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I’m Courtny, senior product designer at Stack Overflow! I’m super happy for this community, because we have started on your site's design.

Your Site Design

The idea of the design is a reflection of the Blender site's subject and culture. This will help brand your site as unique, even while you share common elements with other sites as part of the bigger Stack Exchange family.

Design Concept

For the Blender site design and branding, we wanted to integrate a number of the great community ideas as well as give this site a unique presence on the network. We looked for inspiration that was simple and true to the Blender brand and product. We've gathered some artwork we found online for setting up a mood board.

Moodboard

Blender mood board

Color Scheme

Overall, we wanted to stay true to the Blender brand colors that the community is familiar with.

Blender colors

Logo

For the logo, you can see that we have created a glyph and word mark combination inspired heavily by the official Blender logo (Shout out to gandalf3 for suggesting such a good concept!). The original logo is iconic to the community, and with the additional tweaks we've converted the "eye" glyph into a question bubble. Truly a mashup of the Q+A / Blender metaphors.

For the word mark, we decided to use an entirely new typeface. Not straying too far from the Blender branding, we chose Open Sans Condensed.

Blender Logo 3-UP

Primitive Pattern

One design component we really wanted to integrate into the community branding of this site were the core primitive meshes. These meshes are used by millions everyday in Blender to create amazing things. Of the 10 core primitives, one in particular stands out: Suzanne the Monkey. This would also make a nice holiday gift wrapping paper...but we're getting ahead of ourselves!

Blender primitives

Swag

Here is how the community branding would be applied to a sampling of swag items.

Blender stickers Blender t-shirt Blender mousepad

Site Design

And last but not least, the site design! Click on the image to view at full resolution.

Home page Question page

We believe the design and branding work very well for this community. We’d love to hear your feedback! If there are no major design changes, we’ll launch the new site design.

Congratulations!


EDIT - December 24th, 2015

Thank you for all of your input. We've made some changes based on the community's initial feedback.

Logo

There were enough people who weren't in love with the logo execution that we decided to revisit the design. We know that we won't be able to please everyone, but at the same time, we want you to feel good about the site and the community you've worked to build.

We explored a few different directions and landed on the execution below for the following reasons:

  • Clearly indicate that the logo is for the Blender.se community.
  • This concept still maintains character of the familiar Blender official logo.
  • Integrate the concept of Q&A speech bubbles, without overtly recycling the Stack Exchange master bubble.
  • No more socket, yay!

blender.se logo revision

More to come after the new year. Have a great holiday everyone!

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    $\begingroup$ Looks nice, but... Will it blend? $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Dec 3 '15 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ The blue polygon looks awesome! $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 3 '15 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ This is the question that I supposedly answered in the screenshot of the activity page. That question has 0 answers, not 4, and I do not have 511 rep! That screenshot was doctored! $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 3 '15 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ The coloring is totally awesome. the links, top, bottom, everything is perfectly colored! I also love the picture of the hills of Stackexchangia for the moodboard :-) $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 3 '15 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ Seriously? Asked yesterday, asked 3 years ago? $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 3 '15 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ @NormalHuman The Stack design team handles site designs. A member of the team is assigned a site (In this case, me), and that individual works with Jin Yang (Creative Director) to produce the design. Generally, other designers on the team are involved in the internal feedback process as well. Once Jin green lights the designer's work, it is pitched to the community! $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 3 '15 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ YES! I love it :) The only thing which bothers me a little is the text in the socket, which feels "squished" to me. Perhaps I'm just too used to the wide font used in the original blender socket.. I know blender.org uses open sans condensed, but tbh that bothers me too :P But before I get carried away nitpicking, let me say again how beautiful this is. And I would totally use that as a wrapping paper ;) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 3 '15 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @gandalf3! I had a hard time myself when familiarizing myself with the original Blender logo for so long...and then going to this more condensed typeface for the word mark. Overall, it's grown on me. It's different enough from the Blender logo that it is obviously a unique execution...while being similar enough to retain the original's essence. $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 3 '15 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ The logo seems a bit round, perhaps Ton would let you use the real logo? $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 3 '15 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms We usually wait for that once the dust settles from feedback on the first pitch and design tweaks have been made to main site design. $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 4 '15 at 0:58
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    $\begingroup$ My only critique would be the logo. I don't think it looks different enough from the blender logo that people would understand it represents something different and that the blender foundation hasn't simply released a new official logo. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Dec 4 '15 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Just a heads up, there's now a dedicated chat room for extended discussion of the design. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 5 '15 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps the l and d should also be as tall as the B or use a common b? Not a biggie really, could grow on us. Other than that this looks fantastic, I'm all for seeing this everyday. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Dec 24 '15 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ The latest looks fresh. Thumbs up! $\endgroup$ – zeffii Dec 24 '15 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, this logo is perfect! Very good work. I don't find any negatives, all the changes really pushed it forward. Side by side the new logo also has character and looks much more mature now. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Dec 26 '15 at 23:12

