It's been mentioned in chat a few times that the logo for our site is... potentially ambiguous at best. The Favicon being a heart has caused a stir -- apparently some people think that, because of the Favicon and the logo, we're some sort of dating site.

Clearly, we're not.

However, I do think the claims of Ambiguity are justified. Hearts are often associated with love in our English society, and the only direct claim to gaming is the fact that it's pixelized. Even that, however, is a subtle effect -- I wouldn't put it out of the question that there are sites out there that use pixelated hearts for other things -- such as an actual video-gamer dating site.

At any rate, when I mentioned this in chat, it kicked off a flurry of activity of those in the room. Clearly, the logo design was an issue which merited, if nothing else, discussion.

Are you happy with the choice for Gaming.SE's logo? Would you prefer it be something else? Do you think the logo is ambiguous or could be misconstrued?

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    I recommend a design similar to that of this lovely site: yvettesbridalformal.com – GnomeSlice Nov 10 '10 at 22:42
  • @Gnome: Thank you; I no longer feel bad about some of the absolute tripe some of my clients have made me do on their sites ... Wow. Just ... wow. – John Rudy Nov 11 '10 at 1:44
  • @John > Did you manage to find the road map? yvettesbridalformal.com/Yvettes_New_Location1.html – GnomeSlice Nov 11 '10 at 2:15
  • @Gnome: Jesus Christ on a rubber crutch, that's even worse! (No, I couldn't stand the site once the music kicked in, and clicked my favorite Firefox button: "BACK.") – John Rudy Nov 11 '10 at 2:44
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    @Gnome I love the little "Hello World" up in the top left corner of the map page haha – Nick H Nov 11 '10 at 20:50
  • I love videogames and I am a really passionate gamer. For me the pixel-ed heart is a great favicon/logo. – Drake Nov 12 '10 at 11:12
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    I would suggest a pixelated SE logo but after being made looks identical – Ronan Nov 30 '10 at 19:04
  • @Ronan +1. To me the pixelated look is way more powerful than the actual logo. Heart/G/whatever, pixelated is what stands out to me. – tzenes Nov 30 '10 at 22:52
  • @tzenes the favicon is actually 16x16 on any site already. this should also be taken into account on any of these suggestions – Ronan Dec 2 '10 at 16:55

I, for one, know that is HAS been misconstrued as dating or something equally silly by many of my peers. I think an update is in order.

The heart by itself does not directly identify with Gaming; the pixelation is what adds that element. Many games do use hearts to determine player health, so I do think this is a viable logo, but not without some work. Perhaps a 3/4 full heart with 1/4 darkened would make more sense, and be more immediately recognizable as gaming-related. Additionally, maybe 2-3 hearts in a row, with one being partially darkened would work equally well.
With either of these designs, the favicon could remain very similar; just darken 1/4 of it.

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    Perhaps you should fix your peers ;-) – Ivo Flipse Nov 10 '10 at 22:21
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    I like the darkening 1/4 or maybe 1/2 – tzenes Nov 11 '10 at 4:33
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    I love the current logo, but I have to admit that removing 1/4 is a pretty neat idea. It will retain all the awesomeness of the existing logo while increasing connotation with gaming and decreasing connotation with dating, even if only by a little bit. – Oak Nov 11 '10 at 11:05
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    I like the current logo -- still, +1 for the 1/4 darkened heart. It would not change the theme of the logo while adding a twist for anyone who sees it for the first time. – Martin Nov 11 '10 at 11:32
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    I can't get behind it. I know that it is more emblematic of a health-bar in this fashion, but even with other hearts it feels like we're giving a message that we're not giving it all. And really, we put our full hearts into this site. We use the partial heart symbol for our 404, where it fits. But I don't want to associate our site as a whole with incompleteness. – Grace Note ModStaff Nov 11 '10 at 13:37
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    Besides, we cater to dating sims anyway when they aren't adult rated. ♪ – Grace Note ModStaff Nov 11 '10 at 13:37
  • @Grace +1, agreed on the full heart issue. – TheQ Nov 11 '10 at 17:15
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    @GraceNote I dunno, that sounds an awful lot like management speak. "You mean you're not giving 110%? We're all supposed to be giving 110%." I honestly don't think anyone's going to look at a 3/4 heart and say "Well I'm never going to that site again, they clearly don't have enough hearts!" – JavadocMD Nov 12 '10 at 22:15
  • @Java An incomplete heart gives an image of incompleteness, whether it's referring to my lack of health or the need for just one more Piece of Heart. I don't think that it's going to turn anyone away from the site, but at the same time I don't want "We're incomplete!" to be the image we present to the world at large. At the end of the day, the full Heart Container is far more important than the first 3 pieces. – Grace Note ModStaff Nov 12 '10 at 22:28
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    @Grace I understand your point, but I still disagree. It's just as valid to say that this site is intended for incompleteness. If you have completed a game, why would you come here? We're all in a state of incompleteness, helping each other to be more complete (in game terms). My point is that this is such a subjective and wishy-washy-however-you-want-to-interpret-it concept that it's moot. We should instead focus on what makes the logo more identifiable with gaming. – JavadocMD Nov 12 '10 at 22:38
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    I think removing a quarter of a heart is an awesome idea. All the arguments about what metaphors 3/4 a heart conveys vs. a full heart are clearly over-analyzing things, and completely moot anyways; the real purpose would be to look less like a dating site and more like a gaming site. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Nov 16 '10 at 23:09

alt text

Can you tell the favicons above are gaming related? I can't.

