More talks popped up recently about the Perl logo topic. I feel involved into this subject because even if my activities today are mostly about Perl programming and systems maintenance, I am from an artistic background, including graphic design. I was also interested about Camelia design talks in the past and the initial mascot “specifications”.
A professional graphic designer should be involved in the core discussion around the Perl logo.
They could be given the complex logo history, articles like those written by Thibault Duponchelle or Neil Bowers, plus existing logo material. Involving a graphic designer, outside the Perl community, would allow getting a fresh and neutral eye on the situation and possibly solve some Camel / Raptor disputes (or understand better the meaning of getting a Raptor after a Camel, etc.).
It could also avoid all kind of basic design mistakes. The "shadow" O'Reilly derived logo is very detailed. Logos usually don't use such detail levels, because they need to be identified even on smaller sizes (e.g. a browser tab). Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
- the Raptor used on perldoc.perl.org works well as a logo;
- the cropped O'Reilly book camel head on Perl Monks doesn't work too well: it's impossible to identify an animal head;
- on https://www.nntp.perl.org/ a full sized camel attempt is quite conclusive, what is surprising at this size.
A realistic camel is super difficult to use as a logo basis because it is a long animal, has too many legs and fluffy details. It won't work well except if it is “stylized” and simplified. The O'Reilly camel was a book cover, not a logo: there is no way it can work just by resizing it.
An amazing example is Ocaml lang logo / mascot. It might be useful to talk with them to know what was the process behind this work. The About page camel head on Perl dot org header is also a pretty good example of simplification, but it's not a logo, just a friendly illustration, as the O'Reilly camel is. Another notable logo for this animal is the well known tobacco industry company, but don't get me started on that (“good” logo, though, if we look at the effectiveness of their marketing).
Only shadowing the O'Reilly camel (or other base pictures) won't work: we don't want to have such detailed legs, also the tail is weird, etc. An important part of the original O'Reilly drawing spirit is the animal face, and gaze, something that would totally be lost in a shadowed version. Also, the way the camel walks, its body posture, is very significant. How can we keep all that in a simple, tiny drawing?
I don't have an opinion about which animal should better be used. There are even Perl material with butterflies, they are nice, although they are even more confusing since Raku (hello Camelia, best programming language mascot ever!). Camel is better known. Raptor is more modern and surely works better as a logo. But if the-same-artist-who-made-the-raptor would draw a camel, wouldn't it also work? For what reason a Raptor was chosen then: what is the history, the meaning under the choice?
Looks like both a very hard work, and a relativelly straightforward process for a professional graphic designer, especially considering the complex history and heritage. And keep in mind that when we speak of graphic design, everybody got an opinion, coming with their own taste, culture.