# Design for Signal Processing Stack Exchange

I'm Stéphane, a senior product designer at Stack Exchange. This community went through the first phase of graduation back in Sep. 2015 and now we're ready to give you the second phase; a unique crafted site design and increase in the amount of reputation needed to access each privilege. I know this site already graduated, but I'll say it again...

Congratulations!

# Design concept

We wanted to come up with a unique logo that could reflect any kind of signal processing topic (biological, chemical, electrical, mechanical...), so the icon had to be generic enough not to exclude some subjects, but the overall logo had to be unique.

To do so, we combined a wave sign with a specific typeface and added a gradient that convey the lifetime of a signal.

### Website

We believe the design and branding will work well for this community, that it's unique, and captures the correct mood. We’d love to hear your feedback, and if there are no major design changes, we’ll launch the new design and increase the site's required rep levels for privileges.

Thank you for for making this such a great community!

UPDATE: September 19, 2016

We posted a second option for the site's color palette, please vote for your favorite on that post!

• I really do like the design, although the colours are to "instagramy" for me ;) Shades of blue are definitely my choice.
– jojek Mod
Aug 16 '16 at 15:13
• The badge icons look weird. Aug 16 '16 at 15:56
• I agree with @jojek on the shades of blue. Otherwise, cool design ! Aug 16 '16 at 18:32
• @zaq Yes I could but to be honest I don't necessary see the needs, it won't change that much from the home page Aug 17 '16 at 12:11
• @jojek I'm trying to get away from the blue because most of the SE Q&A sites logos are ... blue. But if this color scheme doesn't work we'd still playing around with other gradients like: blue->green, blue->purple, blue->pink... Aug 17 '16 at 12:12
• The overall design is very visually appealing but the first thing I thought when I saw it was Soundcloud. How much leeway do we have in terms of proposing an alternative? The image processing side, as noted by others in this thread, seems to be under-represented.
– A_A
Aug 17 '16 at 12:54
• I agree with the opinions on the colorscheme of this proposal – a pink-orange gradient seems modern nowadays (see Unity in Ubuntu's default UI design, and loads of social media sites), but it contradicts my aesthetic intuition that these colors simply aren't very harmonic (thus I find the default Unity colorscheme terrible), and I have the suspicion that this blend won't look modern forever. In the interest of simplicity, why not drop the gradient and go with a plain orange background? Aug 19 '16 at 11:26
• I like the waves in the background of the "hanging" picture a lot. Aug 19 '16 at 12:20
• Can I please ask where we are with this design proposal and what are the next steps?
– A_A
Sep 14 '16 at 9:17
• Looks like Cisco's logo.
– msm
Sep 14 '16 at 10:30
• @A_A Hello, I'm Ted, another designer at Stack Overflow. I'm helping Stéphane update the design a bit based on the feedback here as well as implementation. We hope to ship this soon, but rest assured it's being actively worked on! Sep 14 '16 at 12:16
• Hi, thanks for your response. I just thought I'd ask, without any urgency. Looking forward to it, hope there will be a printable version of the poster design or similar.
– A_A
Sep 14 '16 at 18:14
• what is "chemical signal processing"?? never heard of that within the DSP domain. we shouldn't confuse physical modeling or chemical modeling, with DSP. just because you can model a physical, mechanical, chemical system doesn't mean that this is a DSP system. Sep 19 '16 at 22:21

Looks great Stéphane! The one thought I have about it (in addition to Peter's suggestion) is that the waveform might benefit from a level of secondary detail to suggest that the signal has been processed. I played around with a few ideas, and this is one that stood out as a possibility:

It's mainly to illustrate a style, not necessarily a suggestion to abandon the symmetry of the waveform you have--although it might look good for the "processed" signal to be asymmetric in contrast to the "unprocessed" one. If this sparks any ideas for you, I think something like this would be consonant enough with your design that it could be incorporated without having to tweak any layouts. Even then, only if you think it (or some other analogous style you come up with) would end up working well.

Thanks again for all your work on this. It's really exciting that we're finally close to having an official design.