13 Answers 13

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I like this a lot. Here's my quick feedback

CC

  • At the core of 3d, we work with raw polygons, everything seems too round, logo (I slightly prefer the original here), ask button etc
  • The header seems a bit bland but that could just be me
  • Other than the subtle background and the logo addition, nothing much seems to have been changed really

What I'd like to see

*Blender site design ideas - input welcome!

Other than that, I like the direction this is heading. +1 for the minimalistic look and color palette.

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    $\begingroup$ @iKlsR Thank you for your quick feedback! I wanted to address one of your suggestions since internally we’ve begun work on standardizing core components of the SE network. The up vote / down vote / accepted controls are core UI components to the SE network. As such, our product team is attempting to standardize their base display among all sites. This allows us to roll out network wide changes easier, as well as ensuring consistency among user experience across any of our sites. $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 3 '15 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ I definitely agree about the logo. I think having a sharper point at the bottom would look better. I don't really agree about bringing in icons from the Blender UI though. I personally think that that would end up looking quite ugly in the context of the rest of the site. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 4 '15 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe something that would help with making the triangulation stand out more (and possibly bringing in the mood of working with meshes more), would be to outline the edges in a very subtle light blue. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 4 '15 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ @DalekMaker Was just throwing some ideas out, these don't necessarily have to take that exact look seeing that they come from a darker themed interface for one. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Dec 4 '15 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ All great suggestions! $\endgroup$ – PGmath Dec 4 '15 at 4:58
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STATUS UPDATE [12/17/15]

Hello everyone. This is Courtny again. I wanted to provide a quick update on status.

Overall, the community has some excellent feedback that I believe will make the design stronger. It seems like the chatter has died down mostly, so I've combed over all suggestions and comments. I wanted to list the highlights that I will be taking into consideration and incorporating into the next design round.

Logo

enter image description here

Probably the biggest amount of feedback was on the logo itself, and rightly so. It's almost too similar to Blender's official. Here is what I'm looking at doing:

  • Make the stem on the bubble more pronounced; visually make it appear more like a speech bubble.
  • Plenty of people seemed to like David's first design idea. I will take a stab at trying to more closely associate with the SE bubble concept.
  • Don't use Blenders condensed typeface
  • Adjust the socket drastically, or simply remove it entirely.
  • Incorporate "Stack Exchange" into the word mark. This will be a similar execution as was done over on the Salesforce SE site.

Header Background

  • Adjust the feathering on the header to be mo' betta. This would likely mean increasing it's width horizontally, or creating a polygonal pattern that will actually repeat (ideal).
  • Enhance the vibrance/hinting on the triangulation in order to bring out the mesh work more.

Miscellaneous Site Elements

  • Badges: Revise the Suzanne glyph per gandalf3's suggestions. Basically, want to have a more recognizable/visually appealing representation of Suzanne at small sizes.
  • Badges: Attempt to pixel hint the badges [SVG].
  • Badges: Use different glyphs for each badge type: (Bronze Cube / Silver Sphere / Gold Suzanne)
  • Tag Styling: Don't round them off, make them more "Blender" like. Consistently size them everywhere (design oversight on first round, sorry!)
  • Buttons: Not rounded.
  • Primitives: Going to play with updating a these to maintain accurate perspective. Original was a stylistic choice on purpose, but I'll see how a new batch looks per suggestions.

What's the timeline on the next round? I'm going to try and get a second pass of the design concepts up by the Holiday break. Expect to see something (late) next week!

