8 balls

Hello everyone,

Recently we received feedback concerning the new Diana branding telling us
about some negative associations with 8 balls. To help us decide if the branding
is OK or should be changed, we'd like to ask you for help.

Do you know, off the top of your head and without looking things up on the
Internet, what negative things are associated with 8 balls? If you do, what
country are you from?

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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"Behind the eight ball" is an old slang phrase for "in a bad place due to misfortune" in the US.

"eight ball" is also US drug slang for an eight of an ounce of cocaine (about 3.5 grams).

I officially and forever acknowlege that I DON'T KNOW MARKETING, so take that with a grain of salt.

--Dave Griffith

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In addition the metaphor with 8 ball just puzzles people that are not familiar with the rules of pool game and those who play pool but do not know the idiom: potting 8 before you pot all other balls results in immediate losing, and potting it the last just means you win and the game is over (it's not the last version after all, is it?).

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Dmitry,

I'm not sure how you intend to use it. Perhaps in reference to the toy that purports to divine answers to questions put to it by the person wielding said "Magic Eight Ball."

Nonetheless, this and what others have mentioned are all pretty culturally specific and you probably should avoid appealing to such references, since it's almost certain to cause more confusion than elucidation.


Randall Schulz

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I am from the US, and originally I was put off by the 8 ball, and the negative connotations. However, after a few days It doesn't bother me now.

-Rob

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Do you know, off the top of your head and without looking things up on
the Internet, what negative things are associated with 8 balls?

Gambling, bets, something not serious, something you can't count on it, etc.

Demetrios.

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When I first saw the 8ball, I really liked the artwork, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. To a new user, they will associate 8ball with IntelliJ not just IntelliJ 8.0.

A relevant example is Firefox 3.0 release. If you used the alpha and beta version of Firefox 3.0, you saw that they used a Giant Robot motif. Here is an example of what I am talking about http://mozillalinks.org/wp/2007/12/firefox-3-beta-2-robots-and-aliens/

They had several nice artworks featuring a giant robot. You would see this on the start page of the browser after you installed the alpha/beta, and also on their website.

But now that firefox is released, all you see is the Firefox logo.

If I compare to IntelliJ, I think it would have been appropriate to see the 8ball on the splash screen of development builds and on web pages, but once IntelliJ 8.0 is released, Jetbrains should stick with some variation of the IntelliJ logo because you want consistency in the trademark images that are part of your brand. Using release-specific logos may confuse new users.

Anyway that is my 2c from fellow engineer with zero marketing skills....

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I am from the UK and play pool a lot (mostly in pubs).
So I liked the 8 ball and thought it was quite cool.

This thread is the first suggestion of negative connotations for me.
Even after reading the thread I still find it difficult to see it negatively.

Personally, I didn't associate it with anything, apart from the fact that this was version 8 of IDEA.

Although, Alex does have an interesting point about people thinking that it is the Intellij/IDEA logo.

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Hello Dave,

"Behind the eight ball" is an old slang phrase for "in a bad place due
to misfortune" in the US.

"eight ball" is also US drug slang for an eight of an ounce of cocaine
(about 3.5 grams).

I officially and forever acknowlege that I DON'T KNOW MARKETING, so
take that with a grain of salt.


The question is not "what the meanings are" (we've already looked them up
:) ). The question is "how readily they jump to your mind".

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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I grew up in New Zealand, currently live in the UK and don't see anything
negative about the 8-ball either, but it did surprise me a bit when I first
saw it because it is quite a bold image, and (other than the version number)
I couldn't see the relevance to an IDE at all.

A colleague of mine (Eclipse user!) saw it a couple of days ago and commented
"An 8-ball?!" but didn't elaborate. The interesting thing is that it provoked
a reaction at all, I would think most splash-screens aren't likely to elicit
a comment from anyone since they're often a lot more abstract I suppose.

As an aside, I think the 'font' used for the 8 looks very unprofessional.
I suppose it's supposed to provide a bitmap sort of a look, but I'm afraid
it instead just looks badly drawn to me. A clean, smooth/rounded figure 8
would look a lot better imho.

Overall I'm indifferent, it's what's inside that counts! ;)

Chris.

I am from the UK and play pool a lot (mostly in pubs). So I liked the
8 ball and thought it was quite cool.

This thread is the first suggestion of negative connotations for me.
Even after reading the thread I still find it difficult to see it
negatively.

Personally, I didn't associate it with anything, apart from the fact
that this was version 8 of IDEA.

Although, Alex does have an interesting point about people thinking
that it is the Intellij/IDEA logo.



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On Sat, 01 Nov 2008 19:50:12 +0000, Dmitry Jemerov wrote:

Do you know, off the top of your head and without looking things up on
the Internet, what negative things are associated with 8 balls? If you
do, what country are you from?


Yes (only one expression, to be precise). The UK.

Do I think anything negative about IDEA when I see the new splash
screen? No.

Do I think it's a strange icon for an IDEA splash screen? Yes, since the
only relevance is the number.

--
Mark Scott
mark@codebrewer.com

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I'm living in the Netherlands, and I don't have an association with 8 balls at all. Not negative, not positive, though in my opinion, the images is a bit too bleak: the black and grey are quite the opposites of the normal colorful blue startup screen. Luckily, the startup screen is gone quite quickly, so it doesn't bother me.

I do find this a nice alternative btw: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:8-Ball.jpg . Atleast it has nicer colors.

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Dave Griffith wrote:

"Behind the eight ball" is an old slang phrase for "in a bad place
due to misfortune" in the US.


Other IDE's are behind IntelliJ IDEA's eight ball?

Bas

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I agree with Mark. Nice artwork, no negative connotations, but I did find myself wondering 'Why a pool ball? - am I missing some clever link to IDEs, or IntelliJ, or something?'

I'm still not sure... so why a pool ball?

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Hello Dave,

DL> I'm still not sure... so why a pool ball?

I think it's meant to mean this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_8-ball

Best,
Andrei


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The ball that appeared with the Milestone was a kind of a teaser. It's great that Randall managed to look further and somehow predicted the underlying idea. With the actual release this ball is going to turn into the Magic Eight Ball that has answers to all questions. I somehow disclose our approach, but hopefully this would bring more meaning to the current image :)

Thanks for all of your feedback! Really valuable, as always :)

Kind regards,

- Ann.

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Also from the US, I was puzzled by the 8 Ball -- has a negative connotation to me because of the slang "behind the 8 ball."

It did take me a little bit to make the connection with the Intellij 8 version number.

I think you can do better.

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Hello Ann,

AO> With the actual release this ball is
AO> going to turn into the Magic Eight Ball that has answers to all
AO> questions.

One also has to keep in mind the kind of answers an 8 ball provides... I'm
yet to find someone who takes those answers seriously.

That's not the attitude you expect towards IDEA 8, I'd think. While I do
acknowledge the geeky quality of an 8 ball, I'm not sure how much of its
randomness you want to have associated with IDEA.

Best,
Andrei


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