Ideas to maybe replace the blue leaf

So… this is something that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen given a mention once or twice before, but far as I know, I don’t think it’s been given its own dedicated idea thread so I thought I’d try to be bold and start one with the hopes it could someday happen.

So… that being said, here’s my qualms with the Deskbar leaf that maybe others might share or I might just be alone on it. Anyhow, here’s my quick points to maybe inspire a possible change:

  • It doesn’t match the Haiku branding or the theme of the operating system at first glance (especially for newbies that might mistake it for a bird feather). From a quick look at the desktop, its style really doesn’t repeat itself anywhere — except for where the full all caps “HAIKU” logo is open (like documentation or the logo demo, or startup). And while those leaves do match their blue cousin well, none of them are blue. They’re usually in an orange to yellow and green gradient.
  • The leaf on the startup disk, emoji in most forum posts, the favicon, and even AboutSystem icon itself are all maple leaves.
  • I notice when setting the color of the chrome for the Deskbar, it’s static and doesn’t adapt to color. So depending on the hue, the forever blue leaf clashes with it. And depending on the Deskbar size and mode, it doesn’t always sit clean with the Deskbar tiles or buttons.

Historically, I can see kinda why Haiku uses the blue leaf. BeOS is a cousin of the Mac OS, and from Mac OS 10.0-10.4 (around the time the Haiku project was getting started) Apple had a similar look for the Apple menu. But even Apple had a graphite mode for Aqua and by 10.5 (way back in 2006) had done away with it for a black Apple like System 1-6 originally had (with a white Apple being used whenever the bar needed to be dark or inverted). But… a gray or black leaf wouldn’t really work without a glassy bar and it’d have the same visual problem as a blue one. And while it is consistent and nostalgic, having been there since the first alpha, it’s never too late to make a quick change like from Deja Vu to Noto.

So… here’d be my suggestions if ever the blue leaf for the Leaf menu happens to one day come to a vote.

  1. Replace the blue leaf with an outlined orange one to better match all the Haiku logos across the system. The desktop is already blue and it’d be a good complimentary color and match the autumn theme of the UI design. And — it’d be much less likely for newbies to think it’s a feather.

  2. Replace the falling leaf with the standard 2D maple leaf on the startup disk, etc; at small sizes, maybe an outline around it might help.

  3. Use a scaled down “HAIKU” logo for the menu. (While it’d match the Installer and logos in the docs, the disadvantages for this though would be readability, enough space to squeeze in the logo on the button, and to start referring to it as the Haiku menu everywhere).

  4. Last possible idea I could think of (although I don’t see it commonly used in the main UI that much) could be to use the 3D ‘H with leaf’ logo, but… again, it doesn’t appear much and would have the same problem of not being consistent and have users wondering why an H is there.

Anyways, just putting this out there for people to talk about it and maybe someday vote on it. Please note I’m not trying to start a leaf fight over this! I’m hoping to simply talk about why it might need to go (or stay) nicely. Maybe a poll for everybody would be a better way for this sorta thing, but I don’t know how that’d be taken to start that outta nowhere… so I thought I’d just talk about it instead.

And it’s a tiny thing, so if the blue leaf is there forever, then hey, I’ll vibe with it. And not counting the blue orb in Vista/7, Windows 11 did change the Start menu logo to a flat/2D blue window… so I suppose besides Haiku as it is, classic Mac, and MorphOS, there is another system out there that has it. But anyways… there it is. Hope everyone enjoyed reading this :smiley:


Oh and one quick extra thing I’ll add to address one of the points I made — a cool idea would be to be able to change the leaf gradient fill colors in Appearance (or have it auto change with the chrome color in Deskbar preferences).

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Or to have it change colour with the seasons (keeping us in the Southern hemisphere in mind, of course)?


I like that idea michel, but it would cause more problems that it would solve.
If you change the leaf colour, the theme would probably have to follow.
I don’t even want to imagine the war to chose the different themes. :grin:


There have been some discussions about simplifying the Colour settings to be more similar with what Classic MacOS had, which is known more commonly nowadays as the accent colour in current implementations of the idea. If that ever goes through, then perhaps the leaf can be changed according to the set accent colour.


No more flat please. The flat trend is the biggest disaster that has ever happened in graphics design.


I think that the accent colour is the way to go but unless we have some kind of transparency, it would look flat indeed.

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Why not just call it ‘Menu’ - then everyone will know its purpose! :slight_smile:

(Or even ‘Start’ - at least it would be obvious.) :wink:

Honestly, nowadays people have more difficulties to find how to shutdown a system than to start programs. So Shutdown menu would be more useful. :smiley:

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Except that the entire world realised that skeumorphism was a metaphor not fitting for the purpose. I don’t see how the flat design has become the “biggest disaster”, could you elaborate?

