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on 16 March 2022

A new look for the Circle of Friends

We’re approaching the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release and it’s that time of the cycle when everyone is watching for the first glimpse of the official mascot artwork. This release, however, also has another visual treat in store. Because this time, Ubuntu’s logo – the Circle of Friends – gets an upgrade too!

We proudly present to you the transformation of the Circle of Friends logo for Ubuntu:

Sleek lines for a contemporary feel

The new logo isn’t a revolution; rather, it’s an evolution of the Circle of Friends. As you can see at the top of the post, the classic white-on-orange colour scheme hasn’t changed. But the new version sports sleek lines which bind the Circle of Friends even more closely together. 

While it is important to have a respectful continuity with the previous Circle of Friends, the updated version is leaner, more focused, more sophisticated. It also makes a little more sense that the heads are now inside the circle, facing each other and connecting more directly. The rectangular orange tag is a break from the conventional square or circle, as it allows for the boldness of the orange to express itself and provides a recognisable colourful mark across media. Finally, the logo moves from a tiny superscript to a large, dynamic and leading presence.   

Matching what it represents

Some might wonder why we had to touch the Ubuntu logo at all. As one can imagine, it is a daunting honour to work on something so many of us have such a strong connection to. But in the end, a logo should match what it represents. Similar to how Ubuntu continues to evolve and adapt to new uses in technology, its logo should follow suit to encapsulate and reflect such ongoing change. 

If we look at all three versions alongside each other, you get a feel of the development and the elements that called for such changes. The first version of the logo was multi-colored, friendly and fun, but not very practical for a logo. It also looked somewhat dated not long after its release, so the revision to v2 made it cleaner, thinned down and reduced from multiple colours to the now-familiar white on orange. Similar practical considerations played into the current change from v2 to v3. There was also a functional element to the facelift, as there were some issues to make it work in any setting, from new online media formats to print and at exhibitions.

The Circle of Friends from v1-v2-v3

Marcus Haslam, the designer behind the second and third versions, explains more about the process behind the redesign as he describes how they ended up close to where they’d started:

“Both thirteen years ago, as well as now, it was a long, thorough process to get to the final version. Together with our CEO Mark Shuttleworth, we had a free for all in our thinking, both times. Bringing in lateral thinking, feedback and creativity from across the business to get to the bottom of what the logo represents to see what comes out. And we did have some quite left-field ideas. But our values had not changed back then and neither have they now. So in the end, nothing made sense apart from simply updating the Circle of Friends to a more contemporary look and feel. It was important to go through this process though, as it cemented our respect for and commitment to the Circle of Friends. Going full circle and coming back to it was a powerful affirmation of our values.”

We’ve again secured the Ubuntu logo with our Circle of Friends for many years to come by taking this step. Soon, it will take its place and shine from within the new 22.04 LTS release of Ubuntu, scheduled for April 21, and many other places. 

Stay tuned for more on that soon! 

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