Artwork task:

  • Sponsor: MatthewPaulThomas

  • Posted: 2010-12-10

  • Due: 2011-02-24

  • Packages affected: software-center


We would like to make Ubuntu Software Center’s department screens more interesting.

Here’s the main screen in USC 3.0. You’ve probably seen it:

  • usc3-main.png

Here’s the “Games” department:

  • usc3-games.png

And here’s the “Graphics” department:

  • usc3-graphics.png

There’s a bit of a problem here: all these screens look pretty much the same. And that makes them a bit dull. If this was a real department store, it would be hard to tell which floor you were on.

There are interactive things we can add to these screens. For example, we could add department-specific “What’s New” sections, and “Top Rated” lists, and so on. And we will, as we have time to implement them.

But we would also like the graphic design of these screens to be more distinctive. And that’s where you come in.

What we’d like

For each department, we would like a relevant background picture or pattern that we can use at the top of the screen, instead of the current clouds.

For ease of reference, these are the current departments: Accessories, Developer Tools, Education, Fonts, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, Science & Engineering, Sound & Video, System, Themes & Tweaks, and Universal Access.

Maybe the background for each of these should be simple: a desk for “Office”, a test tube for “Science & Engineering”, and so on.

Maybe it should be just an enlarged monochrome copy of the existing icon for each of the departments.

Or maybe it should be much more intricate: an assortment of glyphs from various languages for “Fonts”, an array of mechanic’s tools for “Themes & Tweaks”, and so on.

Whatever the style, though, the backgrounds need to have three basic qualities:

  1. Subtle, not stealing attention from the items people can choose on each screen. Maybe the backgrounds should use only a single color, which USC can then render as a pastel shade. Or maybe they can use a limited number of pastel colors to begin with.

  2. Adaptable, working just as well in a window that’s 2560 pixels wide as in one that’s 800 pixels wide. Maybe they should hug one corner of the window (like the clouds currently do), or maybe they should be designed to tile horizontally. Either way, probably they should be vectors rather than bitmaps.

  3. Consistent in art style — or if they do use different styles, they should at least look deliberately different. Don’t go drawing 2-px outlines in one illustration and 3-px outlines in the next.

How to submit your suggestions

You can post your artwork anywhere you’d like — Flickr, DeviantArt, another page on this wiki, or wherever. But once you do, please post a link to the Ubuntu artwork mailing list, so that we know you’ve done it, and so that others can build on your ideas. Thanks!

You don’t need to submit a proposal for every single department — just two or three is enough, to demonstrate that a particular visual style can work across departments. Once we choose a style, then we will ask for contributors to apply that style to the rest of the departments.

Thanks in advance to all those who get involved in this project.

Proposals so far

Q & A

SoftwareCenter/DepartmentVisualDesign (last edited 2011-02-20 16:12:34 by user-142gpah)