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Question is listed as one of the "The 7 Essential Meta Questions of Every Beta":

This one is pretty straightforward. Solicit contributions, throw out ideas, post preliminary (or finished) designs, and be supportive and respectful of other people’s ideas and creativity.

We have designers on staff who will actively help come up with site designs but, if an idea stemming from the community stands out as exceptional, we are happy to use it.


Suggestions:

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    $\begingroup$ Just one note: We won't get our design until we get out of beta (at least 90 days away, almost positively more). $\endgroup$
    – hichris123 Mod
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ +1 @hichris123: Right, that's my understanding too; in fact, my memory is that sometimes in the past it took much longer, though that was when SE was more focused on launching new sites, not growing the existing ones. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's good to plan this early, as the more organised we are in devloping this site, the higher the chance we will be allowed out of beta after 90 days $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Geodude: Nah, if you want out of beta, focus on core stats; logos really mean nothing to the success of the site. This is more of an exercise in community building in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ FYI 90 days is just an abolute minimum, most sites stays in beta for years. In fact Academia just graduates after 2 years of beta. $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ @plannapus: Yes, I know; a beta would really have to have 'primed the pump' to get out the door in 90-days. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 5:04
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    $\begingroup$ Who needs a logo when you can have CAKE? boingboing.net/2014/04/29/scientifically-kinda-accurate.html $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2014 at 17:33

15 Answers 15

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I like the title bar at academica-se. It would provide a lot of space to show a diorama of all the planetary processes this site is about.

Some things it could include:

  • Rock cross section (with some folds and faults, different colored lithologies, fossils, ...)
  • Ocean (sea ice, currents, ...)
  • Atmosphere and its processes (rain, lightning, ...)
  • Atmosphere could grade into black in the top and show some planet orbits and some symbolic planets (for planetology)

I don't have a good idea for an icon. There are so many earth logos floating around the Internet that it will be difficult to find a unique one.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the biosphere! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ +1 @David: Agree, good point - though if the answer is going to list "biosphere" - it might as well clearly define all sub-parts of Earth Science. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @blunders hmm. I was thinking [biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere] but then there is the hydrosphere ... are there more? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ @David: Good question, in fact, decided to post a question about it here: What are the domains of Earth Science? $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 17:25
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The UCI ESS logo might be a source of inspiration

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Not bad. You could change it to wind/wave, ecosystem, and geophysics for the three groupings, to broaden it. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 7:25
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    $\begingroup$ @naught101: Honestly, I don't like it; in my opinion: (1) the visual style is dated; (2) has the potential to be a reference to the "trinity" (3) Earth Science is not just three topics. That said, it's a "real" logo, which is good. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:13
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    $\begingroup$ @blunders good idea, it is posted here with hyperlinked image ... btw an even shorter reference would be [3,2] (?) $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2014 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ +1 Yep, noticed you moved it, thanks; and yes, like the [3,2] even better than R3#2, it's easier to read. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 2:57
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Earth Science Logo (ES-001)

enter image description here

(source)

UPDATE: After posting a number of images, might be worth noting that this is the only one that in my opinion would not have any copyright issues as is, since although it was inspired by this image - the mods are enough that it's not a "copy"; though honestly, don't like it that much.

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  • $\begingroup$ None of them are going to be used as-is, they're just inspiration for an original design, so we don't really need to worry about copyright. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:48
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    $\begingroup$ The only thing I don't like about this suggestion is that brown bump which represent a mountain or a continent sits on top of the green part. If we want such detail we should at least get the Moho right. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 14:25
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⊕ something based upon the astronomical and astrological symbol for Earth?

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    $\begingroup$ +1 Nice, find Siv; so far, this "sun cross symbol" is the most pure rendering of the topic, and personally, I like to reduce terms to their simplest possible form, and the reference to classical elements too. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ "In astronomy, the same symbol is used to represent the Earth, rather than the Sun. It is used and recognized officially by various professional scientific organizations, such as NASA, and the United States Naval Observatory (USNO)." $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 17:17
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Earth Science Logo (ES-002)

enter image description here

(source)