Personally, I tend to think that if your software is well conceived, no matter the UI design, it will work. So for me, the disaster came from all things that came with flat design to save space, burger menus, buttons in title bars and other counter intuitive things. I can admit that some of these ideas are useful in specific context but they shouldn’t be applied globally.


@apgreimann : Would it be possible for you to create some mockups to illustrate the changes you proposed? I understand what you wrote but honestly I don’t have the visual imagination to say if I would like it or not. I don’t have a strong opinion on this topic anyway and I’m actually fine with the leaf as it is (I think :wink: ) but I would be interesting to see nonetheless.

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Blue follows the desktop background, which makes a kind of sense for something that’s an integral part of the desktop. There are birds with some blue feathers, though I think not of that appearance, and relatively uncommon. The blue color is actually produced not with pigments, like the other colors, but by optical tricks that use microscopic molecular structures. The complexity of this adaptation has stimulated some thoughts on a theory about esthetics outside our species - do birds care about beauty?

I don’t really understand what this refers to, but if you can change the color of the Desktop background, then it seems to me the leaf should follow that.

Apple “realized” this when they let Jonathan Ive take over design. Microsoft followed instantly, and then much of the Linux desktop. Skeumorphism actually fits very well for the purpose.

This is a misrepresentation. While it’s true that Apple moved to a flat design in 2013 with iOS 7, shortly after Jony Ive was appointed Senior Vice President of Design, Microsoft actually poineered a flat-ish design with its Zune mp3 player in 2006 and introduced the flat UI design in Windows Phone 7 in 2010.
Google followed with its own take on minimal design with “material” in 2014.
The flat design has its roots in the International Typographic Style (also known as the Swiss Style, 1930 - 1950), Bauhaus (1919 - 1933), and Constructivism. As you may see, long before Jony Ive doomed the world with its flat design…
I don’t get why you are elevating your own personal opinion and taste to an uncontrovertible truth widespread across the world. I respect everyone’s opinion if it’s clearly presented as such…


“Skeumorphism was a metaphor not fitting for the purpose” is also a personal opinion. Do not confuse fashion with merit.


Snow Leopard was perfect, then Apple ruined it. I switched to Linux on my Mac Mini after that.


I love the blue leaf, if it will be changed, then better just let the user change it for whatever he want, i will change for a green leaf.


If we can’t make it follow an accent colour, I think the second best choice is to let user select among leaves of different colours. This way, it’s still the leaf menu and we are sure that people won’t chose (accidentally) a pic that will make their system unusable.

I have to say, I was stunned to find on coming back to Haiku after a multi-year hiatus that that logo was still there. I am so discouraged by it that I eventually decided to auto hide the Deskbar even though I love the Deskbar and never hid it within BeOS. I thought it was a temporary placeholder. Apparently not. You could argue that the system is in beta therefore it’s not a big deal. But the logo is…

a) an extremely easy thing to do (at least technically) and
b) of an importance that can’t be overstated…

The logo is an emblem, a totem, a talisman, an imprimatur. It’s part of an OS’s bearing. It’s how the system presents itself to the World. It’s important. It has to right.

I think what you say apgreimann is correct but I have slightly different ideas about a new logo. I’ll list my not so humble ideas:

  1. The current leaf has to go because it looks more like a feather and it touches the edge rather than being centred. I’m sure some would say it just looks like it has fallen to the bottom but I say it looks like unprofessional design.

  2. The colour has to go because it’s not neutral. It should be black, white or grey so that it can never look wrong with any colours elsewhere (or be distracting). And given that Haiku has a non-flat deskbar, an indented logo (like Apple’s was before it went flat) would probably make sense; no colour, no border, just in indentation. If Haiku’s interface ever goes flat in the future then the logo could easily go flat.

  3. The maple leaf would be an improvement but it is strongly associated with Canada. I don’t want another country’s emblem on my desktop.

  4. Other possible designs: an oak leaf might be an option. like apgreimann I think the word HAIKU or haiku or Haiku or an upper case aitch might work. Either could be plain or stylized. Honda uses a stylized aitch and so do Hyundai. I believe Honda once complained about Hyundai’s logo and the two companies eventually came to an agreement whereby Honda was satisfied Hyundai’s badge wasn’t too much of a copy. I think an aitch with tiny leaves on it wouldn’t work at small scale. Some altogether new abstract design that doesn’t reference Haiku specifically might be possible but I think it would take a very creatively-skilled person to pull that off.

  5. How about a logo competition like the start-up sound competition? I’m not really a huge fan of things being decided this way—it cancels out the chance of individual genius (even if a genius offers his work, the plebs might vote for a gaudy, whizzbang monstrosity). The fact that most people aren’t bothered by the current logo worries me. But given that Haiku is already a semi-decentralised, open-source collective of sorts we probably can’t expect some kind of Jobs/Ive dyad to steer things beautifully on our behalf can we?