19

It may be too early to be thinking about this, or perhaps there's not much interest in it, but the look and feel of the site is almost (but not quite) as important, albeit subconsciously, as the content itself, certainly to first-time visitors.

There are always elements of personal preference in deciding on look and feel, and I certainly have my own views about what I would and wouldn't like to see, but there may also be deeper issues to consider - for example would Catholics be offended if the logo for the site was an empty cross (as opposed to a crucifix)? What other sensitivities do we need to be aware of? What criteria should our design strive to meet?

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    I think "criteria" (and hence pitfalls to avoid for the SE designers) is more important than us actually coming up with a theme. Good question! – Caleb Sep 7 '11 at 13:23
  • Any cross would probably disgust Jehovah's Witnesses. – dancek Sep 7 '11 at 23:35
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    (I don't think we should care, though.) – dancek Sep 7 '11 at 23:37
  • Athough it might be early for having a design ready, I think it is important to start the process now. And you have some important points about not offending different christian communities with symbolics, so this is imprtant to point out before any concrete design examples are proposed. – awe Sep 8 '11 at 10:18
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    Don't leave the favorite button looking like a pentagram! – dancek Sep 25 '11 at 11:15
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    @dancek Perhaps we should have a cross as our main logo and the fish as the favourite button! – Waggers Sep 26 '11 at 7:58
15

I don't think an empty cross is really offensive to Catholics. It's just missing Someone. A Catholic Church without a crucifix is a matter of consternation, but isn't applicable here.

A site that calls itself Christian had better bear a cross though, no matter how secular it is, it's a symbol we all look up to.

If it weren't so listy, I'd ask a question "What symbols tie together all Christians?" It might get some good answers.

I think we should have smiling people! That's always a good start, they'll know we are Christians by our love.

14

How about a fish? It's recognisable and shouldn't offend any denominations (as far as I know).

enter image description here

  • 3
    with an apple!! – wax eagle Sep 8 '11 at 23:55
  • Whenever I see that symbol, I think of The Fish (a Los Angeles radio station). I thought it was a modern symbol, but Wikipedia says it goes back to the first century. – styfle Sep 12 '11 at 1:04
  • Is it really recognisable? To my mind, it's a symbol of American Christianity. And I only really associate it with the "nasty Calvinism" type, but that could just be my lack of exposure to American culture. Certainly, though, the fish symbol is rare in Europe. – TRiG Sep 12 '11 at 21:23
  • @TRiG: I recognize it instantly as a non-Calvinist American. It's not nearly as common as a cross, but I'd say it's still pretty recognizable, and it's what Wikipedia uses for it's userbox for List of Christian Wikipedians. – Ullallulloo Sep 12 '11 at 23:53
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    @TRiG: Neither the fish nor the ancient Ichthys symbol it was derived from have anything to do with Calvinism or America. They are widely used to identify Christians in many countries today and have been for nearly two thousand years. – Caleb Sep 13 '11 at 12:00
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    @Caleb. I am aware that they are old symbols, and are theoretically universal symbols for Christianity, but I'm concerned that in practise they're used more by some branches than by others, and may not even be recognised as Christian symbols at all by many people in this country. I suspect that if you asked the average Irish Catholic what the fish symbol represented, they wouldn't have the least idea. – TRiG Sep 13 '11 at 12:12
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    Perhaps interlaced or superimposed with a cross? – user32 Sep 27 '11 at 0:18
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    I don't know... I think that at least for many Americans the fish symbol has begun to take on the meaning of a brand applied to things intended for Christrians, specifically, and thus could be a turn-off for non-Christians with questions. – Joel Coehoorn Feb 2 '12 at 23:15
  • If we wanted to stylize it, I might like to see a "C" with the bottom tail turned into the Icthyus (fish). – Affable Geek Apr 4 '12 at 2:22
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    Fish with Jesus written inside? After all what are we as Christians without Jesus? – Kyle C May 15 '12 at 6:01
  • @KyleC good point :) This also made me think of the fish with the cross as an eye (might be too tacky, but if done well looks good). – Fewfre Jun 27 '12 at 13:35
  • For more on the background story of the fish, it came to be an early marker to Christians in the first century because it symbolized a common acrostic that the early Christians used to share the basics of the Gospel with others. The phrase was "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior." Which in Greek is "Iesus Christos Theos Yios Soter." If you take the first letters, "ICHTHYS" it is also the Greek word for "fish". Early Christians who had to meet in secret even used the symbol to mark their meeting places. So it's been around for a long time. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys – Joel Glovier Feb 8 '13 at 18:43
10

Time to come clean with my own opinion. I too think the cross should feature strongly in our logo (or be our logo), and commend Caleb's point that the look and feel should be neutral as far as different recognisable groups, organisations & churches are concerned.

But something I'm also keen to see is a clean, modern look, not something that panders to the stereotypical, and wholly incorrect, view that Christianity is historical or old-fashioned. While rich in history, our faith is not about history or tradition but about a vibrant, living, contemporary relationship with God who is not just the God of yesterday, but of today and forever after as well.

So colour-wise I think dusty greys and browns should be out of contention, and while DJClayton's suggestion of making the site look like and old bible sounds like fun, I don't think that sends the right message on a number of levels (not only does it fly in the face of the modernity of Christianity, some may take it as a sign that we think the site is as authoritative as the Bible itself)

9

I agree with Caleb in that it should be very distinct that this is not affiliated with a church or ministry.

However, I think that the Cross and/or ichthus should be incorporated somehow. When looking at all the other SE logos, it would help make this site immediately identifiable. And I think that's a very important aspect of a logo.

Beyond that, I'll leave it to the more creative people. ;)

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    Is it fair for me to upvote an answer that just says "I agree with Caleb"? It seems like I'm gaming the system somehow. – Caleb Sep 7 '11 at 19:24
  • Hehe. :) Well, it's not entirely agreeing with you. I do think we should use the cross, but I agree with you on the point of insuring that it doesn't have any affiliations. – Richard Sep 7 '11 at 19:26
  • I didn't say we shouldn't use a cross or ichthus :) In fact I said it can bear visual clues which connect it with Christianity, which is exactly what those symbols are used for. The only trouble is I have no concrete ideas on what SHOULD be use or how NOT to make it look like a church/ministry site since so many variations of those exist. – Caleb Sep 7 '11 at 19:29
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    Wow, I totally misread your answer! Huh. I wouldn't've even posted if I read it correctly the first time. ;) The only thing my post adds is the "immediately identifiable" comment. That's kind of funny! – Richard Sep 7 '11 at 19:36
7

I would like to see the design somehow emphasize that this is a secular site. It can bear visual clues to connect it with Christianity but it should not try to look like a church or ministry site. Something distinctive about it should specifically clue people in that it is different in that respect.

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    How about an apple and a whale, the universal symbols of misunderstanding Christianity? :) – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Sep 7 '11 at 15:26
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    @WikisAtArea51: That would be hysterical. – Caleb Sep 7 '11 at 19:24
  • I posted an idea. It might work. – styfle Sep 12 '11 at 1:28
4

I agree that the cross should feature. I also think it would be fun to make the text look like an old Bible, ideally with ornate first capital letters for all questions and answers

  • This is my favourite suggestion. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Sep 18 '12 at 20:15
  • That might make the site unreadable if taken too far. Not sure if we should mess with text style too much - a screen isn't paper. – Alypius Feb 26 '13 at 4:26
3

We now have good graphic designers at our disposal, so let's take what the symbol of Christianity originally should have been:

Not the cross, but the empty tomb.

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    As someone who has helped design a few 'Easter Pageant' posters, I assure you that the empty tomb is very hard to depict, and not nearly as recognisable as the cross. – DJClayworth Sep 7 '11 at 23:46
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    @DJClayworth: also something original, and not very church-like! – dancek Sep 7 '11 at 23:52
  • You make a good point. I could be convinced to go along with that. – DJClayworth Sep 7 '11 at 23:53
  • when shrunk down as a favicon, I can't see this looking very good. I'm also not sure how much this would grab a potential member either. If it was depicted at the top of the page (similiar to RPG layout), then I think that would be very neat. – Fewfre Jun 27 '12 at 13:31
3

Just to throw out another suggestion, the Triquetra might work. It commonly represents the Holy Trinity. Much like other Christian symbols, it has been used to represent things other than Christianity. I think it differs from The Cross and The Fish in that fewer people know about it (sorry, no reference for this assumption).

I think it could represent Christianity.SE because we are a group from varying beliefs, cultures, and countries, but we are all here to learn something about Christianity. The Trinity shows that relationships are in the very nature of God, and this website is creating relationships through interactive questions/answers.

Triquetra (Wikimedia Commons)

or

Triquetra (Wikimedia Commons)

  • This is an interesting suggestions. I think I would be inclined to go this way as opposed to a cross myself. – Caleb Sep 13 '11 at 12:04
  • I actually quite like this one, from the reference wiki article, described as an early Christian symbol: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. That being said, I think some of our more sensitive brethren might find it a little too reminiscent of pagan symbols. – user32 Sep 27 '11 at 0:16
  • @Software ...such as me. That looks too much like pagan symbol... – Phonics The Hedgehog Apr 28 '12 at 21:22
  • To me looks to much like the triforce '~' but more than that, I often feel the trinity is often thought of more as a Catholic thing. Also, the 2nd image looks to complicated for my taste. – Fewfre Jun 27 '12 at 13:26
1

Of course, some Christian groups disallow iconography altogether. I'm an ex-JW, and can tell you that using the cross (or a church spire) in your logo would put off Jehovah's Witnesses, and discourage them from participating. I don't know how they'd react to a fish. Here in Ireland, I honestly don't think I've ever seen the fish symbol used to represent Christianity. I suspect there are a fair number of Catholics who'd have no idea what the fish symbol was supposed to mean. It's something I associate with an American Calvinist (and very nasty) messageboard where I used to hang out.

  • Honestly, I know some people here would actually find fewer JWs to be a positive... – El'endia Starman Sep 11 '11 at 22:58
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    @El'endia. Fewer than what? I don't think I've seen any, yet. Anyway, they are Christian, per the definition of the site, and are welcome here. As are non-Christians such as myself. – TRiG Sep 11 '11 at 23:58
  • The site is still young. Also, I agree that everyone is welcome here. I wasn't saying that I would find fewer JWs to be a positive. – El'endia Starman Sep 12 '11 at 0:07
  • Catholics know about fish. It's what we eat when we're not eating meat. Or I should hope so, anyway. – Alypius Feb 26 '13 at 4:29

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