About the FreeCAD logo

The FreeCAD logo has created a lot of heated discussion over the past months/years. There is an enormous forum thread spanning over years of people explaining why they think the logo should change and proposing all kinds of new logos.

I am personally opposed to changing the logo. I said it many times and am tired of being called names every time I do it, so I will state my arguments one last time and then let others decide on the subject and abide to whatever the community ends up deciding.

There is also the fact that I designed the current logo (although it is itself an evolution of the former one, and it was slightly modified later on by Alexander Gryson too), and I don't want to give the impression that I am defending "my" design.

Why I think the logo should not change:

  • We took years to make FreeCAD known. This logo is now everywhere: On Google and other search engines, social platforms, in most of the Linux distributions, on Youtube videos, there are even icon themes that have it now. All this would take years to rebuild.

  • We are always trying to "solidify" the FreeCAD image. Make everything more unified, solid, harmonized. Transmit the message: "This is FreeCAD". FreeCAD is not merely a product. It's all of us, it's one big thing. It's a community, who has come to, pardon the cheap metaphor, recognize itself behind a same banner.

  • The GIMP logo is from 1996. The GNU logo is from 1986 (Both have been redrawn and slightly modified once or twice). The Debian logo is from 1999. The only Linux distribution logo that has changed a lot over time is Mint. Can you remember what the Mint logo looks like? All these projects built their brand recognition over time. By word of the mouth. It is a slow process.

  • Commercial products do change their logo. Many times. But they pay an awful lot for marketing. In many companies, marketing is the number one expense. They simply pay massive campaigns to compensate the loss in brand recognition. Changing the logo is probably in most cases just a particular CEO wanting to print their mark on the product.

  • There are many "fake" FreeCAD packages being sold everywhere, like on the Microsoft store. There will be more. Who will look fake, if we change the logo, but they keep the old one? How can we say "this is the real FreeCAD" when we change its identity ourselves?

  • Even more difficult, how would we go about changing it. Voting? One would be silly to think that will end the question for good. The day after the vote, many dissatisfied community members will probably start pushing again for another logo change and pushing their favorite forward. And, like many controversies in a community-driven project, if we were to poll the entire community, the result would most probably be a status quo, no change because no consensus has been reached. And even with a vote, someone will have to judge and say the final word. Who will that be?

  • The alternative would be doing it professionally. Paying for an artist to design a new logo for FreeCAD. Do we want that? Is that what people who have proposed a new logo want? We do everything ourselves within FreeCAD. Would it make any sense to buy a logo? Why would we want to do that?

Now, keeping the current logo does not mean it cannot evolve. There are many details I don't like either in our logo. The way the cog intersects the F. The highlight contour line. The not-totally-black color of the dark border. Its thickness. The Blender logo, or the Firefox logo, for example, did not change. They evolved (the former with more success than the latter, IMHO).

We definitely should make our logo evolve. But I think changing it would be a huge mistake.