Shalom! I'm Jin, I work on the designs for the Stack Exchange sites as they graduate from the beta phase. Each site will have its own unique theme that will reflect its topic and culture. However, all sites will share common elements so they feel like they're part of the Stack Exchange family.
First, I'd like to thank Isaac Moses, HodofHod, msh210, Double AA, Monica Cellio, Shmuel Brin and other chatroom regulars who provided me with valuable tips and feedback during my design process. The answers from an earlier brainstorming design session were helpful too.
The overall aesthetics I'm going after is a warm and inviting one. Visually, the design should have a good balance of traditional Jewish motifs and modern elements. The imageries should reflect authenticity, but not used in a clichéd way. Ultimately, I'm trying to capture a "feel." The design should feel relatable to the community members and welcoming to the new comers.
A common theme in a lot of Jewish brands' logos is the inclusion of the Star of David. It is the most recognizable Jewish symbol after all. I want to use it in our logo as well, but in a more subtle way. The logo should have multiple layers of meanings as it reveals itself. It should be symbolically descriptive and stand out from the rest of the Jewish sites' logos.
The logo is inspired by Tree of Life. Its branches subtly form the Star of David. The main branch and the "o" in "Yodeya" make up a question mark to reflect the Q&A nature of our site. The tittle in "Mi" is a falling leaf, which further bonds the logo mark and the logo type. The Hebrew letters of Mi Yodeya are embedded in the tree as hanging fruits.
(please click on images to view the full resolution versions)
I'm using the floral ornaments as the main motifs of the site. Their organic forms complement the logo and add polish to the rest of the site design. I've also used suggestions from the other post: yad for icons, crowns for badges, and propeller for sidebar dividers.
In the footer, the watermarked roots tie in with the Tree theme in the logo, add more completeness to the design as a whole.
I'm happy with the design, I believe it captures the feel I was aiming for. I'd love to hear your feedback. If there are no major design changes, I'd like to launch the site next Tuesday.
Again, thanks to all who helped me with the design process, and an early congrats from me for your upcoming graduation!