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First, congratulations on the upcoming graduation of your site!

My name is Kurtis, and I'm the Stack Exchange team member who will be working on the design for your graduated site.

I've read your suggestions regarding site design and logo ideas. Thank you for getting the ball rolling! These ideas will come in handy as we begin the design concepting phase. Feel free to add more logo and site design ideas to this post, and we'll keep them in mind as we move forward!

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    $\begingroup$ Of those proposed I like Gandalf3's design the best. I really love the Suzanne badge idea that several people used. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Jul 9 '15 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, using the monkey-head badges is very relevant for Blender users $\endgroup$ – VRM Jul 9 '15 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ I can't believe it's finally happening! My design is a rough proof of concept based off the blender website, and changes to SE have roughed it up around the edges over time.. Honestly I don't feel this site needs to be a clone of blender.org (like my proof of concept), but the upvote buttons and badge icons are definitely things which I would love to see in the final design :) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jul 9 '15 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ I think looking like blender artists or blender.org would be best. I definitely think we should NOT look like the blender UI itself, since it is simply to dark for reading paragraphs of text. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jul 9 '15 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Not Blenderartists, but maybe blender.org. I agree about the interface though. Dark themes are much harder to pull off successfully for reading. Much better for interfaces. I think we should still go a bit more towards a bit of a greyish background just to make it a bit easier on the eyes, but not extremely dark. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Jul 9 '15 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ @TARDISMaker Still, black text... Maybe #fff white is a bit harsh (If you find it seriously irritating you may need to dim your monitor) but something close. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jul 9 '15 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms I'm thinking #BFBFBF at the most. I think that is probably a bit too much. So nothing really harsh, but just bringing the value down a bit. And yes, I'm not trying to argue black text. With text, I think the only modification that could be done, is taking out a bit of contrast (brining the value up a bit), but I don't think this is necessary. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Jul 9 '15 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ One thing we cannot forget is to leave room for the new blend file upload feature, right...? :D $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jul 10 '15 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, here is everything we need in a list, BTW: meta.blender.stackexchange.com/q/610/3127 $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jul 10 '15 at 0:10
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms This is the design thread, non-design specific stuff likely wont be covered here. Also, it's probably better to post new design things on this post so the new and old ideas don't get all mixed up. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jul 10 '15 at 7:58
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms I see that. Thanks for the heads up! $\endgroup$ – Kurtis Beavers Jul 10 '15 at 12:09
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    $\begingroup$ make sure you make the logo pop $\endgroup$ – Jin Jul 10 '15 at 18:24
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I have no idea how this design process thing works, so I'll just blurt out stuff until the ball gets rolling :)

This site is all about Blender, so it seems logical to me that the site would in some way be themed around that.

What reminds me of Blender?

Blender colors

The logo is of course made up of three colors:

http://dummyimage.com/660x75/f5792a/bf5009&text=f5792a http://dummyimage.com/660x75/ffffff/bbbbbb&text=ffffff http://dummyimage.com/660x75/0d528a/1279cb&text=0d528a

Incidentally, these are similar to the colors of a Dutch flag, which is where Blender started.

In addition to the logo colors I tend to associate a dark gray with blender as well. Not too sure why.
Am I the only one who sees "Blender" when orange and this kind of gray are together?

http://dummyimage.com/660x75/474747/777777&text=474747

Suzanne

As Blender's mascot since the beginning of (open source) time, Suzanne is a distinctly Blender icon. An easter egg that is recognized by blender users everywhere. For example, the Suzanne Awards is the one of the largest Blender competitions around. And perhaps that association with an award adds an extra reason to use Suzanne's image for something like a badge icon.

Meshes, geometry, "3D" things

Blender is a lot of things. Video editing, motion tracking, image manipulation, the list goes on. However it's most widely known for it's 3D modeling.

The basic building blocks of a 3D model are polygons made up of little vertices, edges, and faces. (triangles if you want the most basic of them all).

So as GiantCowFilms suggested, perhaps it might be interesting if these fundamental pieces of 3D were somehow referenced or incorporated in the design.

CG/Digital art

This site (like all SE sites), is more than just a support site. It has a little community too, and most of the blender community is all about creating art. So I (and others) feel it would be natural to make artistic imagery a part of the site, perhaps with a contest to regularly create new header art.