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    $\begingroup$ Great to hear from you again! I think you really condensed all our thoughts into some very actionable goals. I am excited for the next version :) $\endgroup$ – VRM Dec 17 '15 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ How are you making the polygon background? It seems like it shouldn't be too hard to make it tileable $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 17 '15 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ What buttons are you talking about here when you say "Buttons: Not rounded." Because I quite like the vote buttons the way the are in the design. $\endgroup$ – David Dec 17 '15 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ Everything you said sounds great! $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 17 '15 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for sticking with us in our quest for the right design. Being a community of mostly artists and creatives I know we're not all easy to please. As I type this I am imagining how tough the Graphic Design SE site design process must have been - although well worth the end result. Regarding the primitives, how about just using the pattern that gandalf3 made? I don't think we need to fix it if it's not broken. Or is there a rule that all final artwork must be created internally? As far as the logo goes, I like the concept of m.ardito's recent designs and I'd be curious to see your version. $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Dec 20 '15 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms I was manually generating it in photoshop. If you're keen to let me know of another, better way to do it I'm all ears! $\endgroup$ – Courtny Jan 21 '16 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Courtny Well I personally would use blender (Surprise), but If you're not already a user, it will probably be too time consuming to learn (Although once you know how, it is super easy). I will experiment with photoshop. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jan 22 '16 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms No worries. I was just wondering if I could quickly do it in Blender or something with a helpful tip! I've got it pretty much covered (using a mixture of Illustrator and Photoshop). $\endgroup$ – Courtny Jan 22 '16 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ Should be pretty quick in blender, I can write up instructions when I have some time later today. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jan 22 '16 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Thank you 👍 $\endgroup$ – Courtny Jan 22 '16 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Courtny Okay, here is a quick proof of concept test (its tiled 4x sideways). The result is tweak-able, and can produce better results with a bit of extra work. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jan 22 '16 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms WOW this will be perfect! I think we can run with this!!! $\endgroup$ – Courtny Jan 22 '16 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Courtny Okay, here is an answer, if you get stuck (I can miss steps sometimes) just ping me in chat, and I can help you and improve the answer: blender.stackexchange.com/a/45383/3127 $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jan 22 '16 at 3:12
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I'm so happy this moment is finally here!
Having already expressed my initial enthusiasm for the design, I'll jump straight to the nit-picking ;)

My 2¢

Header imagery

I agree with iKlsR's comment about the header, I too feel like it's slightly barren.

There was talk of having a "render of the week" meta post (photo.se style). Or some kind of contest, if not quite that.

Perhaps the winning image could be put in the header on a weekly basis and shown off to everyone?


Suzanne icon

Regarding the perspective/orthographic Suzanne badges, there was some question as to whether the Suzanne icon is recognizable enough.

Here's a comparison between the new, perspective Suzanne badges, and my orthographic concept badges (just ignore the poor colors on mine :P)

enter image description here enter image description here

Note the perspective gives the slightest hint of the eyebrow things (which are not visible in the orthographic version), but almost entirely loses the ears.

The orthographic version doesn't have any hint of the eyebrows, but shows the ears nicely. That said not everyone saw ortho Suzanne right away either.

Apologies for picking on you @PGmath, but it seems you are the only existing B.SE user with all three classes of badge to be themed with the new site theme so far :)

Just for a larger-than-tiny reference, here's a perspective Suzanne and an orthographic Suzanne both shaded and flat:

enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

Perhaps since many Suzanne images have Suzanne sitting on a surface (and therefore rotated backwards so as to sit flat), the silhouette would be more recognizable if there was a slight backwards rotation.

Here's Suzanne rotated 20° backwards and at a longish focal length (40mm from about 4 meters away) so there still with some perspective, but not quite as much as the wide-angle shot from before.

enter image description here enter image description here

With some rotation both the eyebrows and the ears are nicely apparent.

Now the question is which is most recognizable as Suzanne at icon size:

  1. enter image description here

  2. enter image description here

  3. enter image description here

I personally find 1. more recognizable, but 3. more aesthetically pleasing (however I'm not sure I could tell it was Suzanne if I didn't already know).


Tag style consistency

I noticed the "related tags" at the bottom don't match the normal tags.

enter image description here

It might be confusing to have tags styled differently in different parts of the site.


Pattern perspective

I noticed that the perspective on objects in background pattern seems inconsistent. The cube, plane, and suzanne appear to have some perspective distortion, while the rest look fairly orthographic.

