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Linux Logo Design History and Evolution

Linux Logo Design History

First created in 1991, Linux is a computer operating system that is a favorite among computer enthusiasts. People like this software because it is completely free and open source. The Linux logo has a rather unique history. Instead of being chosen by a marketing department that wanted to represent a brand, the logo was chosen by Linux users themselves. Keep reading to find out all the fascinating details about Tux, the Linux logo.

Linux Logo Design Elements

Linux’s logo is a penguin named Tux. He is portrayed in a cheerful cartoon style that has realistic shading and shaping. His beak is curved up slightly to create a smiling appearance. The penguin is mostly black, but he has yellow feet, a yellow beak, and a white belly. In the most common version of the logo, Tux is sitting down and facing to the left. His feet are pointed straight at the viewer, and one of his flippers is resting on the right foot.

Changes and Evolution


1. Shape

Before Linux users adopted the penguin as their logo, there were many other attempts at creating a unified logo for Linux. These were mostly colorful rectangles that said “Linux,” with a dash or a global image surrounding the wordmark.

Once the idea of a penguin was solidified as the logo, it still underwent several changes. It was originally a pixelated image that was later turned into a smoother and more glossy version. In some variants of the Linux logo, Tux shows up as a two dimensional version, or a version smoking a pipe.

2. Color

Tux normally has a black and white body, with yellow on his beak and feet. However, Linux users may occasionally see plain black and white versions. In some versions, Tux is given a more orangish color for his beak and feet. The shading on the Linux logo can vary a lot depending on which version is used.

3. Font

Though most versions of the Linux logo do not have any text, some people place a wordmark right beneath Tux. In cases where the logo has text in it, people generally use a standard Roman or Helvetica type of font.


The inspiration behind Tux the penguin originally began in 1996, when some users were discussing making a mascot for Linux. Linus Torvalds, the person who made Linux, casually mentioned that he liked penguins at one point. When asked for details, Torvalds explained that he saw penguins in Australia while attending a Linux convention, and enjoyed their contented and silly appearance.

Torvalds further emphasized the accessible nature of a penguin by explaining that people can make modifications to the logo, while also keeping it recognizable. Fans then began a penguin drawing contest to finalize their impromptu logo. Larry Ewing’s drawing became the favorite due to its simple design and cute appearance. In keeping with the free and open nature of Linux, Larry Ewing made his creation free for anyone to use or modify.



Just like Linux itself, Tux the penguin is a unique creation in the field of operating systems. Users have taken a simple drawing and turned it into something special. It might seem like a silly and unrelated logo, but Tux is actually ideal at representing Linux. The penguin is very recognizable, yet it can easily be altered to fit the needs of anyone. The Linux logo has been around for over two decades at this point, and Tux is now a beloved part of geek culture.

Recommended Read: Microsoft Logo Design History and Evolution

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