A logo or favicon is rather ambiguous or meaningless without context. When random people see our pixelated heart logo by itself, they may not know it's a logo for a gaming site. Although I'd argue seasoned gamers may get a hint by seeing the pixelated treatment. But people do not see our logo just by itself. Anywhere we show our logo/favicon, there's always a link to the site or a brief description(e.g. our stackexchange.com). When people come to the site, looking at the graphics and question titles, they'd get the idea this is a gaming site right away. That was the design goal of the Gaming site skin.

So I say the current logo/favicon is fine. The Gaming site has the highest traffic out of all of our SE sites. It's the quality content you guys provide that make the site awesome, it has very little to do with the logo, favicon, or even the site design.

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    3/5 have a G in their favicon, guess you could slap an unreadable one on our heart ;-) – Ivo Flipse Nov 11 '10 at 8:43
  • @Ivo Rather than let me steal your thunder, you should post that as an answer. I'd vote you again for that. – Grace Note ModStaff Nov 11 '10 at 13:34
  • Done @Grace Note – Ivo Flipse Nov 11 '10 at 14:34
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    @Jin, I don't think you're wrong. However, "A logo or favicon is rather ambiguous or meaningless without context. " This is just it -- a heart has context already by virtue of being a heart. The other 5 favicon/logos you mentioned are truly ambiguous, not because of any "superior" notion of design, but simply because they don't incorporate a universal symbol, like our heart, into it. – Raven Dreamer Nov 11 '10 at 15:21
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    @Jin > Agreed with @Raven: No, those symbols aren't immediately identifiable with gaming, but they aren't immediately identifiable with anything . Our heart can be immediately "identified" as any number of things. – GnomeSlice Nov 11 '10 at 19:53
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    IGN's logo's kinda obviously cross-hairs to me, but I guess that it might not be to non-gamers. – Ullallulloo Nov 11 '10 at 23:41
  • @ullallulloo It rather looks like 4chan's logo :P – badp Nov 30 '10 at 7:34

Yes, I am

Until somebody comes up with a way better solution, I see absolutely no reason to switch. Any new brand takes time to get used to and our entire design is currently designed around our pixel-loving hearts.

I say get used to it!

  • This is an important point. I don't think the heart is a particularly great symbol for gaming, and I think it has the potential to be frequently misconstrued. However, it cannot be changed unless a better alternative can be agreed upon by a reasonable chunk of the community. – sjohnston Nov 11 '10 at 20:39
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    The original logo thread's top answer was highly upvoted, especially if you consider the top two answers are variations on a theme. In fact, I don't see any negative comments associated with them. Perhaps this is a viable alternative? – sjohnston Nov 11 '10 at 21:08
  • @sjohsnton > Oh I do like that... – GnomeSlice Nov 12 '10 at 1:23

From Jin's answer

alt text

3/5 have a G in their favicon, guess you could slap an unreadable one on our heart ;-)

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    So, a dating site only for gay people? Why discriminate? (j/k, I actually like the idea) – juan Nov 11 '10 at 14:43
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    Then we can call the site Gay & A @Juan? – Ivo Flipse Nov 11 '10 at 15:00
  • What are those, even? GameFAQs, ???, Gamespot, Gametrailers, ??? – Raven Dreamer Nov 11 '10 at 15:22
  • @Raven Second one is IGN. The last one... I think I've seen it before but I can't pick it off the top of my head. – Grace Note ModStaff Nov 11 '10 at 16:26
  • Strangely the only one I know is gaming is one of the ones without a G. The targeting radical screams gaming to me, where as the other ones look like random website logos. – tzenes Nov 30 '10 at 22:50
  • @Grace Note The last favicon is for NeoGAF – Crag Dec 4 '10 at 0:37

Is there a problem with animating the favicon? A lot of games tend to use a blinking or flashing heart/bar as their indicator of the player being low on health.

You could have a pulsing heart or have it resemble an item, something like:

I think it would be better if you took a pulsating quarter-heart like in the Legend of Zelda series, but I couldn't find a .gif of that.

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    I don't think favicons can be animated. If there is a way to animate favicons, please no one tell the rest of the Internet, or our bookmark folders will start to look like Geocities fanpages! – Wikwocket Nov 11 '10 at 20:59
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    @Wikwocket it's been around for a few years now: eyestormstudio.com/blog/?p=8 – Corey Nov 11 '10 at 21:02
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    Corey, most people will say this information should be kept in a safe and dumped in the sea. – Malabarba Nov 16 '10 at 10:34

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