I realize these are probably intended to be more stylized than accurate, but to me it feels rather strange. So I had a go at making a mock-up of all-ortho primitives, and added some flat lighting for fun:

enter image description here


The logo

Many have already commented about the logo, but here's my own thoughts:

  • I find the point perhaps too rounded. While the arms on the blender logo are indeed quite round, most speech bubbles seem to have sharper points. Combined with some vague resemblance to the letter q, I like having a more pronounced "stem".

  • Maybe it's just me, but the socket seems rather "puffy" (too much padding). I personally like it better when the padding is less thick than the white circle within the logo itself.

  • Regarding distinguishing from blender.org, it's true that it really looks just like the blender logo when placed in the socket with text saying just "blender". However I think this is more the fault of the text, and not something that can be easily remedied by changing the logo.

    To an outsider there is no real concrete indication of what this logo represents, aside from the text. Especially when seen in contexts outside of the site itself, e.g. here.

    I think attempting to communicate that this logo refers to the Q&A site through the logo alone isn't practical, especially when it's placed next to text which sends an ambiguous if not contradictory message.

    Would it be completely out of the question to change our site name to something more distinctive, e.g. something like "blender QA" (as suggested by @iKlsR) or "AskBlender" (like AskUbuntu)? Or if not actually change the site's name, could a tagline or some other little extra text be worked in to avoid our "brand image" literally reading exactly like the blender logo?

    enter image description here

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ #1 Suzanne looks awesome! (the other two are horrifically ugly!) $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 3 '15 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ @X-27 Suzanne? Ugly!? ;) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 3 '15 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ the other two Suzannes are squashed circles with a blob underneath. #1 actually looks like Suzanne. $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 4 '15 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ On the subject of orthographic rendering, I think the all the wire graphics on the T-shirt would look better in orthographic, as well as the Suzanne $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 4 '15 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Most of them look orthographic (e.g. the cylinder and the torus), but others have more perspective (e.g. plane and cube). I too thought that was a little odd $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 4 '15 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ No apology necessary, you're not "picking" on me! I didn't originally notice anything wrong with the original Suzannes, but looking at yours now I definitely think they ortho ones are better. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Dec 4 '15 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ I really like the "render of the week" idea too. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Dec 4 '15 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ @X-27 #2 and #3 ugly, and coming from you? Both 2 and 3 look like nuclear explosions! (or mushrooms) $\endgroup$ – David Dec 4 '15 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ @David no, this is a proper nuclear badge. Maybe that will go on Ballistics.SE proposal.... $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 4 '15 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ I love the askblender idea. $\endgroup$ – angussidney Dec 6 '15 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ Ask Blender would look better like I wrote it, Capitalized, with a space. Also, What about dropping the socket, and making the text white? $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 6 '15 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Huge improvement on the background pattern icons! $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Dec 6 '15 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for changing the logo text or an all together different name! $\endgroup$ – David Dec 6 '15 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms That would probably look nice on the site, but in places with a white background that wouldn't work.. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 6 '15 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/6018/… I kinda liked that name $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Dec 7 '15 at 7:41
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I really like what you guys have come up with, it looks really great! I think this theme represents the community and the program very well. I like the polygonal backgrounds for the headers and footers, and the idea of having the mesh primitives as a background I absolutely love.

A few thoughts:

  • The logo text feels a bit cramped, a condensed font might not be the best choice
  • The blue might be just a tad too saturated
  • The background almost feels cluttered, maybe a little less contrast or a fade would help
  • The view count and date posted text seems to clash with the style a little, the contrast of new minimalistic and all-caps boldface seemed a little odd to me

enter image description here

I agree with most of the What I'd like to see points iKlsR made as well however I kind of like the non-capitalized Blender text.

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  • $\begingroup$ Retracted that point, don't know what I was thinking. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Dec 3 '15 at 20:58
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I waited a bit till my opinion settles a little, so here are my feelings:

  • the design won't offend, but also won't enthuse. It's very basic like other SE sites. But other SE sites have something unique to give them personality, the polygon background is very generic. The only personality we get is from the grey pattern, which is similar like chemistry's SE background and not very noticeable.

  • logo is nice at first impression, but the longer I see it the less I like it. Mostly because of the font and how aligned/mis-aligned things are.

    Icon is like Blender had a baby with 9CHAT:

    enter image description here

    I don't think Blender's logo is a miracle and for example the perspective distortion shouldn't be copied. That's a bad design thing in a logo.

