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• CommentRowNumber1.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 20th 2019

The Steering Committee have recently decided to make some cosmetic changes around the nLab. In particular,

• updating the typeface used to default to the widely used web-safe family Noto (sans, and serifed), with fallback options leading down to generic system fonts. (this one is waiting on a pull request)

• changing the main nLab colour to a darker shade of green, more specifically RGB 226622. (done)

• we have updated some technical attribution around the place, in particular noting that we are not really using Instiki any more, but our own heavily modified version. In particular the GitHub repo no longer gives the Instiki developers/maintainers as the creators of the code we are using, nor their contact details. (done)

• Last but not least, a new logo. The current one was created by Jacques Distler for Instiki, and while most people associate the little green blob with the nLab, it’s not actually our logo! We kept it, I think because it was noted some time ago that it is reminiscent of a painting by Matisse. Mike also raised the issue of getting a new logo.

I have designed a candidate new logo, taking the Matisse painting as serious inspiration, remixing and editing some of his shapes to make what I like to think of as a ’little gerbe’. You can see it here. Some feedback is appreciated, though I’m not open to have the thing redesigned by committee. At present it’s in a three-colour form, though I’m still thinking whether a single-colour version would be good for the use on other webs, to match their colour theme.

1. Looks nice to me! Great work!

• CommentRowNumber3.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 20th 2019
• (edited Mar 20th 2019)

I should add that that’s a png screen grab of the svg version, so is not as clean as the actual image.

Also, if you may recall, one plucky individual made some nLab merch, and asked us if this was ok. I was wondering what would happen after the new logo actually arrives. I had some thoughts

2. Just one technical thing with the logo would be to keep it as small as possible in terms of file size. Since it is on every page, we wouldn’t want it to slow page rendering :-).

• CommentRowNumber5.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 20th 2019
• (edited Mar 20th 2019)

Is 4KB small enough?

3. Should be fine! We can test with and without just to see, but I don’t expect any problem.

• CommentRowNumber7.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 20th 2019
• (edited Mar 20th 2019)

And to repeat some comments made in private discussion, I was worried about copyright issues in taking elements from Matisse’ painting, since a conservative estimate says that we have about 10 years before it enters the public domain in the USA (and five years in the EU). However, I feel that we have a fairly decent case for fair use/fair dealing, given

• academic setting, and the nLab is not for profit
• the availability of the nLab logo in no way affects the Estate of Henri Matisse
• the format and intent of the derivative work is completely different (one is a painting, one is a small website logo)
• only a small portion of the work has been sampled, and even then that sample has been altered somewhat (both in shape and colour)

The logo is reminiscent of the painting, and uses parts of a few of the shapes, but in no way could the logo be confused for the painting. Also, the coincidence of the title of the painting with mathematical gerbes has been noted before, and so the new logo is a commentary on the mathematical/linguistic pun and could conceivably come under the scope of parody, pastiche or caricature (at least the first of which is protected under the US First Amendment, and all of them in UK&EU copyright law).

Once we have settled on a logo, I intend to release it into the public domain, placing the original source in my GitHub repository, when it can then be pulled to the nLab repo.

• CommentRowNumber8.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 20th 2019

@Richard the existing logo is 1.09KB, for reference.

• CommentRowNumber9.
• CommentAuthorGuest
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019
Looks good to me, and the original Matisse is beautiful too! (i had no idea the logo was inspired by it)
• CommentRowNumber10.
• CommentAuthorAlec Rhea
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

(^That was me on my iphone for the record)

• CommentRowNumber11.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

Will the change in Logo automatically apply to each of the personal pages, and Joyal’s catlab? I like the new Logo.

• CommentRowNumber12.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

@Tim yes, all the personal ones will get the same logo, though we still have to decide about colours. Currently, the logo just matches the colour theme used by the heading text. Probably we want to distinguish the main lab from the personal webs, and I propose having the logo be monochromatic in the web theme, except on the nLab itself, where it has the colours as you see them. This may be a little fiddly, but surely do-able.

