My name is Paweł, I’m a product designer at Stack Exchange. I’m super happy for you, because the process of graduation is about to be concluded! Congratulations to all of you!
The new design comes with a few perks. It will give you your own unique theme that reflects your topic, culture & community. This will help brand your site as unique, even while you share common elements with other sites that show you are part of a bigger Stack Exchange family.
Creating design for technology-related sites is tough. Why? Because we already have plenty of them so it's hard to come up with something original AND technology topics usually don't have any physical thing that we can mimic in design or treat as a main theme. Sometimes it has to be very abstract, sometimes it has to be just simple.
So what could be design inspiration for this Community? My first thought was software box (hint for younger users: yes, we used to buy software in physical store and it was usually packed like that). Then I thought about Windows' Software Installing Process. But I realised those elements are symbolic only for me. For other users it can be something different. So I decided to go with a simple & readable design. Nothing fancy, but original enough to distinguish it from other sites and to let it have own "personality".
You also told me what you expect from a new design is simplicity and readability.
What about logo?
- How to show Software? Disk? Box? Piece of code? Window? Cliché...
- How to show Recommendations? Stars? Some sort of diploma with testimonials? Again - cliché...
I think of your community as a group of guides, as people who can tell me what exact tool do I need. You point me in the direction I need to follow. So I picked two symbols: cog (as a metaphor for software, tool, program or app) and compass (as a metaphor for guidance).
But first of all simplicity.
So here it is!
Here are some examples of how it can be used elsewhere to strengthen the visual identity.
Overall Site Design
Here’s what you were waiting for…
We believe the design and branding work very well for this community. It’s unique and captures the right mood. We’d love to hear your feedback, and if it proposes no major design changes, we’ll launch the new site design very soon.