Mozilla Branding and Visual Identity Proposal

Thursday October 23rd, 2003

Steven Garrity has written a proposal for the branding and visual identity of the Mozilla Foundation and its products. The document, which does not necessarily reflect current thinking, recommends dropping the red Mozilla dragon head, clairifying the names of the various products, bumping the version number up to 2.0 when the switch to standalone applications takes place and making the icons more consistent. The Mozilla branding strategy and the Mozilla trademark policy give some insights into the Mozilla Foundation's plans for the Mozilla brand but note that both documents are currently under review and are likely to change in the future.

Thanks to Slashdot for alerting us to Steven's proposal.

#15 Interesting (APOLOGIES FOR LENGTH)

by kepardue

Friday October 24th, 2003 6:50 AM

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Very interesting indeed. This article would assume, however, that equal work be placed on each of the stand alone components, which I honestly don't see happening. Work seems to be progressing relatively quickly on FB, but not as quickly on TB, and Calendar seems to be currently at a standstill. At the same time, work is still being done on the Mozilla suite. How much quickly could the suite be churned out if development just *stopped* on the seamonkey suite and focused on the new components that are recommended in the suite? (Browser, Mail, Calendar, Composer) That might put them out in late 2003 as opposed to early 2004. I know a lot of the fixes for seamonkey go into the *birds, but what's the point in fragmenting the thing further?

I definitely agree with the look and feel of the OS idea. As long as the core technology and rendering remains the same across the board and is completely cross platform, the user interface that delivers that to the user should be irrelevant to the actual browser program... which would mean that it *can* be changed to fit the needs of each OS.

As far as marketing goes, I agree with the comment that this individual doesn't have the right to say that Mozilla as a name works and the Lizard doesn't. Now, I /personally/ agree that the lizard doesn't work, and if it were up to me the name Mozilla would be written off as some overly-technical affectionate geek name that's too complicatedly silly for end users and not professioanl enough for business, AND that the *bird names NEED to go the way of the dodo in light of the originally planned Mozilla Mail/Mozilla Browser names--I think they'd have to for legal reasons, anyway... BUT that's my own personal opinion. *Lets out a breath of air for one dreadfully long run on sentence*

Has the Foundation considered hiring a third party for usability testing? Instead of making decisions about what they thing the user likes or not, actually getting the users' opinions? Would it not be worthwhile if they were to hire some company that would test the browser with just as many Granny Johnsons, as white collar business execs, as geeky high school/college kids, as middle-aged house wives? Let THEM dictate what works best for their operating system and needs. I don't see that happening though, because that philosophy means that the programmers' pride would be stomped, feelings hurt, and pet bugs/features could be ignored.

Also concerning visual appeal, I agree that the team should put more of a focus on works best for users. We went from drab, bulky, dead-body blue in seakmonkey to cartoonishly preschool in *bird. In fact, probably the best thing would be somewhere in between. But of course, don't take my word for it, that's what the usability group mentioned above would be for! Speaking for my own experience though, I for one have a fiancee that I can't for the life of me convince to switch from the big "e" because Mozilla looks too unappealing and *bird looks too colorfully amateur.

It would be a stroke of genius to integrate the visual look and feels of the separate components to each other, which in turn would integrate with the visual look and feel of the OS. It bothers me that Mozilla is becoming so fragmented even as it is pulling itself together into a legal organization, and look and feel is one of the biggest reasons. A unified visual is, IMHO, paramount in Mozilla succeeding. Just as equal is that the programs sing well together. Even if they are physically stand alone products, components from one need to be used in the other, and they need to be somewhat seamless from a user's perspective.

Look at other companies who have taken the same approach... Microsoft Office has a unified look and feel, very similar icons to one another, and in an even more broad case, Macromedia's MX suite programs all share a common icon/interface look and feel. There needs to be a better consensus of and attention to this from the point of view of marketing the browser to end users, much more than, "Hey Arvid, make something up for us."

I've been feeling pretty badly for the Mozilla organization lately, I feel as though I'm watching a child trying to grow up but is making a lot of mistakes along the way, some of which may potentially have serious consequences for the organization's product... but this article gives me a little hope. Okay, I think I'm done now. So very sorry for the length of the post.