    The font is a no-go for me. Optically the text is not placed well. It works for the bl part, not so much for the ender part - too much white around and too much on top of text. Makes the left-side of logo seem fuller and the right-side seem emptier with text too much at bottom (the right-side is not centered around the half-circle). If you see the original Blender logo the letters have not that different height and there is bigger white margin at bottom than on top, which works better. I blame the chosen font.

    enter image description here

    The logo is also very similar to Blender's logo which is not a bad thing on itself, but combined with a generic and simple background it gives an impression of Blender Foundation site and not a Stack Exchange site. I don't think you want that. Rather tone the Blender logo similarity down a bit, and give the other design elements more personality (like the primitive pattern has).

  • The Suzanne badges don't work at all. They are too small for the silhouette to work. They look like some crooked displaced T's. Something I don't want to have as a badge (Suzanne yes but this is no Suzanne).

    The colors also don't work. What about some shading, stroke and a bit of pixel-art highlights to make it look more expensive like this:

    enter image description here

    I think this can be accomplished in a 12x12 icon.

    Fair point would be not to make it look too arcade-ish. Also line-art looks good with single color, but not shapes with large body in my opinion.

I am probably just missing some stroke around the Suzanne badges though:

enter image description here


Now what I would love and probably won't have is a darker color scheme. All the software I work with is dark themed. When I open SE site it is shock for my eyes, not a pleasant one.

I know you have to follow SE white design for consistency, but this site is for people who work in dark themed programs's mostly. Give it a thought and please give us the darkest design you can. For example when I go to BlenderArtists it's much easier on my eyes than SE.

enter image description here

enter image description here

For the text I imagine something like the bottom left. And the site background and header being a darker tone. The site doesn't have to be white text on dark, but as it is now the bright white is too painful.

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    $\begingroup$ I love your answer, and totaly agree with all of your points except for the dark site. I said something very similar back when gandalf suggested the suzanne badges. Here was my idea for the badges, still suzanne but a more common shape. (Are my logo ideas any better?) $\endgroup$ – David Dec 5 '15 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ I agree about keeping it a bit darker, but not dark dark (like what most of us use in Blender). I think your bottom left one is good. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 5 '15 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ "this site is for people who work in dark environment's mostly" - I know the whole post is just opinion, but that was said like it was a fact, which it really isn't. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Dec 6 '15 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ @RayMairlot sorry I meant program dark environments. Blender is dark, everything from Adobe is dark, Zbrush is dark, most 3D apps and tools are dark. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Dec 6 '15 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Jerryno Dark backgrounds are EVIL for long paragraphs, unless you turn down the contrast massively, which looks just plain awful. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 6 '15 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ I wholeheartedly agree with you about the logo. Whatever 9chat is, it has no business making babies with Blender, lol. But I feel (and people will stone me to death for saying this) that we shouldn't have Suzanne badges, or Suzanne anywhere ...with the one exception being Gandalf's background pattern icons, which are very tastefully done and Suz is presented as what she is: a prim object (not a idol to worship, or the main theme of Blender). $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Dec 7 '15 at 2:10
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for dark background. I know I'm likely in the minority, but I've themed my entire desktop around a darker, easy on the eyes look. Most websites (BSE included) present a sharp and uncomfortable contrast. I've learned to live with it (perhaps I'll make a userstyle sometime), but having a native dark theme (or even a softer light theme) would give it a more welcoming and comfortable feel imo. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 7 '15 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the logo, I always thought the subtle hint of perspective in the blender logo was rather clever. Blender has everything to do with 3D, and the logo reflects that in a very subtle way (no huge bevels etc) which works well even when icon size. Granted, we aren't trying to make the blender logo here, but I thought I'd throw my opinion around nonetheless :) Perhaps it would look less like "9chat" if it had a slight twist? Or even with the stem on the other side? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 7 '15 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 Even when there is a resemblance with 9chat I don't think we will come up with anything better than you original design (which I like more than this rounded version). I think the problem is with the font and the socketing. The white socketing also helps the 9chat logo resemblance, your original icon is fine. I am definitely for a softer light theme, this one is so white it can't be any more white.. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Dec 7 '15 at 10:28
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I'm not one to mince words, so I am being blunt with my criticisms. I think the designers did an excellent job on this and I am just nit picking.

The polygon background seems to fade off on the sides:

enter image description here

I can see why this was considered a good design, however, I think the background should either extend all the way, or at least have a wider feather, extending out more. This one is minor and quite subjective.

