Before each new release of Ubuntu, a wallpaper contest takes place where anyone can participate and submit their images to Ubuntu design team. From these wallpapers, a few will be chosen to be included in the Ubuntu CD image as the default desktop backgrounds. Few hours ago, Ubuntu’s design teams’ blog announced that the wallpaper submissions for the upcoming Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) has started, but this time they’ve introduced few new ‘rules’.
They’ve also decided to change the amount of wallpapers that are going to be included in the CD. In the past Ubuntu used to come with 14 community chosen wallpapers and a single ‘default wallpaper’, so altogether there were 15 of them. This time however, the Ubuntu disc image will only include 10 wallpapers.
Concerning the new rules, most of them are actually based on the Ubuntu’s Unity desktop. One rule for example says …
We should avoid having anything on the left and top edges as this will clash with the interface elements of the Launcher and Panel
This in fact makes sense because with each release the Unity desktop and its features get updated and one thing that changed with the current 12.04 LTS is that whenever you change your desktop wallpaper, the ‘Application launcher’ on your left side of the screen changes its colors accordingly, which helps to whole desktop to blend in quite nicely (doesn’t always work though).
However, the application launcher also is transparent, so if your image had a lot of objects to the left side, then they’ll be visible through the launcher and I don’t know how others feel, but for me it can be distracting at times. And not having objects should also help to focus on the ‘top-panel’ it’s where the application menus are located as well.
Here are the other new rules …
*. Images shouldn’t be busy and filled with too many shapes and colours, a similar tone throughout is a good rule of thumb
*. They should have a single point of focus, a single area that draws the eye in
*. Try your image at different aspect ratios to make sure something important isn’t cropped out on smaller/ larger screens
*. Each Flickr user (edit: if you’re new, they use Flickr’s service as the submission platform) will be restricted to a single wallpaper submission to the group!.
*. Your image has to be licensed under the ‘Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike’ (seems like the version 2.0 rather than the new 3.0).
*. Submissions are now open and will be ended in 28th August 2012, 5pm.
As you’d only have a one chance, then perhaps it’s wiser to read this Ubuntu ‘Backgrounds’ wiki page first, as it has other rules that you must follow when composing the images (the accepted image formats, resolutions etc).