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    $\begingroup$ looks like Archery SE $\endgroup$
    – Siv
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ +1 @Siv: Agree, good point; too bad, since I liked it. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ +1 this logo, it has the simplicity the other logos don't. I wouldn't worry about the archery thing, it doesn't look too much like it, and remember physics.SE logo resembles a sombrero, meta.physics.stackexchange.com/questions/5427/…, but still quite an effective design in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ Simplicity would be a pale blue dot. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot $\endgroup$
    – Siv
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ Looking through google images I saw this as a more interpreted style of globe, which shows geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere. Perhaps it would be better with fewer animals and more processes. groton.k12.ct.us/cms/lib2/CT01001200/Centricity/Domain/1061/… $\endgroup$
    – Siv
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ I don't like this image because it puts too much emphasis on the internals of the earth, when that is only a tiny part of geoscience - most people are dealing with the crust up. @siv: apparently the earth is made of bricks! Well that solves a lot of problems. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101: The Earth is made of bricks, what are you talking about... :-) $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101: Returning to the topic of the "target" logo above, I agree it is focused on a very limited subset of what the Earth Science is. Though honestly, semantically speaking "Earth Science" if a very complex topic, and to believe that such a topic might be represented visual as a logo is a stretch; at best you'd have something that's a bunch of color bands where the each color means something; at least that's my opinion. Believe the key to to visually say "Earth Science" - not show what "Earth Science" is, since a bunch of colors is not very memorable. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101: Added this image to give some context to how hard it is to fit everything in, especially in a compact image. If you know of something better, please post/link to it. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 2:35
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101, the physics logo is a cool image from a very specific branch of particle physics. It doesn't attempt to encompass all branches of physics in the one logo and we shouldn't try either. $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ Fair point. That said, I hadn't ever noticed that Feynmann diagram until you pointed it out - I was thinking "Isn't it some kind of abstract, general 3D wave thing?" :P . Physics is, I think, probably more suited to those iconic images than geoscience, because most of the last few centuries of physics has been working down to that level. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ Feynman diagram is too iconic to be a logo; meaning legally speaking. That said, never noticed it either; it's behind the word "Physics" on Physics.SE; main thing is that my understanding is Physics is seen as a cumulative chain reaction, and that diagram is pretty close to the core of the origin of Physics; not a physicist, don't quote me on that... :-) ...though I have read quotes from Feynman basically saying as much. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Siv: Posted a "Pale Blue Dot" for you here. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 17:53
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Earth Science Logo (ES-008)

(click here for full-size image) enter image description here

(source)

Note: Clearly to complex of an image for a logo, but an attempt to find a single image that "shows" as much of Earth Science as possible. Might be of use as inspiration for a background image for the header-banner image.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't like it as an idea of a logo, but I like as a concept for overall design. $\endgroup$
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ @PavelV.: Oddly, SE requests this question (for which all of these answers relate to) cover all aspects of the design for EarthScience.SE; meaning the logo, website, etc. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ this really is a beautiful image. $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2014 at 1:03
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Earth Science Logo (ES-008)

enter image description here

(source: "handcrafted" by blunders)


Note: Created the above as a result of Siv's Pale Blue Dot comment here.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'd be in favour of a slightly paler blue, but I really like the concept :-) $\endgroup$
    – kaberett
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ @kaberett: Maybe, the color of the image changes based on its size, so up front spending a lot of time on the exact colors (currently there three circles of colors) doesn't make much sense; the color changes the smaller it gets, not because I changed the color, but because of the increasing amount of white space around it; which is to say, the size, then background, then color selection would require some balancing; personally, I like a mostly white background. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Lastly, right now I personally like the favicon size as being "the logo-size" - since it says "small" to me without being too small; that is being a single pixel. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ I think that the pale blue dot, or some similar socially transformative imagery (earthrise?) would be an excellent starting point; independent of this particular representation ... I don't have permission to edit, but would suggest indicating the motivation / inspiration and posting a link, e.g. to the page on Wikipedia. $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2014 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @David: Yeah, I'd thought about explaining it, though that's not going to happen if for some reason a "pale blue dot" was where the logo was; so, left off the descriptive logic. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @David: In regards to the "Earthrise" imagery, oddly it expresses the same thing as the "pale blue dot" but at least to me, I think of it as being more about leaving Earth, than encompassing Earth; no idea why, never thought about it until just now; might be because in the case of the "pale blue dot" it requires a memory of Earth, where the "Earthrise" imagery does not. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 15:05
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Earth Science Logo (ES-004)

enter image description here

(source)

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't like it at first, but this is pretty cool, actually. You could replace the machinery (?) around the outside with weather and water features - a tornado, lightning, a tsunami, and the sun and moon poking out either side or something. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ +1 @naught101: interesting, all of that seems possible, and agree it might look nice too. Logic behind the machinery was to have a "steam punk" look with gauges, dials, etc - to be a metaphor for science. That said, agree the center has it's own look as it relates to "Earth slice" images, and it's nice. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 3:25
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    $\begingroup$ I can't imagine it shrinked to the size of normal logo (see the "ES" balloon we have now). Too many details would disappear. $\endgroup$
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 14:43
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This is not a bad metaphor:

