Linux distributions with the best and the worst logo

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A piece of a bigger puzzle

Linux distributions right? So many to choose from and so much freedom. While many folks tend to grade their Linux distributions based on usability, stability and functionality (rightfully so), very few gives merit to the artistry of the logos in the distribution (once again, rightfully so).

A recent graphics project had me comparing logos of some 70+ distributions and I came to the conclusion that not all distributions were equal, in terms of their artistic imagination. While most logos tends to stick with tried and tested, flat design and flat colors, some go out of their way and well into the innovative creative realms and not with always the best outcome. Here is my pick of the best and worst of Linux distribution logos. The following assessment is not based on popularity or lack there of, and like everything, is just the opinion of one opinionated person among many in this niche interest area.

The best

1- Tails

26 TailsThis is one of the best logos I seen for a Linux distribution, period. A lot of Linux distributions just stick a cool looking symbol that doesn’t offer any insight, but this logo encapsulates privacy and security right on its logo. Not to mention the awesome use of negative space, the lock and the happy face thrown into there.

In case you are wondering, Tails or The Amnesic Incognito Live System (the name isn’t as good as the logo, tbh) is the preferred distribution of Edward Snowden (mandatory statement when this distribution is mentioned).

2- KaOS

31 KaOSA more obscure distribution, based on KDE and an offshoot from the might Archlinux, this logo has a lot going on. Most noticeable, of course, is the letter K and O but it also has an S hidden inside the negative space. I’m missing out on the A, either its not there or too well hidden.

Like the Tails logo above, it breaks out of tradition; a circle square or diamond shape, but it works well on any medium. Pretty pretty

3- CoreOS

61 CoreOSFinally in the list, a more standard, traditional circular logo.  CoreOS is relatively unknown, maybe because of its usage primarily as an operating system for servers. The logo is pretty self explanatory, except that I always assumed the mantle of the earth to be less pinkish.

If you didn’t like this one as much, you can still have some fun by trying to visualize the logo as a 3D Pacman rolling on the floor, laughing.

4- NixOS

69 nixosThis is a really special, little snowflake. I never even heard of this distribution, but dang, that logo is hexagonal. I never seen anything like it in any distribution.

I honestly don’t know much about this distribution, so I’ll just leave it off here

5- TrueOS

46 TrueOSI was a little skeptical of including this in this list but decided that a logo doesn’t always have to be flat as your girlfriend’s chest. TrueOS is based on FreeBSD, as evident by the abundance of red color, but this is one hot fiery metal ball of a logo, unique and awesome. It does seem to have some kind of glitch towards the bottom, where the shadow suddenly stops, but only noticeable if you really over analyze it.

Honorable mentions

That list is my top 5, but there are many distributions that could easily be in the list

The worst

1- MakululuLinux

74 MakuluLinuxThis can’t be their logo right? Distrowatch says it is so I’m going to go with it. From the first time I laid my eyes upon it, I thought ‘This must be a Linux distribution for kids’ but, nope. This is a full blown distribution. Maybe there is a reason why they don’t showcase their logo on their own website. Makululu, be as cool as name. You deserve a better logo than this.

2- WattOS

55 wattOSThat is simple.

It could appeal to some people

It didn’t appeal to me

End of story

3- Black Lab Linux

29 Black LabGoing the unorthodox way has its merits. You could end up redefining the logo industry, cause a paradigm shift, create the next design philosophy. None of those things have yet been achieved so far by this Labrador.

The horizontal to vertical ration doesn’t work well for this logo. It’s the longest logo for any Linux distribution I’ve seen. Or any brand, for that matter.

Note: It seems that Black Lab Linux have come to their senses and sports a much better logo on their website.

4- AntiX

23 AntiXThis is a light weight distribution, and also light-weight in design. A circle with the distro name written in front, in a cool looking font. Doesn’t seem like a lot of work or thought. It showcases a lot of things that’s of an era gone past in logo design though. Stroke outline on the text, drop shadow, a glossy macOS-ish button with a matching color theme.

I would have liked to include 4MLinux (a little furthur down below) here, but 4Mlinux is a minimalist distribution so its understandable that its logo is a little bare bone.

5- Voyager

68 VoyagerWell… where do I start? Voyager takes simplicity to the next level. There are those who would like this, I suppose. Not my cup of tea though. I could make this in Inkscape within … 2 minutes? 1 minute? Maybe this could be used as a benchmark for the easiest logo to make?

You got a long way to go, voyager, you got a long way to go.

(Dis?)honorable mentions

There are a few more logos that really could have been a contender in the list above.

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