I’ve recently spent some effort in improving the look of the Apache Jackrabbit website. I’m no designer, so the results aren’t that great, but it’s been a nice break from the regular project work. And I got to brush up my Photoshop and Gimp skills.
One part of the effort was creating an icon for the site. Previously the site used the feather icon used as the default on all Apache project sites, but I wanted a Jackrabbit-specific icon that helps me to quickly identify and access Jackrabbit pages among the numerous tabs I usually have open in my browser. The work is a good example of incremental improvements in action:
I started with a copy of the Jackrabbit logo with nice alpha-layered transparent background. It looked great until I noticed that some browsers lost the smooth alpha layer and instead resulted in a rather badly aliased icon seen above.
The straightforward solution was to add a white background as can be seen in step 2. That worked already pretty well in all browsers.
After a few days of watching the icon I found it a bit too blocky to my taste, so I tried to restore some of the nice transparency effect by rounding the corners a bit. I’m pretty happy with the result.
Of course, if you have design talent and think you can do better, go for it!