• I do like the way it also looks like an equalizer. Aug 16 '16 at 19:41
• I'll try to see what I can do in that direction, that said the logo needs to work at small sizes that's why I didn't add too many details. So I'll try but can't promise anything :) Aug 17 '16 at 12:16
• Yeah sure, only if something ends up working. Thanks!
– datageist Mod
Aug 17 '16 at 12:49
• Any chance to add hint for Image Processing and I'm sold :-).
– Royi
Aug 27 '16 at 14:42

Stéphane, thanks for the update! I think it looks great.

A while ago, we had a discussion here on meta about whether separate computer vision and image processing sites should happen.

The computer vision proposal on Area 51 was not successful, so we are trying to find ways for SP.SE to be more inclusive of those sorts of problems (2D signals), and I was wondering if it's possible to do this via the background graphics of the landing page?

Perhaps by making the grey background signal in the header come out of / go into the board as well?

I realize this is probably hard; any feedback appreciated!

• What do you mean exactly by "making the grey background signal in the header come out of / go into the board"? Aug 17 '16 at 12:14
• @Stéphane I'll try to hack together something and add it here --- but I'm NOT a (graphic) designer, so please bear with me. :-)
– Peter K. Mod
Aug 17 '16 at 12:26
• That's fine :) I just want to make sure I really get what you mean Aug 17 '16 at 12:27

I remember the discussion Peter mentions on how to integrate the image proc folks.

So I thought, what would unify 2D, 1D and multidimensional signal processing people?

I came to the conclusion that we all share a certain preference for integral transforms, and among that, we have favourites, good ol' Fourier and $z$-transform, so I came up with things like

of which the leftmost is the most "graphical" one (but only a few people will know that notation), the middle one probably has the highest "recognition ratio", and the last one fits the aspect of digital best.

So, from a thematic Point of View, I'd go with $z^{-1}$, but that clearly not an option for a logo. Also, not very 2D-signal friendly... so I came up with something else:

The common denominator is the fact that the signals we're dealing with are discrete – so why not find something that represents discreteness?

Imagine something like

done by someone who actually masters his tools of graphics design instead of me. Maybe replacing the complex plane/unit circle graphics simply by a sine?

• I think on dsp.stackexchange.com/tour the description of the site includes both analog and digital (among others). Aug 19 '16 at 14:10
• @Gilles huh, wasn't aware of that :) ok, maybe, then the DSP.se.com domain isn't such a lucky choiceß Aug 19 '16 at 14:49
• http://signals.stackexchange.com/ works, and is technically the "official" name, it's just too bad it wasn't that from the beginning (cf. http://meta.dsp.stackexchange.com/a/3/35).
– datageist Mod
Aug 20 '16 at 18:45
• @datageist aaand I've just replaced my bookmark with signals.se. Thanks! Aug 20 '16 at 19:41

[EDIT] My Lena mix is not very popular. OK. Let's try again.

Thank you Stéphane for the neat proposal. I may insist on adding another dimension. Keeping your clean, simple design, but adding a different angle to the point of view.

What would you think about a waterfall-like rendering of your nice orange bars? I have in mind depictions of spectrograms, like the following:

I do believe that spectrograms may fill a gap between signals and images, are very illustrative of non-stationarity, and still convey the concept "integral transforms" pointed out by Marcus. I am very bad at logo design, I may try to post one later on.

[For the record, my first downvoted proposal] I quite missed my objective in the following picture, so I will describe it (my objective) with words. My aim is to convey different DSP concepts at the same time, highlighted in bold.

• an immediately recognizable image in the background can speak to image guys.
• having the image processed suggest a notion of processing. It could be an edge maps, or have a slow color variation of emulate the notion of varying background
• the dimmed border with the disk inside may suggest windowing, and potentially the notion of data fusion
• overlaying the neat bar logo (large than here) suggest signals, with a color contrasting with the background (blue, why not).
• last, I definitely love the equalizer look by @datageist, suggesting equalization.
• I didn't downvote and I actually thought about using Lena or the camera guy, but I decided not to suggest that because I believe it detracts from the elegance of the design.
– Peter K. Mod
Aug 17 '16 at 12:25
• @Peter K. Thanks for the note. I believe about the same (sheer simplicity of the design. Yet I wanted to share the idea of "thought-induction" through design. Aug 17 '16 at 13:30