Branding: Formidable Open Source Software


Formidable is well known for its suite of open source software tools - dozens of separate projects that get heavily used around the world. I got to lead a project on our internal design team to create a design system to give each tool a unique identity, yet also exist in a system that is identifiable to Formidable.

The end result was a system of badges for each project, a new naming convention, color palettes, and templates for landing pages & documentation sites.

The System

It is simple at its core: we took the once-disparate set of projects, each with its own branding, and applied to each these common elements. Each project's color and mascot can vary, but there is enough here to keep them in the same family.


This was the coolest part: a set of icons for the larger projects. These are done with 3-5 tints of each's key color in a unified geometric style. The underlying bird theme came about spontaneously and will always be cherished.


Formidable's library of open source projects is pretty sizable. Illustrating unique icons for each, with a credible storyline behind each symbol, would be a time consuming task.

There was already somewhat of a tiered system in place between the big projects that were more substantial and mature, and the smaller ones. In the new system, only these big projects got the full icon treatment. Everything else still has a badge, but the project initials in its place.

The obvious and technically-cool approach we devised next was to allow these badges to be generated automagically. The creator of a new project can simply input the name, initials, and choose a color from our palette, and one of these "lite" badges will be spawned without the need for a design exported.

Landing Pages & Documentation Sites

These identities were carried into designs to showcase each project on the web. Continuing to ensure the scalability of this suite of tools, these are based around a template that anyone in the future can duplicate, replace colors, imagery, and content, and be good to go.

Now What?