Februari 04, 2021

elementary Theme for LibreOffice 7.1: Following Upstream's Brand More Closely

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Not having a coherent and consistent design system has been a big problem for LibreOffice Community. But a branding guideline could help to fill the empty room. At least with a brand guideline, I can be grateful that our products are not designed carelessly.

Talking about branding, TDF as the organization behind LibreOffice is not too strict in terms of technical implementation. In fact, LibreOffice has always carried the vision of having an interface that blends with the operating system. Something that sounds very familiar to the FLOSS desktop world. With this kind of vision, it feels like the brand's approach to many design elements - like the interface, for example - on the proprietary operating system becomes a bit strange in my opinion. Obviously, in the world of Windows and macOS, applications usually have their own unique design characteristics without even trying to pretend to be part of the operating system. For example, Microsoft Office, the 2007 version does not have the same interface approach (except maybe the Office button which looks like the Windows Start button) with the Windows XP and Windows Vista interfaces. MS 2010 is the same, even though MS 2013 both adopted a flat appearance like the era of Windows 8 and 8.1 but in terms of interface even icons and background knick-knacks in their windows are different. MS Office 2019 and 365 actually use an interface that has no resemblance to Windows 10 at all (except for the flat part which is trending).

The same is true for the macOS version of MS Office, each version no one really wants to appear like Finder. Before the era of MS Office 2019/365, the skeuomorphism characteristics were indeed maintained, but we can easily say that MS Office looks like MS Office completely.

In contrast to LibreOffice, which until now still wants to carry its FLOSS vision so that it looks like a Win32 application using a flat "skin". Fortunately the Colibre is quite helpful for Windows environment.

OK back to branding. After three years ago, the elementary icon theme was getting quite a massive update. I just realized one thing, it turned out that the icons I made used a color that I had taken out of nowhere. To be sure, I utilized some of the previous elementary icon colors and the rest from the Internet. Arriving at one of the bug report Heiko Tietze gave me a link to the elementary OS branding page which immediately got my attention: