Poll: Would you be open to a brand update to the forum?
Yep.
Nope.
Yes, but not this garbage you've made, Guild.
TL;DR LOL
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Note: This is a public poll, other users will be able to see what you voted for.
Discussion The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
04-03-2015, 05:16 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 05:45 AM by Guild.)
Post: #1
The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Hi, I'm Guild, a.k.a. Sean Freeman. I found this site through the Mafia Championships on the infamous 2+2 Poker Forums. You've sent a representative to the game and that person made a note about being from a design forum. I had to take a peek.

I'm a professional graphic designer and brand consultant. I'm 32 years old and obsessed with visual design. I attended the International Academy of Design Technology in Sacramento, California on my Navy G.I. bill in 2008, earning a B.A. in Visual Communication and an A.A. in Marketing. Now I help businesses and organizations present a stronger visual brand to their users, clients and customers.

Chocolate HeartHeartChocolate Piemspa

These icons are brand elements. They represent values you share as designers. Together with the forum header:

[Image: 8yO1BYX.png]

...they constitute your visual brand, along with things like colors and fonts used on this site, as well as content and your general 'group culture.'

I'd like to propose some slight changes to your brand. The largest problem imho is that your header image is optimized for cellphones, so it's stretched, showing bad anti-aliasing and large pixels on computer monitors. This is easily fixed by optimizing the image for web at a slightly larger size, so that the file is still very small and loads quickly but has crisp detail on any device. I chose a more semiotically 'chocolate' looking font than the sans serif ballpoint one currently used:

[Image: chocolatepiheader.png]

The next recommendation I'd like to make is to get a favicon for your site.

[Image: chocolatepifavicon1.png] [Image: chocolatepifavicon2.png]

Next, I'd take that color element and put it into your color scheme. The color of the header is currently matched to the gray tones of the background, but I feel it would be stronger to change those values to a chocolate brown and marry it to the visual, thus:

[Image: chocolatepiredesign.png]

Obviously I'm biased to think anything I do is good, so I'd like to open the floor to criticisms at this time.

Thanks for reading, feel free to ban the weirdo, I won't be offended :) Good luck beruru, looking forward to seeing one or both of us in the Finals :D

Remember, great design is ALL about the cohesive details!

Sean Freeman
Brand Consultant
http://www.s45creations.wordpress.com
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04-03-2015, 06:07 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 06:09 AM by ICan'tGiveCredit.)
Post: #2
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
You know the bars? I'd simply like them to stay their dark grey color. The brown is too much colorful contrast for my eyes. Other than that the design is tasty.

*chews piece of chocolate UI*

although the chocolate pi at the top should look EVEN MORE PIXELATED.

SOMEHOW.

Though I love the contribution you've made. It's like fanart for a forum! :D

Edited for Readability and Preservation of Sanity - The Revolution - OP - Chapter 1/2 - Chapter 2/2 (missing maps) - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 (Ongoing) - Chat
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04-03-2015, 06:21 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 06:23 AM by Guild.)
Post: #3
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
(04-03-2015 06:07 AM)ICantGiveCredit Wrote:  You know the bars? I'd simply like them to stay their dark grey color. The brown is too much colorful contrast for my eyes. Other than that the design is tasty.

although the chocolate pi at the top should look EVEN MORE PIXELATED.

Legit. It is a lot of brown, and doesn't jibe well with the punched steel background image. MORE pixellated?

Well, you asked for it!

[Image: logo3.png]

I think that's too many fonts though. If this were the preferred option I'd spend more time making the secondary font pixellated rather than cartoony.
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04-03-2015, 06:36 AM
Post: #4
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Changing the graphics for the website, particularly the title, is a project that we are currently addressing and probably will take action on after April.
The pixelated issue is actually an error on my part after I exported that quick edit. Havent addressed it yet due to time.

On the subject of your proposal, I'd have to admit I'm pretty strongly opposed to it. For starters, you're proposing we use a clip art image of a pie, specifically with a black outline. I don't do logos frequently but I'm pretty sure based on my educational background there are a lot of problems with that.

Combined with the terrible choice of brown, its simply not going to fly.

Another issue is that Chocolate Pi is an actual person with his own branding; the proposal is offensive to his current home page design and shows that your proposal is poorly researched.

Im going to move this topic to site feedback. The commentary is appreciated, but I don't think this would move the forum forward.
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04-03-2015, 06:41 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 06:59 AM by Guild.)
Post: #5
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Polling the community IS my research :)

My time's very valuable, I don't fully rebrand a forum on the first go. What you could think of these preliminary graphics as are 'mockups.' I never use 'clip art' in my professional work unless there are budget concerns, in which case I buy my assets.

I appreciate your points, thanks for speaking up!

And yes, the chocolate pi would obviously have to be drawn by hand. You can, again, consider these graphics as 'mockups' if you like. Among other problems, the favicon would have to be optimized for size. The one shown above is near unrecognizable.