I also want to point out that the font spacing could be a bit wider.

Alot of other people mentioned this, but the logo is two rounded. I think it could be pushed more towards the shape of the stack exchange logo, specifically using a pointed end. In combination with the fonts it looks slightly childish.

The coaster/mouse pad thingies (if they are mice pads, they should be square, a round mouse pad will be annoying).

The big thing with them is the un-motivated gradient. It makes the corners feel chopped off, and would work much better for a square. I think the better options would be a) ditch the gradient or b) change it a little.

I first thought a centered radial gradient, going out, would work, but that might look odd. How about a radial gradient, but a little bit closer to the bottom, like the one on the left:

Mousepad Demo

These might need a bit of tuning, but the idea is there.

Note: Reject suggestions 2 and 3 on the image if you guys go for square, they only help with round.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good suggestion! I was informed by Jin that mousepads will probably never happen (we actually have some SE branded circular ones) but it's not a standard swag item, just something fun to show off. $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 4 '15 at 0:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Courtny Awww! I wanted a mouse pad, the one I currently have is looking on the old side, and wearing thin... $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 4 '15 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ I know :( I spilled coffee on my SE one yesterday and ruined it. Also, circles do suck as mousepads. $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 4 '15 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Mine too :/ Its so old it was probably made when mice used mechanical spheres.. Re. the background fade, it looks to me that it fades on both sides. Or am I missing something..? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 4 '15 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 it does, I just didn't need to draw to boxes. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 4 '15 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ > The polygon background seems to fade off on the sides $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 4 '15 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ @gandalf3 My mouse pad nearly pre-dates me....... so yeah, its old. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 4 '15 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Courtny Shoot! I wanted a mouse pad too. (My current one is over a decade old and disintegrating into powder all over my desk.) $\endgroup$ – PGmath Dec 4 '15 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ I totally agree- looks horrific fading out at the end. (I may be slightly over stating that a bit) but you do have a good point. $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 5 '15 at 3:52
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    $\begingroup$ Swag makers take note: mouse pads are in high demand! $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 5 '15 at 7:19
5
$\begingroup$

My thoughts

  • The header and footer are great! Good colors in the pattern. (I do agree with GiantCowFilms' thoughts in the pattern edges.)
  • I'm very curious to see what the mock up for the meta looks like. I would be in favor of a desaturated blue for the header and footer, instead of the common grey scale.
  • The overall colors of the text, links, vote buttons, and tags are great! I'm very happy to see a better contrast for the hover color. What does the hover state look like for the main links? (pictured below) main links
  • I do not like the shape of the badges, perhaps we have taken the "almighty" suzanne too far. I for one want to be able to say I have 6 gold badges, not gold suzannes. What if (for example) we use a different primitive for each badge?
  • What font is the body text? (I find it less readable then the current Arial)

A some what minor point: I don't like the site background "Primitive Pattern." It looks too childish with the the thick lines. The good part is the grey on lighter grey it is not too noticeable. :) (However it looks great on the T-shirt.)


The logo

My big sticking point is the logo. I do not like the logo, at all.
It looks like just a odd blender logo copy. We are very much a part of the blender community, yet we are separate from blender. We should have our own distinctive logo.
Look how similar the two logos are. Especially when it is wrapped in the white outline, it looks blender logo vs BSE logo blender logo vs BSE logo

Instead, here are some example logos my brother and I made:

BSE logo 1
This first logo stays true to the shape that was already defined in our mock up logo, and found in many other sites across the network. The horizontal stripes pay homage to the SE logo. The colors are taken from the blender logo. A modern logo that mixes the familiar blender colors with a bold SE styled shape.

BSE logo 2
This logo is fully inspired from within blender. The icon is an adaptation of blender's familiar material icon. Again the colors are taken from the blender logo.

BSE logo 3
This logo is what happens when you take the the blender colors in the shape of the material icon, and spin it, as if it were in a kitchen blender. Which makes a fun an unique logo.
BSE logo 4
Here is a variant in the blender type white outline. Yet this may be straining too far towards another familiar blender logo.

I can upload the SVGs for the logos if anybody is interested.


So all in all I quite like the way you are headed with the overall design. (For me this is rather similar to how movies' logo played out.)

