Graphic Design Practise with GNU OS
Background – The GNU OS
In 1984, Richard Stallman decided he wanted the world to have a free operating system. Since he was working on Unix at the time, he decided to clone Unix completely from scratch. Working with a small team of hackers, he set about recreating every piece of a working system, calling it GNU, or GNU’s Not Unix (a recursive algorithm). Most of it was complete by the 90’s but the central piece, the operating system base, or kernel, was still in development.
In 1991 the system became complete with the addition of Linus Torvalds’ kernel, known as Linux. Since then, the GNU/Linux operating system has exploded round the world, being used in servers, supercomputers, mainframes and home PC’s, in a bewildering array of distributions, such as Red Hat Linux, Debian GNU/Linux, Slackware, as well as the hundreds, perhaps thousands of spin-offs and independants, such as Linux From Scratch.
Since the Linux kernel exists, and is Free and Open Source software, the philosophy of the GNU project has been realised. The result is a mix of Free Software ideals and Open Source development. An operating system that anyone can use on their PC, without charge and without restriction, and for companies and individuals alike.
Because many of these distributions follow the Free Software guidelines, there is no longer a need for an actual GNU operating system as such. I’d like to pay tribute to the GNU OS, and get a little graphic design practise along the way.
Making a box
I am imagining here that the GNU OS is a complete, self-contained distribution, packaged in a modern way, keeping a little historic context and harking back to the 80’s a little in it’s design. That’s why I chose a combination of beige and brown. (I normally hate to see these colours together, but I thought I’d like to “date” the design somewhat, as if the product has been going since the 80’s with the original colour schemes and logos to the extent that our pretend customer base has grown accustomed to this. It’s not often I get to engage a “trousers of time” effect in my graphic design, so I thought it would be fun.
The GNU logo itself has been updated a few times, but the original scribble is still full of life and personality, so I thought I’d feature it as ambient design, and focus on the SVG logo as the main centrepiece.
For the text on the box, I used a nice generic sans font called Liberation. This is a “free software” licensed alternative to the MS and Mac fonts, familiar to people using GNU/Linux or other Free Software, such as the GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP.
Anyway, a few perspective transforms later (GIMP should have a proper “perspective” tool with actual perspective formulae, not the headache-inducing transform that’s called “perspective”! Also, while you’re at it, GIMP devs (and I know you trawl the internet looking for blogs with good ideas!) how about a “path” transform where you can path round a bitmap area and bezier it as well as pulling nodes around?), here is the final box!
If you have any comments or improvement ideas, I’d love to hear them 🙂
Take care now…