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From Robert Newson <>
Subject Re: CouchDB brand identity and design of
Date Tue, 13 Apr 2010 11:32:52 GMT
I second the call to see a mockup. I don't dislike the page as much as
the OP but clearly it could be refreshed.


On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 12:24 PM, Paul Davis
<> wrote:
> I always quite liked it.
> Anyway, this is open sauce as they say. The quickest way to changing
> something like that is to check out the site sources and mock up
> something you think is better. Then submit it to JIRA and we'll ask
> the community for consensus.
> HTH,
> Paul Davis
> On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 7:17 AM, Gregory Tappero <> wrote:
>> I dare to say that i agree, it is repelling at first sight.
>> On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 1:12 PM, James Fisher <> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> I've recently fallen head-over-heels in love with CouchDB.  However, this
>>> (my first) email will probably be at best, constructively critical, and at
>>> worst, offensive, but:
>>> Does the CouchDB project have any agreed visual brand identity, or is it
>>> being worked on?  I speak mainly of the pages at
>>>  I'm the kind of person that judges a book
>>> by its cover, and it took
>>> consIiderable effort for me to stop my eyes being repelled from that page.
>>> Compare it, for example, with the simple design at ,
>>> where many newbies (like me) to document-oriented DBs will be making an
>>> active comparison.
>>> CouchDB's slogan is "relax", but that web design gets me all agitated.
>>> There's no room to breathe: logotype squished into a corner, small font,
>>> subheadings imprisoned in dark green cells.  No ample footer telling me I've
>>> reached the end of the page and where I should go next; just a niggardly
>>> copyright notice.  Rather than relaxing, the guy on the sofa looks like he's
>>> trying to squirm as far away from the page as possible.
>>> The sofa logo I'm not particularly opposed to, but: entirely saturated
>>> primary red?  That's the universal visual symbol for "PANIC!".  I have this
>>> passage from The Vagina Monologues indelibly imprinted on my memory:
>>> ---
>>> Then he began to undress me.
>>> "What are you doing, Bob?" I said.
>>> "I need to see you," he replied.
>>> "No need," I said. "Just dive in."
>>> "I need to see what you look like," he said.
>>> "But you've seen a red leather couch before," I said.
>>> ---
>>> ... blech.
>>> And: who could ever relax on such an angular sofa?
>>> The index page just doesn't sell it.  A needless <h1> "The CouchDB Project"
>>> tells me what I already know from looking at the logotype.  The messy design
>>> schema, which could be a quirky feature (though its appearance on the first
>>> page is questionable), instead sits awkwardly on top of other headers and
>>> squashing text out of the way, with an inappropriate yellow background that
>>> together with the green suggests vomit (oh dear, on my nice new sofa).
>>> There's no big bold text telling me that I should use CouchDB.
>>> The first paragraph:  "Apache CouchDB is a document-oriented database that
>>> can be queried and indexed in a MapReduce fashion using JavaScript. CouchDB
>>> also offers incremental replication with bi-directional conflict detection
>>> and resolution."  This jumps into jargon way too soon -- as a prospective
>>> user, the first thing I want to hear is something simple, comforting, and
>>> whetting my appetite: "CouchDB is a new kind of database; it will change the
>>> way you work; come with me, and I will take you on a tour of its secrets."
>>> Next, the colour scheme.  Red and dark-half-saturated green (I'm not even
>>> sure whether that colour has a name)?  Under no system of colour theory is
>>> that an appropriate combination.  I suspect it hasn't consciously been
>>> decided upon as a palette -- the red appears nowhere else.
>>> What's with the needless breadcrumb trail across my entire 2000px-wide
>>> screen?  It might be appropriate for a massive site where getting lost is
>>> easier than finding anything, but not here where every page is easily listed
>>> down the left.
>>> And the diagonal pinstripe background -- that's so 2003.  Nothing else on
>>> the site implies that 45 degree angle.  Get rid of it.
>>> Futon displays a different scheme: red with shades of grey.  The slogan,
>>> "relax," sits in a different place to the same slogan in the logotype on the
>>> website.  The text sits under, rather than aside, the sofa logo.  The
>>> "contract the sidebar" arrow inexplicably points up rather than to the
>>> right.
>>> I'm getting into nitty-gritty now, but I hope I've made a point: CouchDB is
>>> surely losing users by pushing them away with bad design.  The main slogan,
>>> "relax," I really, really like, but it unfortunately doesn't come across
>>> anywhere.  It should.  The whole visual design specification should use this
>>> one word as its starting point.
>>> I don't just want to criticize.  Perhaps I can help -- I have no experience
>>> with Erlang, and I'd be much better suited to PR in this case.  AFAICT the
>>> site is hand-written static HTML/CSS, so a redesign is not a massive
>>> undertaking.
>>> Opinions?
>>> James Fisher
>> --
>> Greg Tappero
>> CTO co founder Edoboard
>> +33 0645764425

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