[Koha] Re: Koha Logo Question

Rachel Hamilton-Williams rachel at katipo.co.nz
Tue Jun 5 12:54:59 NZST 2007

Hi - this was a specific question, but I thought I'd send my reply to 
the list as others may be wondering the same thing.

Mr. Joseph wrote:
> Re link:   http://www.koha.org/community/resources/
> My classmates and I are discussing effective design versus ineffective 
> design and the Koha logo was presented. The logo confused some of us 
> enough to be left wondering the logic that went behind the Koha logo. 

I can explain why the logo is as it is, I designed both the original and 
the newer versions.

> A graphic golden mean element appears at the bottom of the logo,

I don't know what that is/what you mean by a "graphic golden mean element".

  but we
> don't understand what relevance the logo bears to what Koha is all about 
> as a company.

Firstly Koha isn't a company - it's very important that you understand 
this. Koha is a project and a product, but many companies are involved 
in producing Koha.

When I designed the first Koha logo,


Koha was a new product just developing, and we wanted other companies to 
come on board with the product and the project. I didn't want the koha 
logo to look like my company logo or the logos of the other participants 
in the project, so that other companies and libraries would feel 
comfortable using the Koha logo, and wouldn't get confused with my 
company (Katipo.co.nz)

The primary purpose of that graphic was to be on the splash page of the 
Koha programme, we didn't have letterhead, brochures, cards etc.

(Chris feel free to step in if I am being a bit clumsy)

Starting at the begining: The word Koha is a maori word meaning gift or 
donation - or perhaps more "giving your specialty to the collective 
event". Possibly even a sense of quid pro quo. In traditional maori 
society (and still) you would bring a koha (Contribution) to an event 
like a funeral or wedding or big meeting, often food or the specialty of 
your region. When it's your turn to hold an event all your guests will 
bring a Koha, to ease the burden of catering for a lot of people.

Hopefully you can see why it seemed a good name for an open source project.

A common graphical representation here (New Zealand) is a koru, or fern 
frond that is starting to unravel. This symbolises (among other things) 
growth & new life. Another common "new life" symbol is an egg.

So for our new project we made a symbol which is a koru - unfolding fern 
frond, inside an egg.

The project started here in New Zealand, so as we made things that were 
meaningful for us, and hoped that they would translate internationally.

The big "egg" logo with text inside didn't however scale that well, and 
didn't work that well as a printed logo - you had to do full colour 
printing for the green, and so when the new 2.0 release of the Koha 
software was coming out, we thought we'd update the logo for use in the 
software, and use by the various people and organisations that 
participate in the Koha project.


So we still have the koru and the egg, but reversed. The egg is black 
and the koru is white, and they are much smaller with more prominence 
being given to the words. The word "Koha" stays the same, but people can 
put the tag line words that work best for their situation. Some people 
want the word "free" others find that it confuses their prospective 
customers. We have a big contingent from France, so having words in 
french is appropriate for them.

You might wonder why we don't have a representation of books as a logo. 
It is interesting but libraries themselves don't want to be constrained 
into being only about books. So our logo is about growth, and 
possibilities, and aims to be open and inclusive so that all companies 
who use and distribute Koha can use it in a way that meets their local 
requirements, but still maintains a consistent brand.

If you want to know more about Koru & maori iconography, perhaps try a 
visit to your local library and see if they have a book on maori art.

> I clicked a few links while researching for answers, but unfortunately, 
> I couldn't find enough in lay-person's terms that helped me understand. 
> I can see where creating a logo for a company would be difficult if it's 
> hard to understand the good or service provided by the company. I'm not 
> saying the designer didn't understand what the company was about, but is 
> was for us as we tried understanding what someone else was thinking when 
> the company was condensed into a single graphic element.
> Thank you in advance for any help and understanding you may be able to 
> provide.
> Cordially,
> Joseph Garcia.
> Las Vegas, NV

I hope you've found this useful


Rachel Hamilton-Williams
General Manager
Katipo Communications Ltd

Phone: 	+64-4-934 1285
Mobile: 021 389 128
E-mail: rachel at katipo.co.nz
Web: 	www.katipo.co.nz

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