Thanks for your great feedback and input.

I wanted to start a fresh post, and share the changes with you.

Major changes

  • No conspiracy theory looking stuff

  • Images are of actual scientific docs, readouts etc. all available for review...

  • Cleaner style

  • More modern

  • No mono-spaced courier type

  • More site elements accounted for

  • Revised brand type

  • Logo icon nose changed to be more "correct"

  • etc, etc.

All feedback welcome. Thanks :)

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  • 7
    On first glance I like a lot of the changes, great work! But the yellow looks too bright to me in this version (might look different on other monitors), I liked the more muted version of the first design better. I also liked the texture in the logo. The background images are chosen very well, the gel electrophoresis images on the right for example are directly recognizable for anyone who has experience in biology/biochemistry and related field.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 17:26
  • You said on the previous thread that you had other logos made and that we could see them. Is that still possible? The logo doesn't quite feel right, even if I love the concept behind it.
    – Borror0
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 18:02
  • 1
    great! Sadly the textural elements on the logo don't looks so great with this version of the site. the more dull yellow looked a little "sickly" / baby food-ish. Thanks for noting the electrophoresis images. @samthebrand worked with me as did Katie on chaos. Sam really loves skeptics and had great references. Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 18:02
  • 1
    @SeanGallagher I think the screenshot-in-whole might give an exaggerated sense of just how bright that yellow is. But if you DO decide to tone it down a bit, you can keep the bright yellow on the logo, but perhaps come up with a less saturated shade of that yellow to use for the header/footer bars. Just a suggestion. Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 19:17
  • GJ Sean. To others: I recommend looking at the screenshots at full res. Click on it and enlarge. The smaller screenshots in the post show every element at once, so accent colors may seem more overwhelming than how they really are.
    – Jin
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 19:38
  • Thank you mighty design overlord. Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 20:09
  • 2
    I agree on the yellow thing that others underlined. This is a very good work, but honestly it looks like someone came by and colored everything with this. :D :P
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 20:10
  • 2
    how did you know what I used to do this? Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 20:22
  • @SeanGallagher You admit it then! :D By the way, I hope you didn't get offended by my comment! :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 21:43
  • You should consider making the Answer Question not black. It's an important component of the site - we need new questions to survive as a Q&A site - and the black button on black background makes it too hard to see for comfort.
    – Borror0
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 22:35
  • @SeanGallagher, please review the yellow on a mac - on my iMac it's quite strong, but not so on my win box.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 13:20

11 Answers 11


Ironically this brand was created in this style FIRST - Jeff's minimalist observation must have telepathically transferred. I did draw upon the idea of "citation needed" here.

So maybe this meets both the minimalist (+1 for me: I like modernism) and some identifiable mark (+1 for a unique ID).

I also like having things like "fun" and being "awesome"... So we can still use the gears for badges, details. Here is another take on it I put together in response!

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  • 2
    I like this one!
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 21:09
  • awesome! 123456 Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 21:25
  • 1
    I like minimalism, so +1 from me. Excellent revision in both cases, taking community feedback into account. (And I should know, given that I have the scars of the first physics.se design..) Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 21:48
  • 5
    @JeffAtwood we don't speak of that anymore. ever.
    – Jin
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 22:18

I'm going to echo the comments made by many others: I'm not too good on the yellow. I think the design is great as it is, but I would prefer if another color than yellow was used instead. It's a very aggressive and taxing color. I would prefer if a colder, like blue or green, was used instead.

  • 3
    As a side note - given the insane number of hours mods spend on the site... please use a relaxing colour :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 23:42

I've made 3 more versions with less saturation and different hues. Definitely use less saturation, in my opinion.


Similar to the previous version. Click for full res.

Skeptics Gold - click for full resolution.


This tone of green reminds me of medics. Click for full res.

Skeptics Green - click for full resolution.

Light Blue

Tone of blue to indicate clarity of vision and authoritativeness (although I'm skeptical of that). Click for full res.

Skeptics Light Blue - click for full resolution.

  • 1
    I like both the gold and the blue version. In both cases, Iā€™d stick with the minimalist text logo. Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 0:48
  • 1
    I'm surprised just how much the green version reminds me of medics. I think you found used a very similar shade of green to that used for scrubs on hospital TV shows. Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 3:29
  • 1
    Sigh! It's been a year, and no real change. If only we had a strong advocate for Skeptics.SE within the SE organisation...
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 8:05
  • 1
    @Oddthinking it's the first think Jin and I chatted about...
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 8:07


Over all, this design is an improvement over the last one, from a sheer concept standpoint, but there are still remaining issues.


The color of the logo is okay. It's eye-catching without being too bright on its own; however while I like the concept of the logo, I am not sold on this version. It certainly looks more like a person now, but with the tilt of its head and the angle of its torso, it looks very sad. Perhaps if there were a something like a hand in front (ala The Thinker), it would have a different feel. You mentioned that you had several versions in the works. Any chance that we could see some of the others?

I like that "skeptics" is written in lowercase. It separates us from the conspiracy nuts, and feels inviting.


The concept for the background is great. I like that it contains scientific papers, and that they are muted so as to not compete with the content. It works as a concept, although it seems a bit dull. Is it possible to have several different backgrounds in a similar style that can be cycled through? If we have to look at that same graph all the time, it seems like it would get tiresome. Also, I don't know if it is just a matter of the preview image or not, but the background suffers from JPEG artifacts pretty bad. I assume that that is just a matter of the preview image, but if not then that should be changed.