Earth with Magnifiying glass

Examining the earth - that basically covers all of earth science, one way or another. There are a tonne more examples for inspiration. I don't think any of them are particularly suitable as-is though. This metaphor might also work well in combination with other suggestions on this page.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, the good old "add a magnifying glass" logo; which is way, way too over used, and as a result in my opinion, anyone using the metaphor ventures into the realm of being dated. On the plus side is it does say, "Inspect Earth." $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:42
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And for additional inspiration, here is a collage made using ImageQuilts on a google image search for "earth science logos" (click to open larger version):

enter image description here

Please feel free to reference particular images in comments, or post as separate suggestion; by stating the row and column position as "2nd row, 3rd from the right" or [2,3] for short.

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  • $\begingroup$ [4,2] : Like the "Earth in a Beaker" image. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented May 1, 2014 at 2:53
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I think a logo based on a image of the earth with weather systems, and a 1/8 (or 1/4 vertical) cut out showing the structure of the planet could be good. Something along the lines of this image:

Earth with cutaway

But more of a cartoon style: simpler, higher contrast imagery, with a nice, bright colour scheme. Also, simpler weather, maybe with a hurricane for good measure, and a clear part showing a coastline. For the cutaway, maybe a volcano in the crust, and something more interesting going on in the mantle. And with the cutaway a bit further off-centre, so it takes up a bit less of the foreground - giving more even weighting to the surface vs the internal structure.

This might be too complex for a small icon, and would definitely need to be simplified for the browser favicon, but I think it should be doable.

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    $\begingroup$ I like this one the most. It should look nice even when shrinked to the size of the "ES" balloon we have now instead of a logo, and it shows Earth as seen by various geosciences. $\endgroup$
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ I think you can make variations on a theme - smaller logos can lose some of the finer details to retain clarity. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 3:24
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Earth Science Logo (ES-005)

enter image description here

(source)

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    $\begingroup$ Too much like a travel site or something. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 0:44
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    $\begingroup$ @naught101: Intent is the "mini planet" look, not to use it as is. Jin's going to have to make a custom logo. Meaning the logo would not have an island, boat, plane, palm trees - put would look like a mini planet, and show element that have more meaning, like a volcano, the moon, inner core, etc. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ I know, I meant fact that it's a small-world image, and it doesn't have much to do with most of the earth system, except a very small part of it. If it's not going to have all of those travel-related things, then what does this image add to the discussion that the earth image you posted above doesn't add? $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ Mini planet images are a style; meaning none of the other images are of this style. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 2:05
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Earth Science Logo (ES-003)

enter image description here

(source)

UPDATE: Main issue with this image is that it naturally leads to a design that's dark, which I don't think is a good fit for the look & feel of the site; nice pic though.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the darkness needs to be brought across into a logo design - if you crop the background, it's not particularly dark, and you can always choose a brighter colour palette. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ I think it is a beautiful picture, but a bit too realistic in my opinion for a logo design. $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ +1 @Geodude: Agree; the only thing going for realism is it is symbolic of science, without having to have the symbolism of science. $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 2:46
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Earth Science Logo (ES-006)

enter image description here

Note: Posted just for naught101 for taking the time to give feedback.

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    $\begingroup$ Even I don't think that's suitable, and I made it :P $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 4:33
  • $\begingroup$ +1 Ah, not even going to up vote your own work, there's true commitment. :-) $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ I like the image (or I wouldn't have it on my homepage), I just don't think it's related to this site. It's supposed to be a comment on how our current socio-econonomic system is playing (losing) games with the earth's ecosystems. It's got nothing really to do with earth science. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ Well, just an fyi, but that's not clear - to me, looks like Earth is calling the shots... :-) $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 11:26
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Earth Science Logo (ES-007)

enter image description here

(source)

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  • $\begingroup$ This one needs some explaining. Assume it's meant to say "es", but why the 90° rotation and the mirroring? $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ Means ES.SE as in Earth-Science.SE - the mirror and rotation was done to obfuscate the lettering. It's talker, since that will scale better with text added and the lines when scaled would likely be lighter than the font used with it. Lastly, took me 20-secs to make, I don't over think logos, just dump them out as fast as possible. FYI, Earth Science appears to use: rock-(grey), air-(light-blue), water-(dark-blue), life-(green) as one color scheme, so in theory the logo above could use the four colors in some way, since the logo is already in quarters. Honestly, though don't care for it... :-) $\endgroup$
    – blunders
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 4:48
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    $\begingroup$ I just see GS BS (Geoscience bullshit). $\endgroup$
    – Siv
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 8:43

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