On a different note, I am checking in with a copyright expert here at my university, to see if I’m not doing anything outright illegal. I’ll hear back on Monday, once she gets back in the office.

• CommentRowNumber13.
• CommentAuthorPaoloPerrone
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

I really like the new logo. I would totally buy a merchandise mug!

• CommentRowNumber14.
• CommentAuthorDmitri Pavlov
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019
• (edited Mar 21st 2019)

Concerning mugs, it is really easy to setup your own custom mugs, e.g., using https://www.zazzle.com/pd/spp/pt-zazzle_specialtymug?style=jumbo or many other similar things. Another option is t-shirts.

• CommentRowNumber15.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

I think it looks great too, thanks for doing this!

• CommentRowNumber16.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

Thanks, Mike.

OK, I’m going to do some subtle tweaks today to the design (to the placement of the blobs), and I’m talking to someone this afternoon to get some hex stickers designed, and ideally we can pass them out at conferences/workshops to people as an incentive to make an edit to the nLab. As in, if something comes up in a discussion, walk them through adding it to the nLab, then give them a sticker. Or something like that. Or people can point to something they already added…

@Dmitri, yes, I’ve thought about that too. We can then put that money towards hosting fees, or even (gasp) pay for stuff around here. I would very much like an nLab mug to keep my MathOverflow mug company. Or a t-shirt…

• CommentRowNumber17.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

@Richard it’s 2.56KB, so smaller than my estimate above.

• CommentRowNumber18.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 21st 2019

Now I get to see just SVG source code. Is that intended?

• CommentRowNumber19.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
• (edited Mar 22nd 2019)

@Urs, at the picture source on GitHub there should be a button just above the code that looks like a little page, just left of the ’Raw’ button, and with a tooltip that says “Display the rendered blob”. This should change the code to a picture.

Or perhaps you were referring to my tweet? That was intentional…

• CommentRowNumber20.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

Ah, was looking at it on my phone. There I need to find a button below the code which says “desktop version”.

Okay.

So I like the gerbe itself, but now the background is not plain white anymore. Is that part of the picture or just part of how GitHUB decides to display it? I think we should have plain white background, or at least not the background shown on GitHUB.

• CommentRowNumber21.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

The background is transparent, so on a white page it will look white.

But also if I need to place it on items that aren’t white (coughTshirtscoughmaybe), or aren’t shaped so as to contain a sufficiently large white square (like being a hexagon), then it will work.

• CommentRowNumber22.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

On T-shirts (?!) it would look better with two ferns on top, and one on the bottom.

• CommentRowNumber23.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

@Urs see comment #14 :-) Just throwing around ideas here. Not yet sure I feel confident in selling items with the logo on, if I want to claim non-commercial use as in #7 above. I will be able to make the call next week some time.

• CommentRowNumber24.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
• (edited Mar 22nd 2019)

Just saying, you brought up the T-shirts. First I thought you were joking. :-)

I think of the $n$Lab as more like Freemasonry than like Walt Disney. But maybe it’s good to be prepared for the time when the crowd arrives ;-)

• CommentRowNumber25.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

Sure, but I’m thinking of ways to promote usage of the nLab, or better, contribution. Maybe not T-shirts, but mugs and stickers seem like people would like them, much like MathOverflow has done in the past.

• CommentRowNumber26.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
• (edited Mar 22nd 2019)

Yes. And they also want to be awarded badges for editing pages! I foresaw that long ago, here.

This reminds me of when I gave my first non-negligible talk here, I handed out a printout of an nLab page to the audience, which included various illustrious names. But due to an ancient malfunctioning of the $n$Lab, which one still sees sometimes these days, it happened that the Instiki/nLab logo got printed in huge size on the first page of the printout all by itself. I didn’t have time to rerun, and handed it out like that. Now it occurs to me that it might unintentionally have been the first major merchandising campaign for Instiki.

