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Reaching for the stars, creating the Ubuntu Summit 2023 Logo


on 25 July 2023

We’re super happy and excited to announce the new logo for this year’s Ubuntu Summit:

Ubuntu Summit 2023 Logo (Riga, November 3 – 5)

The Ubuntu Summit this year is held in Riga, Latvia, November 3-5 2023. This event is focused on the Linux and open-source ecosystem. It is a great opportunity for the broad and diverse open-source community to meet and showcase what the future of open source looks like.

Our logo is a vital part of our summit planning and identity. It’s something we try to carefully consider and design, and it’s something we hope represents the friendliness, openness and diversity of our community through the beautiful host city of Riga in Latvia.

The birth of a new logo

Riga is a European city with a long and colourful history, and we’re proud to be hosting our community in what we hope will be a new and exciting location for many. When we design a logo, we try to consider all of these elements, from location and community to our own values, and mix them into a design we hope becomes a memorable emblem for the event.

For last year’s event in Prague, for example, our design featured the magnificent Charles Bridge stretching over the Vltava river:

Ubuntu Summit 2022 Logo (Prague, November 7–9th)

We wanted our new summit logo to also reflect and highlight some of the character, personality and style of Riga.

Combining all of these elements is a remarkably tough job because the end result must feel clean and simple. It needs to be adaptable to printing, scale and framing, and it must work across variable backgrounds, from dark themed web browsers to t-shirts and stickers.

Most importantly, the logo must feel as if it was the only choice, waiting to be discovered, regardless of the effort involved.

The concept behind the logo was to have a design which reflected the different cities we would have the Summit in. I found the freedom monument in RIGA, this very nicely matched one of our core values of Freedom, it also had 3 stars which matched our Circle of Friends 3 heads. The next task was to arrange the stars and the heads so they mirrored each other. Let’s hope the next city is as visually kind to us!

Marcus Haslam, head of Brand at Canonical

This remarkably tough job starts with Marcus Haslam, our head of Brand at Canonical.

Marcus’ early sketches contained all of the elements of Riga that we loved. The facades and tower of its famous cathedral , the wonderful railway bridge across the Daugava river, and the Freedom Monument that represents the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia.

We all discussed these ideas, but it soon became clear there was an obvious winner, both from a design perspective and through its intent and meaning.

And it was Riga’s Freedom Monument.

from Latvia Travel Guide:

“The granite and copper monument in the center of Riga symbolizes Latvian statehood, national unity, independence and freedom. The monument was funded entirely by donations from residents and constructed as a memorial to those who fell in Latvia’s struggle for independence.”

Marcus had done a brilliant job creating the initial  concept, but due to its tall and narrow design, it was clear that it would not scale correctly to all the form factors that we needed. A final logo would need to look as visually appealing on a sticker as it does on a website banner.   With this in mind, we moved onto the next stage of our design process.

A Cross Team Effort 

As we were brainstorming ideas to capture the spirit of the Freedom Monument, but in a format that would be fitting for our event, Graham Morrison, our Senior Technical Author for Snapd and co-host of the podcast “Late Night Linux”, had an idea.

“I was in another meeting at the time,” Graham said, “but I wanted to see whether a cropped version of the monument’s hands would work. So I fired up GIMP, dropped the previous logo and a statue image into background layers, and started sketching. I don’t think anyone in the meeting noticed…”

Graham Morrison, Senior Technical Author with the snapd team at Canonical

The three stars held above the head symbolise the three historic provinces of Latvia, and national unity. And it resonates closely with the open-source movement and the values Ubuntu circle of friends represents.

Working with Marcus Haslam is an absolute pleasure. He is a great designer, passionate, humble, and open to dialog and cooperation. Marcus loved Graham’s Idea and decided it would be our logo for this year. After a few iterations and minor tweaking we received the final Logo and Banner. Isn’t it beautiful?


I hope you enjoyed this story of discovery and collaboration, all driven by the desire to deliver an outstanding event, and an absolutely fantastic experience to the Ubuntu, Linux, and Open Source community. 

You really have no reason not to join us this year! As you can see, Riga is really a hidden pearl, a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. On top of that, the Ubuntu Summit is an amazing event that caters to everyone involved or interested in open source. Inspiring talks by innovators, workshops where you can learn valuable skills, a list of great tracks ranging from AI/ML to Gaming, from Security to Arts and Design. Last but not least our hallway track is an  experience that nobody should miss.

Are you convinced? Great! Book your Baltic holidays now, register on our event website and remember to engage with the Ubuntu Community on our Discourse.

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