PS while we are talking about our new site, might we be able to get blend file hosting?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know.. I for one would much rather have gold Suzannes ;) Interesting idea with the multi-primitive badges. gd.se did something like this. I like the top logo concept, but it doesn't work as well against the background imo. The pinwheel idea is interesting, but I'm not sure I like the kitchen blender analogy. This isn't a site for kitchen blenders (even if we do get questions about them..) +1 for file hosting :) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Dec 5 '15 at 7:18
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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of the different primitive badges. Maybe it would be something like a cube, then a sphere, then a Suzanne? Bronze, Silver and Gold respectively. I think that this would be a way to give better levels to badges. It would make it feel like more of an achievement to get a gold badge, because not only is it a different color, and counted in a different category, but you also get Suzanne to go along with it. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 5 '15 at 8:17
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    $\begingroup$ For the logo, I don't really like your last few ideas. They just doesn't feel like they have a strong enough foundation in Blender, or SE. While I get where your getting the inspiration from, It's just not a direction that I think is worth taking. I think that there might be somewhere to go with your first suggestion though. Something to experiment with might be to keep the shape, but also add in the "core" from the Blender logo. Then making the outside orange, but keeping the inside blue (helps keep the color scheme a bit more friendly), and then the white padding can stay. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 5 '15 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ Your first idea for the logo looks great, the second looks awesome. the last two are horrific, as in Really Bad (I'd edit them out of my post if I were you) But- Your first two logo concepts are Really Good I'd say even better than the logo the designers made for us! $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 5 '15 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ @DalekMaker I woud want a bronze sphere, a silver cube, and a gold Suzanne. because, in all seriousness, cubes are way better then spheres. They have fewer polygons, which makes it easier on the BGE. Cubes are nicely shaped, while spheres are so ... round! I would not mind replacing the gold Suzanne with a golden mech, but Suzanne might be more familiar to most of the users. $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 5 '15 at 14:36
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    $\begingroup$ I like the Suzannes, don't take them away! I agree our logo could use a touch up, making the shape more distinctive, however most of those other suggestions are cringe worthy (sorry to be so harsh). $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 5 '15 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ The first logo could be really good, the third one could with some work. The second one is a bit 2000's though. Clashes with the rest of the site a bit $\endgroup$ – VRM Dec 5 '15 at 15:28
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Since I think the site logo as it stands is very close to the Blender logo, and doesn't really convey the Stack Exchange aspect, I took a shot at making something to more effectively communicate both ideas.

Against a blue preview background:

Blender Stack Exchange Logo Concept - Blue background

Download the .blend


With no background (transparent):

Blender Stack Exchange Logo Concept - Transparent Background

Download the .blend


With a third dimension:

Blender Stack Exchange Logo Concept - Blue background - 3D Angle

Download the .blend

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  • $\begingroup$ I find it on the ugly side and prefer some of @gandalf3's alternate suggestions. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 6 '15 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms That's not really helpful critique. What don't you like about it? What ideas of Gandalf's do you prefer? $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Dec 6 '15 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ I prefer some designs that gandalf posted elsewhere (still WIP), the final output should appear on main. I cannot really give helpful feedback on the current design since I don't see how it can be improved sufficiently without fundamentally changing it . . . Sorry to be so brutal but to me at least it feels like its just a bad idea - no room for improvement. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 7 '15 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Well you have the right to hate it, but that still doesn't get us any closer to getting a logo that communicates "Blender + SE". David and TARDIS Maker came close, but David's kind of resembles a country's flag more than the Blender logo, and TARDIS Maker's looks like tire marks have streaked through it. (No offense, guys) I think having a balanced blend of both logos makes it easily understood at a glance - as a remix of existing symbols rather than just the Blender logo with two of its appendages missing. Hopefully someone can come up with something that people won't hate. $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Dec 7 '15 at 1:58
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I agree... I was merely saying this isn't the best choice, but thank you for throwing your idea in. Sometimes I feel like design can b a bit of a chance game where you just need to keep chucking more ideas until you strike lucky. Hopefully with this many people taking enough shots we will succeed! $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 7 '15 at 4:23
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    $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Cheers. I'm going back to the drawing board and looking over the icons in the SE site list, and realizing that from the standpoint of being easy to recognize within that list at a small size, the present icon is actually well-suited. When I saw the concept stickers, t-shirts, etc I thought: "Nobody who sees this on a shirt will know what it is". But now I'm inclined to think that looking good in that list is the higher priority. Still considering possibilities... $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Dec 7 '15 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Mentalist You nailed it regarding the site list. We design for considerations of our primary use cases (digital format, small sizes, needs to be unique, but not completely unfamiliar to a user who only knows the Blender brand). Design intent is not to abstract it so far that we lose that connection with our passer-by visitors. In fact, we'd rather like them to stay a while and take a second glance ;) $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 7 '15 at 18:04
3
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Nice job! Overall, I like it.