• CommentRowNumber27.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

Yes, it’s an exercise in social engineering, rather than something sensible…

4. Sorry to highjack the thread, but could you explain how you are printing, Urs? I can try to fix the issue if I know what to fix :-).

• CommentRowNumber29.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

@Richard, that was almost 10 years ago…

• CommentRowNumber30.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

That printing story took place 10 years ago, in Oberwolfach.

But the problem is not with the printing as such. It is that every now and then, very rarely, a page loads with some delay, and then the logo comes up at full screen size. Don’t worry, it happens rarely. And so by the secret rules of the universe, it happens exactly when one is giving an important public lecture. Maybe only then. Yes, that must be it. Looking back, the major problems with the nLab always occur when I use it to present talks or lectures in public. That’s where I got all my grey hair from.

• CommentRowNumber31.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019
• (edited Mar 22nd 2019)

Richard,

while we are talking about fixing bugs: These here remain and keep bugging me:

1. two hyperlinked keywords in a row get no whitespace between them.

2. a hyperlinked keyword followed by inline math gets no whitespace

3. in many entries clicking on the toc-item “Related concepts” fails to make the browser jump to the anchor.

The first two issues are visible in the current Sanbox. The third I saw again a minute ago somewhere again, but now it escapes me where.

5. Thanks! Yes, I realised that the story was from 10 years ago, but Urs mentioned that it still occasionally occurred. :-). What you describe probably is not an issue with the nLab itself but with the internet connection/browser. But it does illustrate why the image size is important. Actually, I think the reason for the large image is that it is in fact a large image, just resized via HTML to be small. So if the internet connection is dodgy, one might get stuck before the resizing occurs. We should make a version of the new logo that is exactly the right size, so that resizing is unnecessary. Would that be possible, David?

The first two bugs I would like to fix, but are not completely trivial. It will be trivial once Maruku is replaced, but I’ll try to do something in the meantime when I have some time. The table of contents one I don’t know about, it seems to usually work for me; would be good with an example next time you see it.

• CommentRowNumber33.
• CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

Yeah, I will make sure the size is right.

• CommentRowNumber34.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

Here is an entry that currently has this problem effective group action (just created a minute ago)

6. Ah, it is because the context menu also has a section named Related concepts. I can add something when I get the chance to handle this.

• CommentRowNumber36.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

Ohh. All right. That resolves a deep mystery. Thanks for seeing this.

• CommentRowNumber37.
• CommentAuthorMike Shulman
• CommentTimeMar 22nd 2019

The third bug was also mentioned here.

• CommentRowNumber38.
• CommentAuthorGuest
• CommentTimeApr 23rd 2019
Recently, arrows ( generated by \to ) are not being rendered in my browser (Safari 12.1 on macOS 10.13.6).
They used to work fine.
I've checked my browser against the mathjax tests, and it seems to render the same arrows OK.
So, I'm wondering if some recent style or font change on ncatlab is causing them not to render.

— Rich Hilliard (richh@mit.edu)
7. Thanks for raising! This should now be fixed, see here.

• CommentRowNumber40.
• CommentAuthorGuest
• CommentTimeApr 23rd 2019
Yes, the arrows are now back on Safari with Stix. Thanks.

— Rich
• CommentRowNumber41.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeApr 27th 2019

30 and 32 – not only 10 years ago, but until quite recently many printers would print the logo on the whole one page, huge, if printed directly from the browser. Many of my students experienced that. If they used the print button on the bottom and then printed the print version of the page, this never happened. It also had this blob on some browsers occasionally in the view. In recent months I have not heard of this problem, it seems that newer browsers, printers and nLab together work better and the users may also be more educated in using the webpage provided print button.

8. Since we are no longer, since the logo change, resizing the picture but are using it as is, the problem should never occur anymore.