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Congratulations French Language community! We’re going to be creating a custom site design for you that we hope will represent your subject and we want you all to really love it. You’ve been waiting almost three years and we really want to do this well. To facilitate this, we’re reaching out now to ask you for what you’d really love to see in the design and logo.

Bonjour, je m’appelle Katie, je suis l'une des designers ici à Stack Exchange. Je travaillerai avec nos Community Managers afin de m'assurer que votre thème personnalisé reflète vraiment votre communauté. J'ai vécu en France pendant de nombreuses années et je ressens un lien profond avec la langue française. J'ai hâte de créer quelque chose de spécial pour vous.

A quick history lesson about site theming

Originally, site designs were part of the site graduation process. When a site left beta, they'd get their design. But, at the time we only had one designer who was working on designs and the designs were very specialized and often involved a lot of custom illustrations. We got into a situation where several sites were in queue for graduation but the designer didn't have the bandwidth to actually create the designs.

Before she worked here, one of our Community Managers, Catija, asked the question Can Beta sites slated for graduation get full-site abilities without site design upgrade? - on Meta Stack Exchange. This kicked off several discussions within the CM team of the time and community members and the eventual decision was to implement "Design-independent graduation" in September 2015. This meant that many sites were finally able to leave beta without waiting on a design!

At that time we also had much more strict guidelines for when a site could graduate - they had to consistently get 10 new questions per day. This level of volume made graduation impossible or very unlikely for many sites - meaning many would stay in beta forever. As such, the CM team considered another request - Let's break up with "Graduation" and remove a bunch of "Beta" labels - and that's what eventually happened, too. In 2019, we removed the beta label from 29 sites - including this one - and another 59 in December 2021.

We've also gone through several design systems changes, including launching Stacks version 1.0, which make creating and building in designs much simpler for both our design team and the developers. In fact, we showed off how flexible it could be in our April Fools prank this year "Filters for Stack Overflow".

What to expect

Over the next few weeks, we'll be communicating with you about your site design, so please help us out as much as you can. While we may not be total experts in French, we know that you are and that you have great ideas about what you want this site to look like - so share them with us! You've got a week now to pool up your thoughts in answers to this question, at which point I'll start working on this site's design.

I'll spend some time working on a design based on your guidance, and will return when I’m ready to share the design and logo. At that point, y'all will have a week to make suggestions for adjustments to the design. Our hope is that there will be little that needs adjusting but, due to the size of our backlog, we can't allow more than one phase of feedback, so any changes will need to be recommended at this point.

We'll then consider the changes proposed and make any adjustments that we feel are beneficial. Changes that are too big or are out of scope likely won't be possible, but we'll make sure to explain why we opted against making a change should that happen. Please understand that design is often a subjective thing and we may end up with community members differing in their opinions, so we'll be taking that into account when deciding. Decisions about the final design will be made by the design team and CMs with the concerns of the community taken into account.

Also, it's worth keeping in mind that the goal of these designs is to make something topical, unique, and attractive, but we'll be designing within the scope of our newer site theming. We'll be able to create a logo, background colors, and textures in addition to your logo - but please don't expect illustrations like what you may have seen on some of the older site designs.

Timeline

Over the next month or so, we’ll be going through a few steps to get your site design up and running. This post is the first of those steps. I’ll also be using this post to track the phases in the table below.

Step Status
Information Gathering in progress
Design V1
V1 Feedback
Design adjustments (if needed)
Developer cleanup and shipping of final design

What we need from you

As I've mentioned already, we need some inspiration from you so that we can get started on this design and create something you'll really be proud of. We're really looking for design ideas rather than needing you to design anything for us.

When you're answering this question, think about:

  • What symbols or images are important to the subject of this site?
    • Especially things that speak to insiders that we might not find on our own
  • Are there any colors that are tied to your subject?
  • What tone/mood/feeling would you like your theme to emit? While this is subjective, it helps to set some design guardrails. So, when answering your thoughts, some good axes to mention are where the theme might sit inside these spectra
    • From fun to serious
    • From classic to modern
    • From simple to complex
  • How could a good logo represent your subject?
  • What are things to avoid?

If you have any questions, let me know! We're really looking forward to hearing from you and getting your site design underway in a week!

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3 Answers 3

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French speakers like to hearken back to the days when French was the lingua franca of the (European-based) world. So go for classic and serious. Like English L&U, but with Pléiade rather than Tenniel.

