I'm planning to make an icon to represent SVG. I know there are official logos, but I never saw them until I looked for them, and I don't believe many designers associate SVG to these logos.

My icon design would be based upon the idea that (if the viewer ever worked with an SVG) he/she would associate the concept of an "Inkscape document" to SVG, by borrowing a few items from its logo:
                                         Inkscape's logo

So my question is, if you use/used SVG, would you associate Inkscape to SVG? Or maybe you used another tool, and an "Inkscape document" wouldn't ring a bell to you?

  • Could I know why my question is not constructive? My concern is more about the general concept of associating a de-facto standard tool with a format as a means of making it recognizable. Not all questions in the area of Graphics Design can involve facts, some of them are discussable or a little subjective and I don't think this question is "not constructive". – Camilo Martin Jan 18 '12 at 1:32
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    It's a fine question, just not suited to the SE format where questions are typically meant to be answerable with 'one right answer'. Alas, lots of graphic design questions (and other topics) just don't fit into that formula that well. – DA01 Jan 18 '12 at 4:18
  • @DA01 This sounded much more sensible in SOFU, where the right answer can almost always exist if the question is good enough (e.g., with a piece of documentation or code that works around a browser bug, things like that) but in this forum, it doesn't make as much sense, IMHO. Also, I'd like to see such questions! After all graphics design is full of "subjective" all over it. – Camilo Martin Jan 18 '12 at 9:52

There are more than one tool for making svg document + you can write it as a code. I use Inkscape primary and that icon is for me "vector graphics" not only svg. Many graphic designers don't even heard that there are something like Inkscape. Professionals mainly use Adobe Illustrator for vector graphics and for export to svg.

  • Thanks, this does make sense. I want this icon to represent SVG specifically, not as broad as "vector graphics", and especially for small versions, I wouldn't like to just have an "SVG" label on it. Have you actually met or saw online a creator of SVGs that did not knew Inkscape? I think the Adobe support for SVG may be a bit poor, since for example Photoshop can't import one. – Camilo Martin Jan 15 '12 at 0:56
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    @Camilo: You just met one. I've only vaguely heard of Inkscape and have never used it for SVG, only Illustrator. Until this question popped up, I did not know Inkscape was SVG-specific. I knew it only as an open source vector graphics program. :) – Alan Gilbertson Jan 16 '12 at 21:25
  • @AlanGilbertson That's most impressive indeed. Have to account for you! And if you want a good SVG-specific editor, do take a look at it - it features some useful things for the format, as an embedded XML editor. But tell me, you didn't knew the official SVG logos either, did you? And what's your oppinion on how they look? – Camilo Martin Jan 16 '12 at 21:53
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    @Alan I know you love Adobe, but if you have an afternoon to spare, definitely give Inkscape a spin. I find it much closer to my dear long departed Freehand. It's an amazingly capable design tool given that it's Open Source (which tend to not to be as impressive in terms of tools for our industry) – DA01 Jan 18 '12 at 4:19
  • I have it in mind as something I need to investigate. I gravitated towards the Creative Suite because the programs' synergy has saved me countless hours, and that's worth a lot of income. Doesn't mean I'm averse to trying other stuff, where I can gain a production advantage. As a one-man shop, every production minute is valuable. – Alan Gilbertson Jan 18 '12 at 6:16

As svg is not yet mainstream: nor on the web neither in professional graphics. I suspect that inkscape is used for editing most of them. Your proposal definitely should make sense to people familiar with svg.

But I believe that a free file format shouldn`t be associated with identity of particular software. For reflection: it can be annoying to see adobe acrobat logo on every pdf, especially when you use alternative viewer, even if it rings a bell.

  • Thanks for your response. The PDF example is indeed a good one, I also use a different PDF viewer (sometimes even just see it on Chrome), but even being an ubiquitous open standard, most icons for it use Adobe Acrobat as a reference. Maybe that's acceptable, since PDF per se doesn't have much of an identity, and just knowing Acrobat is enough for the reference to make sense, which is the objective of the icon. I also suspect most SVG creators/users that do not use Inkscape wouldn't be much offended, since Inkscape is not a proprietary software (and they might even have used it once). – Camilo Martin Jan 15 '12 at 0:44
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    The problem with PDF is that it is owned by Adobe. The name and concept, at least (they did sort of open up the file format). SVG is not. That said, Inkscape's logo represents Inkscape...I don't think it's fair to dilute Inkscape's brand with a clone of its logo. – DA01 Jan 18 '12 at 4:20

I don't think it is a good idea to use the inkscape logo as a base but you could perhaps abstract some ideas from it, like the mountain of flowing ink and make a new logo based on this idea? If you use the same colour scheme and a similar style, it should be recognizable to SVG artists.

  • Thanks for your input. I'm getting confident that Inkscape is indeed known by most SVG artists, and I'll bring the design here for you to have a sample to see and judge. – Camilo Martin Jan 16 '12 at 10:22

The official SVG logo sucks and should not be used IMO.

Justinas brought up the example of PDF, which is a good example. For years, PDF was the format of Adobe exclusively. Other tools developed later on, but that format is still known as "Adobe PDF", and Adobe, to this day, holds the patents for PDF. The Adobe PDF logo is the official logo for PDF: http://www.adobe.com/misc/linking.html

I don't think Inkscape logo can be used as-is, but perhaps as part of a separate SVG logo. My advice would be to create the logo from a stylized form of the letters SGV as this is the only think I can think off that actually communicates SVG and then add the Inkscape logo:

enter image description here

(Of course, make it nicer, it's just an quick knock together.)

  • I'll make both icons, I'll notify you for feedback after having both (I really think the discussion of tool vs format is not limited to this icon alone). I'm not intending to use the Inkscape icon as-is, I'll do it from scratch. Using the letters SVG is something I tought a lot, but text in icons should be avoided IMO, it adds too much clutter at 48px and below (especially improbable at 16px). And I wholeheartedly agree the official logo sucks, I can't believe that came out of a designer, at first I tought it was made by a programmer who had it in the "semi-important" to-dos. Horrible at 16px. – Camilo Martin Jan 16 '12 at 10:19
  • The problem is that many file formats CAN have editor-centric icons, but it doesn't make them editor SPECIFIC. For instance, an HTML file. On my system I can have it become a DreamWeaver icon, a NotePad++ icon, or any other type of icon. Which is fine, but the icon is meant to describe the SPECIFIC editor...not the file format itself. Since a user may NOT be using Inkscape as the editor for the SVG, I think using an Inkscape icon would be confusing. – DA01 Jan 18 '12 at 4:22
  • @DA01 True enough, but what do you suggest in this case? – Sylverdrag Jan 18 '12 at 14:14

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