I think I mostly agree with everyone. I've already expressed that in a few comments.

The logo

I quite like the logo idea, but it's just too rounded. As some others have said, it feels a bit childish. Kind of like it's a safety logo.

I prefer the original:

enter image description here

Some people say that it's a bit too similar to the Blender logo, and are afraid that people will come here and think that this is an official Blender site. While they have a valid point, I think that it should be fairly easy to tell it apart just based off of the content.

I think they're also forgetting that when you aren't logged on, there are several sections that explain what the site is about.

enter image description here Home Page

enter image description here Question

I think that's enough of a disclaimer.

To me, the most important thing when it comes to that, is that people don't expect to be able to come here to download Blender. That they can immediately tell that this is a Q&A site, and not the official Blender web site.

Weather it looks like "official" Blender isn't really important, imo.

Now, I did make a logo based off of @Davids first idea based off of the SE logo. It didn't really turn out all that great, but I thought I'd post it just in case it gives anyone any ideas.

enter image description here

I'll probably experiment a bit more with it also.

Badges

I definitely want Suzanne Badges. I also like the idea of having each type of badge be a different primitive. Like I already said, something like having bronze be a cube, silver a sphere, and gold be Suzanne. This isn't important though. Just a fun thing to have.

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    $\begingroup$ I like bronze be a cube, silver a sphere, and gold be Suzanne! $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Dec 5 '15 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ bronze sphere, sliver cube, and gold Suzanne! $\endgroup$ – X-27 the fluffy unicorn Dec 6 '15 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ The logo idea isn't work too well. In my opinion the lines aren't really working. I think we are forgetting that they are supposed to communicate "Stack" as in stackexchange. Currently they just look like stripes. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 7 '15 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Yeah, I agree with you. I just posted in the case that it might give people ideas. Although did this need a DV because you didn't like the mockup logo, when there is a lot of other stuff here also? $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 7 '15 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ @TARDISMaker I have not DV'd $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 7 '15 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms Okay, sorry. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Dec 7 '15 at 15:07
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With respect to the word mark, I don't have any particular preference for any of those suggested, and have the same problem with all of them: I think the label should specify that the word mark is for "Blender Stack Exchange", and not for "Blender" by adding the words "stack exchange", or the SE symbol to the word mark.

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    $\begingroup$ Yeap! We're going to head in a similar direction as we did over on the Salesforce community and incorporate "Stack Exchange" into the word mark to ensure we are concise. $\endgroup$ – Courtny Dec 17 '15 at 15:52
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I just thought about a logo variation, quickly sketched in two slightly different styles, here, if this can help somehow:

enter image description here

added another,

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ The one on the bottom won't work when small, and "SE" is a rather vague term outside of certain contexts. The above logos, with the questions marks, are off balance, and are visual confusing. They give the impression of reaching down to pic something off the floor. Overall I'm not terribly fond of all these mashups. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 11 '15 at 20:57
0
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I love it! I think we should add something about fluid simulation to the mood board. I know it might go against the minimalistic theme, but I think it would very cool!

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    $\begingroup$ Why fluid sim? That isn't what blender is known for (The fluid sim is probably the weakest out of all the simulation engines). If we represent that, we'd probably want to add smoke sim, cloth sim, the game engine the compositor... the list of blender functions is endless. I think it might be best to stick to the basics. :D $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Jan 4 '16 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ I understand your point about we would have to include all the other sims, but I maybe I am the only one who finds the fluid sim so fascinating! I just spend most of my time in between projects just messing around with it... XD. Just my opinion $\endgroup$ – Pythogen Jan 5 '16 at 0:18
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$\begingroup$

Just another logo idea...

Iconic cube and 3D-transform widget

Download the .svg

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    $\begingroup$ I would actually say this would be a better recommendation for general 3D site or something. It isn't very blender specific. Furthermore I find the design noisy, it looks terrible small and is generally confusing. However, I do like the concept of the arrow controls. I think this may need some work, but it is not without potential. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Dec 9 '15 at 14:48

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