Color Palette

I like that the color palette is restricted, but I don't know if the yellow and lime green are the best choices. The color at the top of the page works well enough. The yellow appears to be more muted here than the rest of the page. It contrasts well with the darker gray of the background; however when this is reversed on the bottom of the page, it becomes difficult to read the text against the yellow. I generally do not like the way that the yellow is used throughout the site. It's a very attention-grabbing color, and seeing it on Xs, numbers, quote lines, and as the background for the author info box is very jarring, as they are less important to me than other areas of the site. I would reserve it for VERY rare cases, and places where it is vitally important to draw the attention of the user.

The green on the white doesn't have enough contrast. It should either be darker or more saturated to make it more visible. It basically looks like the questions with answers are less important than the ones without.

Font Choice

Helvetica and Verdana are good choices.


The icons are clear, and look like buttons. I just don't like the yellow in the activated states.


The only issue that I have with the merchandise is related to the logo. I love the last shirt.

  • Thanks for the great feedback. The yellow states for the larger buttons are on hover. The BG background image compression looks ok at 100% - so if you're super zooming in, it may look a bit off. I'd rather have some hidden JPG artifacts than a giant file to load. I can adjust the green in CSS and check it on a few monitor simulators / realtime office examples. And yes.. MECHANICAL DARWIN! Thank you very much. Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 21:21

[I am trying something different this time. Multiple answers so people can vote on the separately.]

Several people have suggested the yellow is too bright; I agree. Jin's suggestion about zooming in did seem to help.

However, there are actually at least two different yellows, which might be confusing matters. The "Start A Bounty" and David Thornley's User Badge are different yellows.


I'm taking a contrary view to Jeff Atwood here.

I like the gear head, now that he (?) is in no risk of drowning in the first rain shower.

Yes, gears may be used a bit, and "get your brain into gear" is a common phrase, but I certainly don't roll my eyes at the cliche when I see it.

I'm looking forward to running a competition to name the person, putting words into his mouth, and photoshopping in a party whistle for New Year's Eve. Whimsy? Sure! When we make a rainbow-coloured version with a unicorn horn, Jeff will see the appeal. ;-)

My first reaction to the new Skeptics word mark was that it was too simple. Without meaning to belittle the art of good design, it is just a word with some very tight keming. Without the Newton Gearloose (Okay, okay, I am just throwing the name out there!) image, it would be more than merely clean. It would be dull.

If the gear head does go, can we please have a more interesting word mark?

[If you are keeping the word mark simple, so you can quickly adapt to another, great thinking!)


I like the improvements a lot. The overall design is cleaner and sharper which I think is a better representation of what the site is about, although I cannot exactly articulate why.

The things I think could be improved are:

  • I still think the gears-in-head icon is too generic. The idea of gears in a head is quite common and used for things from training seminars to engineering to writing. Nothing about it clearly says skeptics.
  • A logo that had a few elements of things characteristics of skepticism would be more apt in my mind. The previous question has some good suggestions in the answers, things like a magnifying glass or a citation or perhaps a well known skeptics issue, like the UFO in the Skeptic Magazine logo.
  • I really think the idea of a light design is important. It's hard for me to imagine using the site with a dark grey on the sides, rather than a lighter color with perhaps a darker logo. I think the idea of shining a light on issues is important, although I don't know if that translates to design well. I feel that it may and would do more to distinguish us from conspiracy sites which in my experience, tend to be dark.
  • If sticking with the head logo, perhaps make it less abstract? Show a mouth or some hair or something. I think this would make the site look more refined, which is also a better representation of the community having higher standards than is typical.

Just a few suggestions. I'm looking forward to see how the design progresses.


Will the tag count be prefixed with "×"? (e.g. ×23)

The meaning of the current appearance - just number by itself - seems unclear.

  • yes it will have "×"
    – Jin
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 16:36

The vote count of the accepted answer is too low contrast to make it out easily against the white. (The number "350" in the sample, but more likely to be a one or two digit number, making it even harder to notice.)


People said the gearhead was too cliched. I disagreed, I liked it and was sorry to see it go.

Then I saw this ad for Luminosity:

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I guess they were right after all.


Much better! I like it!

One suggestion, I think it'd be cleaner if we dropped the gearhead. That part is still IMHO a little too whimsical for the tone of the site (it's also a bit steampunk looking).

I'm a big fan of "Omit Needless Elements" in design, so...

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The "just text" logo is clean, simple, and to the point -- much like scientific skepticism itself.

  • 4
    I think the logo is fine. As for the whimsical remark, I think it's less now than the previous version. Look at the great PBS Logo , it's similar art style. Also I like the fact the thinking man is back facing the "skeptics" type, as if he's skeptical about skeptics.
    – Jin
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 19:24
  • I'm not really a fan of the "generic gear motif" as we are already using that a few different places and it's kind of a cliche. Maybe if the head had something other than a generic gear inside it.. a thought bubble? Or just a solid 'head'? Or a much more simple gear that's less visually busy? (And you'll note the PBS head has nothing 'inside' it, either, for a cleaner look) Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 19:27
  • We're using the gear elsewhere? The only place that comes to mind with a gear is StackApps.
    – Aarthi
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 19:39
  • PBS ID is their own ID. They do not have / lack anything other than per what they designed. They also have a much more universal message of "every human" vs the specific communication goal of "skeptical / critical thinking". Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 19:53
  • @Aarthi I guess I was thinking I see the gear (over)used a lot in computer and phone UIs, but yes, StackApps. Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 21:50
  • @JeffAtwood Ahhh yes, that I totally understand, though I personally don't see an issue with it. I use phones and computers and stuff on the regular and I don't feel super burned out on gears. Then again, I do love me some steampunk.
    – Aarthi
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 22:03

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