So! Pulling a few elements from CP's website, which I am now aware of (thanks), and taking your concerns into consideration, I get something closer to this:

[Image: chocolatepieforumslogo.png]
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04-03-2015, 06:53 AM
Post: #6
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
http://chocolatepi.net/

Chances are if this forum is rebranded to better suit CPI's needs it's probably going to be comissioned as a project for whomever did his home page.

Before that happens, its likely to remain fairly simplistic / minimal as to not intrude over matters that concern his marketing for his projects.

The logo definitely needs to be more saturated, agreed, but to a pretty minor extent.
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04-03-2015, 07:03 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 07:06 AM by Guild.)
Post: #7
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Sure, a middle-ground on the saturation is great input. Let's try something more shaded and subdued to match the style of his current webpage.

You can think of this as development or feedback for that future designer if you like, it's no concern to me if this work is used or not, I'm taking some time off from work to play here, so to speak.

[Image: chocolatepieforumslogo.png]

Looking at this, I hate the pixelation as-is and want to find a bitmap style font or hand craft something more cohesive. I think I'll do that next if I don't get any more feedback in the next few hours while reading 2+2 threads.
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04-03-2015, 07:11 AM
Post: #8
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Yeah, the pixelation isn't exactly a selling point.
Personally I'd probably look into the possibility of incorporating an almost pac-man styled font with a visual style based on wedges cut from circles. I'm sure a font like that exists somewhere, but if not I think I know a guy who does fonts in that style.
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04-03-2015, 07:38 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 07:41 AM by Guild.)
Post: #9
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
You're talking about something somewhat like this?

[Image: chocolatepieforumslogo.png]

Obviously I'd have to spend a bit of time drawing in the crusts as this quick version looks more like cakes.
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04-03-2015, 08:20 AM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 08:26 AM by Guild.)
Post: #10
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
I want to talk about the multiquote button for a second:

[Image: postbit_multiquote.gif]

[Image: postbit_multiquote_on.gif]

So IF you've got a chocolate pie theme going, you want to stay friendly to new users by keeping this button clearly labeled WHILE ALSO sticking to the brand.

I recommend therefore using a piece of pie with a bite taken out for ADD and a full piece for NOADD

[Image: image.png]
[Image: image.png]
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04-04-2015, 01:43 AM
Post: #11
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Im probably just going to make a generic quote button that matches the current post button theme rather than rehaul the whole thing.

I think the font is pretty close to what I imagined, but instead of adding crusts why not just drop the drop shadow and 3D effect?
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04-04-2015, 04:21 AM
Post: #12
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Sure, easy.

[Image: lego3.png]
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04-04-2015, 11:52 AM
Post: #13
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
I think another item is that we, as a community, are not so necessarily united within "Chocolate Pi."

Mostly, we happen to be Forum Game refugees who happen to have immigrated to this forum. Not excepting that in some way this could be seen as parasitic, I wouldn't be willing to bet against the possibility that a lot of us, being such persons interested in forum games, would value the cleanliness and efficiency of the forum over whatever silly "brands" which should seek to promote something as ridiculous as "spirit" or "cohesiveness." Function over form, I would suggest, is what prevails here. Of course, it doesn't necessarily mean that redesigns shouldn't be welcomed.

I'm rather on-board with the most recent suggestion of the circular pie-like font for the title, though some letters (L and H come to mind) look more than a slight bit strange and awkwardly proportioned. The Greek pi with a "bite" taken out of it, however, is delightful.

For the most part I'm probably going to settle my position as a design-conservative here, opposing changes unless a good one is settled and fits well. I suppose I am design Amish.

Good luck on doing this, Guild.
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04-05-2015, 01:07 AM
Post: #14
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
On second though I think the 3D version would be preferable, but I still think it should be thinner. Its a fairly dark logotitle so I feel that itd be important to make the cavities within the letters a bit more visible. Also.. I think the subtitle is better off staying a bit "more conservative".
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04-07-2015, 10:13 AM (This post was last modified: 04-07-2015 10:14 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #15
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
I would like to second the points made by Kaynato, although i really dont think we need a logo or some kind of fancy pie-based font or brand or whatever. If we must have a logo, i would suggest it be merely a simple pi, with or without chocolate bite. Really, when it comes to design, simplicity tends to win out over some clever construction that hooks into a theme or name or what have you (in this case pie, chocolate and mathematically round things). It may just be me, but it took me several moments to realize that those pies were supposed to be letters, and assuming that it isnt just me, thats probably not a good design.

That said, I think it is highly questionable whether a grand rebranding of the forum would be needed or appreciated, although the occasional improvement of one thing or another is always appreciated. Speaking of which, how come we dont have a way to tell if our fellow forumites are online or offline?
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04-07-2015, 11:17 AM
Post: #16
RE: The Forum Design Thread - Good Design is all about the Details
Abracadabra.
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