, "no-one knows CouchDB anyway, so now is the time
> to start fresh.”
> I would disagree; the slow and hard part is behind us, this is not the
> time to start over and spend another 5 years promoting the couch without
> the couch.

    We don't have to remove the couch, but it's worth exploring.  The
newest Starbucks logo completely removed the Starbucks nameplate and
product description.  So far, my local Starbucks hasn't lost any business
because of it.  You could say that we are changing the identity of CouchDB
because we are using Fauxton instead of Futon which are dramatically
different.  Change happens, and it doesn't have to be bad.

> I dont’t know who did the identity job on CouchDB exactly, if was a strike
> of luck, I just want to say that the package:
> Name
> Symbol
> One-word slogan
> is supreme work for something with the ambition to reach a generation of
> developers in competition with everything else there.
> It is consistent, unique and very well executed, easy to implement and use.
> It doesn’t need a big design manual to be implemented consistently across
> various media.

I'm happy that you like the current logo, and slogan, it was/is a great
starting point. However, it does have some issues as detailed earlier in
this thread.

> You need to establish a good reason for changing the identity at this
> point in the project.
> Does the identity design matter that much?

I have justified the need to change the logo multiple times now, as have
others.  A logo change is in this case has to be an improvement to the
CouchDB identity.

> Well, IBM and Cloudant are not likely to mess around with their identity
> shortly, so they will be able to carry the flame on to a bigger market
> while the window of opportunity is open.

Currently they don't have an " invisible “crouch” of a sexy programmer
being a “hidden message” " in their identities.

We are bound to disagree on many points, however, I have enjoyed our
discussion and hope it helps bring us closer to an improved Logo, that
enhances CouchDB's identity.

-- Nick Pavlica

> johs:)
> >
> > On 13 Nov 2014, at 06:52, Nick Pavlica <> wrote:
> >
> > Johs,
> >
> > Sorry to negative towards this redesign process, but I find this utterly
> >> unprofessional.
> >
> >
> > Thanks for the feedback, communication is difficult at best.  I
> understand
> > that in your experience that this workflow may not be familiar.
> However, I
> > would encourage you to learn more about the creative process as
> highlighted
> > in this article (
> >
> )
> > and others.  These techniques have been used for years in a wide variety
> of
> > professional environments.
> >
> >
> >>
> >> Imagine what the software would look like if is was developed without no
> >> purpose nor a professional process.
> >> - Hey, I’ve written a new piece of code, How about replacing the core
> >> module with this?
> >> - Awsome, I like line 3-5.
> >> - I like line number 10!! Great.
> >> - Thanks, I will write some new lines, this is fun!
> >>
> >>
> > In general terms this is exactly the process of developing software.
> > Something is created, others use or review it, and changes are made based
> > on the feedback of the user/reviewer.  This process has been the same
> since
> > I wrote my fist piece of software in 1982.  I have written many thousands
> > of lines of code, and the feedback and iteration cycles are getting
> > shorter, faster.  Just look at git-scm, and the hugely popular github.
> > These personify this paradigm, of fast iteration, community involvement,
> > and collaboration.
> >
> >
> >> It’s the first time I see a logo being developed by dozens of shots in
> the
> >> dark without any stated intention.
> >>
> >
> > In the many design projects that I have been involved with, each has had
> an
> > idea phase where many ideas are explored.  Every conceptual image
> presented
> > thus far has design intention, the question we are trying to answer is
> > which of these design intentions is the right one.  These are not shots
> in
> > the dark, just stepping stones.
> >
> >
> >> I still haven’t seen any other reason for the redesign than that the guy
> >> in the couch has an “inviting” position.
> >> Are there any reasons for the redesign initiative?
> >>
> >
> > The fact that many have voiced their interpretation of the image as
> > perverted is reason enough.  I did a small survey of people that know
> > nothing about CouchDB of their interpretation of the image.  They
> > unanimously, and independently, responded with: "A perverted guy sitting
> on
> > a couch". Certainly there are those that aren't bothered by the image,
> and
> > that's ok, but we can't discount those that are.  Do we really want to
> hold
> > onto something that can be seen in such a negative light, I hope not.
> > Additionally, what does the guy on the couch really say about CouchDB,
> it's
> > hard to find any kind of relevance.  It seemed more appropriate at the
> > beginning of the project when Damian was coding on his couch, and Chris
> was
> > rapping the praises of the project.  However, as time has passed it's
> > becomes less and less relevant to the product, and project.  You don't
> see
> > a guy on a couch in Chris and Damian's new venture CouchBase.  Now, is
> the
> > right time for the perverted guy on the couch to go away, especially with
> > the spark of new energy that CouchDB 2.0 will create.
> >
> > Going forward,  I would graciously ask for your participation in this
> > creative process.  If you have a detailed vision of what the new logo
> > should be, please share it.  The more we work through ideas, the better
> the
> > product will be in the end.
> >
> > Regards,
> > -- Nick Pavlica
> >
> >
> >>
> >> johs
> >>
> >>> On 13 Nov 2014, at 03:13, Nick Pavlica <> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> All,
> >>> I have continued to develop new "concept" art in hopes of furthering
> our
> >>> effort to update the CouchDB logo.  I have three distinct concepts for
> >> your
> >>> review and consideration.  Naturally these are works in progress, and
> are
> >>> intended to stimulate ideas, and conversation.  Additionally, a new
> motto
> >>> is being develop that will also effect the final product.  Versions
> ten,
> >>> and eleven are completely new ideas, while twelve builds on the old
> logo.
> >>>
> >>> v0.10: "Classy"
> >>>
> >> concept_art_10.pdf?dl=0
> >>>
> >>> v0.11: "Super Modern"
> >>>
> >> concept_art_11.pdf?dl=0
> >>>
> >>> v0.12: "Robots"
> >>>
> >> concept_art_12.pdf?dl=0
> >>>
> >>> Regards!
> >>> -- Nick Pavlica
> >>
> >>

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