I’m Stéphane, the new designer at Stack Exchange. First, I wanted to announce that this site is now starting the process of moving out of beta to become a fully-graduated site! Congratulations!
Graduation and Your Site Design
Graduation comes with a few perks. I have already begun work on your sites design, which will give you your own unique theme that reflects your topic and culture. 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.
Once the design goes up, you will receive a link in the footer of other sites in the network, along with the ability to migrate content to and from other sites — and the notoriety of a public launch that says, "Congratulations, you finally made it!"
So I wanted to present some ideas and discuss my design thought process.
During my research on the community, I read a lot of questions and answers posted on the main site. Most were on quite serious topics (e.g. coworker/employers relationships, job security, interviewing etc). I'd like our site to evoke a friendly and more relaxed feeling while talking about these important issues.
The main concept is to approach topics in a milder way to contrast with the seriousness of the corporate world. I wanted to create a calm, friendly place similar to a “coffee break/water cooler break” environment.
From a design point of view, I want the site to look simple, clean and light-hearted.
I was looking for illustrations with office related items, drawn in a simple and playful way.
I went with mostly blue shades for the site, with orange for an accent color. Blue symbolizes peace, calm and serenity, but also sensitivity and wisdom. On the other hand, orange warms up the overall tone.
For the logo, I’m using an origami icon for the “O” letter. As a logo mark, it stands out on its own and can be easily translated to other sizes, or for promotional materials for the site.
Overall site design
I’ve put familiar objects in the header which remind us of our daily jobs in order to evoke a professional workplace feeling. I wanted everything to be clean, sharp and flat so it doesn't overwhelm the menu and the content.
I believe the design captures the mood I was going for. I'd love to hear your feedback. If there are no major design changes, we're hoping to launch the site soon. Thank you for being an awesome community!