Here's a short list of other large Blender related sites, perhaps looking at some of them can help inspire (or perhaps serve as lessons in what not to do):

This list is not at all complete, there are many more blender sites out there.


Some doodles

After writing this, I couldn't help but try a few things.. Of course these are all just my random personal ideas and don't mean anything (I'm not the designer here ;).
Discussion and feedback is of course welcome!

Logo
Assuming SE doesn't want to use the blender logo (?), I attempted to come up with some kind Q&A + blender related logo/favicon thing. Though it pretty much just looks like the blender logo..

enter image description here

Small and in context:

enter image description here
Not enough "pop"? ;)

Badges
There are of course the Suzanne badges which I'll copy here just so everything is in one place:

enter image description here enter image description here

Icons
And some flattened voting icons, since flat seems to be current "modern" (the ones in my original proposal were based off the old beta theme, with lots of shadows and gradients).

enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

Make of this what you will, I look forward to seeing what the professionals do!

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    $\begingroup$ i'm liking this a lot, especially the single-tick blender logo. I imagine a minimal theme, not dissimilar to the current one, with high quality user picked header images, maybe once a week if the supply lasts? $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jul 13 '15 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ I love it, the logo is awesome! (And of course the Suzanne badges.) $\endgroup$ – PGmath Jul 14 '15 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ I much prefer the older shadows and gradients, honestly. $\endgroup$ – A Wild RolandiXor Jul 20 '15 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ This looks very good $\endgroup$ – VRM Jul 30 '15 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ If I don't try hard, I fail to recognize Suzanne in the Badges. Apart from that, I love it. $\endgroup$ – WorldSEnder Aug 2 '15 at 2:40
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    $\begingroup$ The logo is pretty sweet and minimalistic and is allowed as per blender.org/about/logo $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Aug 8 '15 at 23:12
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Blue Polygon Background [Copied From Here]

This is a specific idea for the background (I also changed the font to Open Sans) that helps start the look of the site. I used the http://chemistry.stackexchange.com theme (modified) for the proof of concept. Naturally it would need some tweaking, but I think it has potential.

Polygons make up all 3D art in blender (with a very very few exceptions) They are an intrinsic aspect of 3D, and are also a powerful design element.

enter image description here

Some have suggested limiting the background to the header:

enter image description here

Also, I used this answer on the site to create the background :D. That is the beauty of SE!

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I think aesthetics and a good sense of design and composition should take priority over looking "themey". Sure, having the Blender colors in a couple of places - used tastefully - could be good. But if the icons are all literal elements taken from Blender's UI it could start to look gimmicky and cheap. And while we love Suzanne, she's one of the more overused and definitely less sexy symbols associated with Blender. Could we maybe think outside the box a little more?

It should be sexy. It should be chic. It should be smart. It should demonstrate that this is a place for artists who understand design, not just people with a purely technical understanding of Blender. This may be a place to find out "how" but let's not forget the "why", which is the creative element. Blender is a powerful pro graphics application being used by many brilliant artists around the world and we owe it to the community to deliver something that impresses and inspires.

What might such a design look like? Let's discuss.

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    $\begingroup$ What!? How dare you demean the high and exalted Suzanne! Sacrilege! In all seriousness though, what would you suggest instead? It's all very well to suggest making the site beautiful, but that doesn't get us far in figuring out what "beautiful" is. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jul 10 '15 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ Sexy? Chic? Are we still talking about Blender? I might be more willing to consider "sexy" and "chic" if this were a site about some type of mass market appliance, but I suspect Blender SE is more used by people who aren't impressed by those things. $\endgroup$ – brasshat Jul 10 '15 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ Why not make it beautiful and theme-y? That is what great design is, pleasing, functional and relevant. I do agree with you that the blender UI elements and colors won't work for the site, but themeing is important, like using Suzanne or common elements of 3D/blender. Suzanne is wonderful when used correctly (like for badges). $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jul 10 '15 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ Suzanne is the most sexy 3D ape head I've seen! And you know what? every single one of those brilliant artists around the world swore allegiance to her on their first day on the job. $\endgroup$ – Scalia Jul 10 '15 at 20:35

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