The Design of the Emacs Logo: Appendix

Tools and technique

All the sketches of the logo were drawn with a Staedtler Calligraphy Duo 3002 (blue) on a lined writing pad or scrap (used on one side) photocopier/laser-printer paper.

It took me about ten to twenty seconds to fill a page with sketches. I took several breaks (an hour or two) whenever I reached an impasse (for example, between emacs-logo10 and emacs-logo01, as shown in Part I). I filled several pages, just refining the idea, trying minor variations, before choosing one of the many images as a starting point for the next step in the evolution.

The drawings were then scanned-in on a HP ScanJet II, connected to a i586 running (unfortunately) Windows 98.

I alternated between XPaint and the Gimp for cleaning-up the scanned image and for manipulating it. I was more comfortable using XPaint since the interface is a lot simpler. However, the Gimp was indispensable for doing auto-levelling, tresholding and merging layers with varying opacity (see the pre-test logos in Part I).

Image manipulation (with XPaint) for the Gnus logo was done on a SPARC 5 (CG6, 8bit graphics) workstation running Solaris. I also used FrameMaker (excellent desktop publishing program) on an Sun LX to generate an image of the logo with "clean" curves by importing a "jaggy" bitmap version and overlaying it with the corresponding curves. Image manipulation (with Gimp) for the Emacs logo was done on a i686 running Slackware (ATI Xpert, 24 bit graphics).

The thumbnails for these pages were generated using the excellent ImageMagick toolkit.

Downloads: variations on a theme

You can download some logos (XPM format) with colour variations. RMS prefers the default logo to the Mango and Steel variations because he does not feel there is sufficient colour contrast between the gnu and "Emacs".

(the default logo)
(for light backgrounds)
(for dark backgrounds)

To install one of these alternate schemes, download, gunzip and rename it to splash.xpm. Then, move it into your home directory (e.g. your images directory, ~/images) and add:

(setq fancy-splash-image (expand-file-name "~/images/splash.xpm"))
to your ~/.emacs and start Emacs.

Do It Yourself

If you are not satisfied with the three schemes available, feel free to download one of the logos and modify the colours to suit your taste. If you would like to share your colour scheme, please email me the XPM file and the background colour you are using in your Emacs and I will host it here.

Icons for the Windows Port

In mid-2004, Rob Davenport contacted me about a replacement for the "mushroom"-looking icon that the Emacs Win32 port has.

GNU T-shirts

"Happy Hacking" T-shirts with the GNU logo are now (2003) available for sale and can be purchased online. Please buy a T-shirt and support Free Software (I do not benefit financially from the sale of the T-shirts). [Update Oct 22, 2003: It has been reported (on that wearing this T-shirt at parties (in California, certainly) will attract the attention of women.]

GNU Wallpaper

[Thu Oct 30 01:18:43 2003]

Wallpaper is 1024x768, 24bit PNG

GNU Postcard

[Mon 05 Jan 2015 04:13:23 PM EST]

After a series of posts on Google Plus featuring all the Gnus-related swag featuring the Gnu Emacs logo, H. Dieter Wilhelm mentioned that the FSF has postcard that uses the Gnu Emacs splash logo as a stamp.


I am grateful to Per Abrahamsen, Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen, Gerd Moellman, RMS and Francis J. Wright, for allowing me the use of their personal correspondence.

Also thanks to John Paul Wallington for tracking down William Perry's post with the first splash-screen.

An additional thanks to Larsi, for the words that inspired my creativity.

    Introduction     I     II     III     Appendix    

luis fernandes,

Last modified: Mon 05 Jan 2015 04:17:22 PM EST