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  What should be our logo?

+ 4 like - 0 dislike
To promote PhysicsOverflow, it is quite important to create some kind of a sticky trademark, and a cool logo should be part of it. So please answer put it into an answer, if you have a good idea :-)
asked Feb 17, 2014 in Discussion by Dilaton (6,040 points) [ revision history ]
edited Jan 17, 2015 by dimension10

What are the contraints on the Logo? For example, can it only be located across the whole of the top of the page? Is it possible to relocate some of the navigation options onto the Logo area?

@physicsnewbie Yes, it has to be located there. 

I too thought it could be good to move some navigation options there (those on SE, plus categories, minus badges), but it isn't possible, yet.  

Yes, with the logo aligned to the left but not as broad as the page, there is some empty space which looks a bit odd ...

I have personally never felt the logo alignment to be odd, it's quite common on many websites. 

10 Answers

+ 5 like - 1 dislike

Similar to MO (like those suggested by Dimension10) --

And here is a more colorful picture :)

answered Feb 25, 2014 by user10001 (635 points) [ no revision ]

Wow, these are very good ideas for the logo. How did you make them?  I think they can be furthered by adding a \(\hbar \)between "p" and "o" in the first one. It will make sense, because of Physics Overflow (Ph, and o). But this already looks very nice and creative.   

Hahaha, a black hole :-D...? +1! How did you make these, they are very nice and make me feel tempted tovpush the check mark against our decision to not use that button because I like them so much :-P... The second one could be used everywhere where we have enough space to fully write the name PhysicsOverflow down, the first one as an icon for example as the default user avatar, and the third to advertise the site on MathOverflow, in our profilels, etc ... And of course I like the allusion to MathOverflow

@Dilaton yes I agree that the simple "PO" can be used as the default user logo, short logo, and the second, long one, can be used as the long logo, e.g. at the top of the page.                  

I think this has a further advantage. Just the spiral (I don't know yet, if it's a black hole, or anything) would make a great favicon!

Thank you so much, user10001, for this superb logo idea!      

Yes, the spiral could be a hurrican too, but a black hole is more fun :-P

Also some issues I mentioned in my mail seem to have become non-issues now (if they ever have been issues). I am really happy and getting excited about PhysicsOverflow :-)

The only problem with this at the momment is that it does not have a transparent background, so it won't fit in with the current background. This is easily fixable, though. Why, even MS powerpoint has a remove background tool! 

Here's a transparent background version for the second one.  

(Open image in new tab for larger version)

This is clearly the winner. It is the only one with 6 points (I am assuming that user10001 would support his own proposal, why wouldn't he). 

Thanks guys, didn't know that you would like these pictures so much. Anyway, we still have enough time to decide the logo. So please feel free to modify above pictures, or come up with some other idea and make new pictures, so that we can have best logo for our site :)

You need to make something vectorizable. Right now the aliasing looks terrible.

This logo looks quite vectorisable to me. I don't know exactly how to vectorise the spiral though.  

Well I think we should be able to come up with some less ugly logos. I'll try talking to people.

@Ryan Thorngreen, do you honestly think that user10001's logo is "ugly"? To me, it looks beautiful; the "O" is not only resemblant to a black hole or a "tornado/hurricane", but also the idea of "flow"...    

I have to second what Dimension10 says, I personally like them a lot (maybe the space between physics and the BH in the second version could be decreased a bit). Of coutse it would be great if you could still ask other people, such that we can choose from many good logos :-)

It could help, however, to capitalise the "p" in the second one.  

I'll try to be more constructive. The current fonts make them look like they were made in MS Paint. I dislike most forms of replacing a letter with a picture. Having some tasteful text beside a simple picture is fine. Take the SE physics logo as an example. That is a well designed logo. The sombrero potential is nicely drawn and the Feynman diagram behind the word Physics gives it a sense of action. Further, the SE logo is line art, which is easily vectorizable and is always going to look more professional than a many-colored bit map. Take a look at logos you see around you in the outside world. How many of them have many-colored bitmaps as part of them? None as far as I can think of. They're all a clever use of 3 or 4 colors and nice typography. 