In terms of colors, blue-white-red are the colors of France, not the colors of French. But they're widely recognized in association with French. The colors of Francophonie are associated with the French language, except that pretty much nobody would recognize them to be able to associate them. I would avoid trying to leverage colors as recognizable elements and focus on shapes instead.

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  • French shapes like a baguette and a beret? Or the Eiffel tower?
    – Lambie
    May 26 at 0:14
  • Your link does not show their colors as used in their logo which I copied in my answer.
    – Lambie
    May 26 at 0:15
  • 1
    @Lambie Baguette, beret and Eiffel tower are associated with (parts of) France, not with the French language. May 26 at 9:32
  • They are shapes. You mention shapes but don't say which shapes. So.... Red, white and blue are the colors of the UK and the US, too.
    – Lambie
    May 26 at 9:54
  • What about the fleur-de-lis so us québecois don't feel left out ? ;)
    – anonymous2
    May 28 at 15:50
  • 1
    @anonymous2 I can't tell whether you're joking. Are you? Sorry. The presence of the fleur de lys on the Québec flag reminds us that Québec was once a French colony, the fleur de lys was the symbol of the French royalty and to French people it still symbolises royalty... not a good idea I'm afraid since the French people did away with the king a few centuries ago. There are fleur de lys on the Sanish flag too... (a reminder of the Bourbon origin of the Spanish. monarchy).
    – None
    Jun 8 at 18:31
  • Un portrait de Victor Hugo âgé ? Un de ceux qu'on reconnaît du premier coup avec la barbe blanche, la tête appuyée sur sa main, voir les portraits de VH par Nadar (Musée Carnavalet).
    – None
    Jun 8 at 18:42
  • @None I was joking about feeling left out but the idea was serious; however, you have a point about it being a symbol of royalty: while it's not viewed that way by most people in Quebec, it wouldn't be appropriate to use the fleur-de-lis if it would be misinterpreted in other regions. Furthermore, even in Quebec it isn't a symbol of French language per se but rather Quebec culture; in brief, the more I think about it the less well I like the idea.
    – anonymous2
    Jun 8 at 18:43
  • @anonymous2 The question was indeed about the fleur de lys. You're quite right to stand up for Québec (and francophonie in general).
    – None
    Jun 8 at 18:55
  • What about calligrammes ? If not Apollinaire, something to that extent ?
    – livresque
    Jun 13 at 0:25
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Peut-être utile :

Atelier National de Recherche Typographique (ANRT)
Corpus typographique français
Graphisme en France (sur CNAP)


Dans la revue Graphisme en France 2021, Design graphique et société, n° 27, on trouve un article d'une personne qui n'est pas graphiste mais qui créé des marques. L'article offre un point de vue particulier et contient un ensemble d'affirmations sous forme de « J'aime... » qui n'ont pas vocation à être particulièrement « francaises » ni à représenter la communauté du site ou même un courant ou manière d'approcher le design graphique mais qui démontrent certaines sensibilités de quelqu'un « du métier », une approche que j'ai personnellement aimée. Et ce qu'on aime ne doit pas toujours être pris au pied de la lettre, d'où ces explications qu'on trouvera dans l'article, mais je reproduis uniquement les objets de ces affirmations pour ce quelles évoquent, pour elle et pour ceux qui liront. Elle aime :

...la mayonnaise, que le meilleur soit, l'espace, le moment de la fulgurance, les livres pour enfants, les stations-services, l'invisibilité, les jeux, les boîtes de sardines, les grilles, les bibliothèques, les panneaux sur le bord de la route, les systèmes, les cadrans, les rayures et les échelles, les idées, le mouvement, être saisie, les contraintes, la fantaisie, les logos, la Suisse, rire, l'optimisation, la puissance, les bateaux, l'honnêteté, les enseignes, la mer, les détails, les papiers, aussi la maladresse, les couleurs, les typographies dans l'espace, les traces, les influences, les cartes, une fois dans ma vie le syndrome de Stendhal.

[Extrait des thèmes de l'article J'aime la mayonnaise, Élodie Boyer, ds. Graphisme en France 2021]

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Here is the logo of an organization that represents the world's French-speaking countries, the OIF:

strong text

OIF on Wikipedia

Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF)

It's slogan is: Equality, complementarity, solidarity Devise : « Égalité, complémentarité, solidarité »

It was created in 1970 and has 88 member countries in 2018.

Maybe the colors or the circle with attribution can contribute to the new site design.

This is just a suggestion.

strong text

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