my Name is Sean Gallagher and...
I am the Art Director that works with Jin @ Stack Exchange, and I'm excited to announce the Skeptics brand and site design, done while quietly observing the community here.
I would like to share my process, visuals and the meaning behind the developed materials for your community and look forward to your comments and feedback -
Skeptics Brand / Site / Media
I began by becoming focused on the community here...
"If you have a question about the accuracy of public claims made in the media or elsewhere, if you're interested in the evidence behind what you hear or read, then you are in the right place."
This statement has strong indicators to create from and make the designs interesting, but also informative : A brand image that communicates this gathering of supporting evidence and the sources it may originate from.
Core Visual concept
I imagined the analog version of the site, like the wall of a researcher or reporter trying to connect the dots on their fact finding mission.
Logo Type Form
For the type style of the brand, I wanted to find a mix of organic and mechanical form, something that represents the duality of the mind and the tools of human examination. The letter forms are almost like medical tools, with sharp edges and symmetrical shapes and points... and yet very organic, with gentle organic curves and slopes at the same time.
Brand Mark / Icon
All signs seemed to point to critical thought, Jin suggested a human like form with gears turning in the mind. This was a great suggestion and visually fulfilled the skeptical thought process to examining the types of claims and questions asked here.
I combined the forms from the Skeptics Type, combining a "talk bubble" with the human form, mind and a fully open eye. The end result is an icon of thought process with the individual featured as making a valued, evidence-based contribution. Paired with the Logo Type, it as if the skeptics logo is saying, "This is who we are, and how we function."
Main design elements
I was also very inspired by the look of "official" government documents, basic research tools to indicate and mark noted areas, like a highlighter and marker and contact sheet pencil for photography. I mixed this with other corresponding textures : medical illustration, photographic evidence, time stamps, forms, news media and "de-classified" documents.
The opening title sequence of Rubicon, in spite of being a "conspiracy" film, summarized the feeling of gathering research to prove or disprove something. Making connections and indicating discovery of information.
From this process is a site that looks like no stone is unturned, that facts and supporting evidence are being gathered to be examined to present answers or to come back with even more questions, observations and discovery.
Using Helvetica bold for titles and emphasis, with supporting body text in courier, the site is very legible, and captures the feeling of both traditional and modern documents and media. A mix our brand also embodies.
These visual elements of the brand soar in advertising, and on physical goods. It has strong flexibility to appropriate more graphical imagery and own it through brand color and context, as shown by 2 different types of treatments to the same category of merchandise.
Placing the brand on styled media, gives the underlying imagery deeper meaning and mystery, through word association and by our strong visual ownership.
It is the goal of these visual elements to make the skeptics site an engaging and unique community via appearance, texture, and contextual visual language.
These materials will give you, and other skeptics a beacon to follow for participation here, a place to call home, a mark of pride and a symbol of membership to this intelligent and thought-provoking community.
The Skeptics site truly makes the internet an even better place. I hope these designs communicate that.
I look forward to assisting in the growth of this community.
I am very happy to meet all of you here.