Tuesday 12 May 2009

OSGeo Templates through the Years

When the Open Source Geospatial Foundation was young (say FOSS4G 2006) I was able to find an template; that had the logo and that sort of thing sorted out. At the time I had some fun converting it to open office but the final effect was worthwhile.

I went looking for one this year and could not find anything; well that is not true I found the excellent logo usage guidelines; this info is spot on: typeface: Bitstream Vera Sans, the appropriate colors to use (in RGB, CMKY, and Pantone) and a range of logos committed into svn - including SVG.

I was able to "update" the osgeo template as shown here:

Having access to the SVG logos was great as I was able to rip apart the logo in order to generate a good "background compass", documenting the font and colors etc made this process pretty easy.

I went on to produce a workbook template; based on my experience doing uDig tutorials:
- separate out explanation from steps that need to be follow (even when it is harder to write the effort is worthwhile). I have done this making use of a block of text in the gutter - while not perfect it is the best technique I have found.
- outdent code examples; modern code seems to be more than 80 columns (sigh!)
- kill the margins not a tree; people read the PDFs these days - and margins get in the way
- leave room for author company logos on the title page (volunteers are often doing this as a marketing exercise after all)
- have page numbers for when people are binding hard copies; have the document title in a footer for when they bind several workbooks into a book

Here is what that looks like (follows the logo guidelines on font use etc...):

Taken together with the slides this is a nice polished result.

Sending these off to Tyler - looks like some mock ups have been produced from a graphic designer on this page: Marketing_Material_Samples

There is lot to like here:
- the background is great; nice and bright and cheerful and still interesting especially on the workbook cover
- I wonder if we should substitute in the appropriate OSGeo logo for the orgnaization or project putting together the materials? OSGeo - project, OSGeo - sustaining sponsor etc...

The slides leave me cold:
- the green text will vanish on almost any overhead projector
- need more elbow room for content; especially if any diagrams are used - I would hate to make them small and hard to read
- the OSGeo logo leading ahead of each individual slide title is a gets in the way of narative

When I downloaded the slides I also found the fonts used to be windows specific; and not referencing the logo guidelines (do we care?). 

I am going to put together slides and workbook template around this material and see what I come up with. Since the above are samples only my feedback should not be considered too harsh - hopefully Tyler can announce when something final from the graphic designer is available.

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