You are certainly right ...

Do you think it is possible for somebody with the right tools, knowhow and experience to take User10001's ideas as first drafts and redraw and improve them such that they are up to professional graphical standards at the end ... ?

I cant help it, but until I see something more cute, I still like these ideas and looking at them I think they represent what PhysicsOverflow is up to (in particular when interpreting the spiral as a BH) rather to the point ...


@user10001 What exactly are the fonts used in this (the second one, in particular)? How did you get the spiral? Is there an SVG source for the image (the image looks like there probably is).       

Hi Dimension10, the one with transparant background you made could work. But I agree with Ryan that it should get a bit polished by a graphics experts who knows what he is doing, as at present its quality is not scale invariant...

I have made a vectorised version using an online converter (http://image.online-convert.com) which usually doesn't work too well, but it was fine this time, except for a few errors which I fixed.

I have made some modifications, for example, I made the spiral black on the left, and dark blue (the same dark blue used in the original answer) on the right. This helps make it seen as a black hole, and also makes it agree with the concept of flow. I have made the "physics" black to blend in with the blackness of the left side of the spiral "O".     

I have also made the "h" in "physics" an hbar and reduced the space between "physics" and "overflow" a bit.  

I have made two versions, the second has a capitalised "P" instead of "p" in the "Physics" not "physics".       

You can find them here (no caps):  

http://psiepsilon-test.wikia.com/wiki/File:Logo.svg ;

And here (Caps):      

http://psiepsilon-test.wikia.com/wiki/File:Logo_(caps).svg ;

They are SVGs, so they are completely scale-invariant. If there are any issues (e.g. with the changes I have made), they are of course very easy to revert with inkscape.  


it also seems to me that the text verflow is slighely shifted down compered to Physics, they are not vertially aligned it seems, not sure if something can be done about this ...

Do you have a backgound independent ;-) (transparent) version of the PO icon too?

@Dilaton Thanks, I have fixed it, and replaced the image; you can see the updated version here: http://psiepsilon-test.wikia.com/wiki/File:Logo_(caps).svg ;.   

However, it seems that you have linked to the file page in the logo. You should use the direct link to the image: http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140227151043/psiepsilon-test/images/4/45/Logo_%28caps%29.svg ;

I am also not completely sure if the SVG can be directly embedded as the logo, even if it does, it may not work on all browsers; it may be a good idea to use the PNG instead:   Of course the PNG is not scale-invariant, but there is no way to fix this, at least I don't think it can be fixed. It will still look good on the site at the top, since the size seems to me perfect for the top logo. 

If not, you can send me the dimensions of the site header by default, and I will resize the SVG and convert to the PNG at the correct resolution.  

Darn, I can not save the second one as an image :-(

Wanted to test, if I can shift the verflow upward a bit in PhotoShop ...

@Dilaton I have commented around just 5 seconds earlier with the link to the correctly aligned version : ) .  

The width is about 980 pixel, not yet sure how to extract the exact number. For me it was a fine tuning problem ;-)

I have just scaled the image in the Admin Panel and it looks a bit too fat now ... Maybe the size could be decreased such that there is some free space left on both sides in the image?

Ok, it's a good thing the SVG works. It works on both chrome/chromium and firefox/pale moon. I haven't tested with I.E. yet (the copy of IE9 I have is too slow, it takes more than 3 minutes to even start, even slower than anyone would expect I.E. to be), though, who uses I.E. now anyway?

I agree the logo looks too large,... I am still making an SVG version of the small logo. 

The CSS div.qa-logo a.qa-logo-link img {width:100%;}   looks perfect. 

