[Tango-artists] Icons for inclusion

Nathan Willis nwillis at glyphography.com
Tue Mar 13 08:01:25 PDT 2007

See, I think that's the important distinction -- the toolbox is from the
"tool" element of the construction metaphor, not the danger/safety element.
Everybody at the construction site wears boots, too, but the image of a boot
doesn't communicate what you want.

As far as the hammer itself goes, sure not everyone uses one all the time,
but then again I'm looking at the Edgy Applications menu right now and the
"graphics" category is represented by a paintbrush, the "sound and video"
category by a director's clapboard, and the office category by a pen cup.
Does every artist carry a paintbrush?  Do *any* of the "sound* apps
incorporate anything analogous to the director's clapboard?  Do we all have
pen cups in out offices -- and if so, are they what we do our office work
with?  It's not necessary that the tool used in a category icon be
universally required for all the tasks in that category -- and a good thing,
too, since that would be impossible.  What it does have to do is communicate
and be visually recognizable.  My point was that the hard hat does neither
of those things.

I personally don't think that hammers or toolboxes intrinsically relate to
programming at all; we may have gotten used to seeing the construction site
metaphor associated with programming tools, but it's only because of
repetition.  I'd like to see some better metaphor altogether; it's a task
without a physical-world equivalent, but who knows how much we could come up
with if we actually pounded at it intentionally.  But I do think that of the
construction items we've brought up thus far, at least (claw) hammers have a
distinctive visual outline, and that's an improvement.


On 3/10/07, Rodney Dawes <dobey at novell.com> wrote:
> Perhaps it could use some touch-ups, sure. But I think the metaphor does
> in fact make sense. It is a category icon, not an tool, process, or
> product icon. All persons on a construction site, must wear hard hats.
> They don't all have to carry or use hammers, nails, screwdrivers,
> fishing wire, or many of the other things used in the construction of a
> building.
> Perhaps a toolbox would be a somewhat better metaphor though. Given that
> it contains tools for building software.
> -- dobey
> On Fri, 2007-03-09 at 13:47 -0600, Nathan Willis wrote:
> > As long as we're talking about coding metaphors, I have to give my
> > thumbs-down to the yellow hard hat metaphor -- it, too, is entirely
> > indistinct at small sizes, and even at larger sizes it lacks the
> > "distinct shape" Rodney mentioned, as well as detail and contrast.  Is
> > it a lemon? A tennis ball?  A gumdrop?  And even if it is recognized
> > eventually as a hard hat, it doesn't communicate.  Hard hats are
> > safety gear, not tools, not process, not product.  At the very least,
> > if you are going with the "construction work" metaphor, a hammer is
> > more visually distinctive and more appropriate.
> >
> > Just wanted to get that off my chest.
> >
> > Nate

nwillis at glyphography.com
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