@Dilaton Have you changed the favicon yet? Here is a favicon with the spiral thing :   http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140228122822/psiepsilon-test/images/2/2f/Drawing-favicon.ico ;

It's not scale - invariant, it doesn't have to be, since it is only going to appear at the tabs and in Firefox, the url bar and the linnk suggestions:      

Hm, seems this has to be done directly in the code and not from the admin panel


so only Polarkernal can upload it ...

I will ask him

@Dilaton Can't the favicon be added easily through the HTML in the head section?   

@dimension10 looks nice :) but I think it would be better to keep "p" of physics lower case, like "m" in mathoverflow http://mathoverflow.net/questions. ;

@user10001 good point about maths overflow.   

@Dilaton Can you change the logo to the non-caps version? http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140301030644/psiepsilon-test/images/6/6f/Logo.svg I agree with user10001 that having the caps makes it look less like mathoverflow. I also now think that with the caps "P", it looks less neat, and less artistic compared to the one with the non-caps letter.         

@Dilaton here is a background-independent, scale-invariant, version of the small logo:   http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140301081215/psiepsilon-test/images/1/14/KCN0ZPP._-_the_small_logo_.svg ;

I like the current logo. Nice job, guys.

+ 1 like - 0 dislike



SVG: http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140223055151/psiepsilon-test/images/1/14/Pho.svg (install the Euclid and Euclid Fraktur fonts first) 



SVG (install the Euclid and Euclid Fraktur fonts first):




answered Feb 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,975 points) [ no revision ]
edited Feb 25, 2014 by dimension10

I think, that Ron's answer can be a favicon, this can be the small logo (like "mo" is for "MathsOverflow"), and physicsnewbie's could be the main head logo (though it could be edited a bit as Ron has suggested in his last comment 2 or 3 or 4 minutes ago there).  Maybe, Ron's logo can be added in the left side of the logo by physicsnewbie.     

+ 2 like - 1 dislike

I had in mind something that isnt' too cluttered and therefore too much of an eyesore, something that plays on "over flow" in a physical sort of way: Physics over the flow - get it?

Feel free to offer suggestions on how it could be improved, such as thickening up lines etc

answered Feb 23, 2014 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ no revision ]
edited Feb 23, 2014 by physicsnewbie

I think it would be good if you omitted the physics entirely, and just left "overflow". Don't use two fonts, this is the mistake math-overflow made.

Huh, but the logo should surely contain something that hints at the fact that the site is about physics ...? I pesonally rather like the allusion to MathOverflow, as PhysicsOverflow will be a high-level rather professional site but for physics. For people who have heard about MathOverflow it is self evidently clear what a PhysicsOverflow is meant to be from just reading the name.

Ok, then it should use the same font. Perhaps then just Physics, without the overflow, so that it is "physics" over flow, as in over flowing water. But whatever, it's not significant. I like the water thing, but I think the flow should be more clearly a flow, rather than arrows.

@Ron I did it like this because Dilaton wants to emphasize this site is at the same level as mathoverflow. Personally, I think we should sever any link with "overflow" because stackoverflow is a programming term, and instead we should think of a name with a physics feel: "Relativistic covariance", "stacked branes", "vibrating strings" etc. Then we can create a logo for it. But I'm under the impression that the votes were in favour of "physicsoverflow"

I played around with ideas for "flow", and chose this because it's simple, and less of an eyes sore. Once it gets too complicated, it takes away from the main "physics overflow" text.

Do you not think, that this idea can sort of be mixed with Ron's "Electron flow" ideas? Physics over the [insert Heller's art here]? 

Physicsnewbie: I agree with you--- physics overflow is too derivative, I always err on the side of originality. But the domain is registered, people decided. I would have gone with a crazy neutral name, like "Understatic", which doesn't have any "physics" or any stackexchange or stackoverflow connotations. Regarding the logo--- It is an artistic mistake to use two different fonts in any logo, an amateur mistake. Mathoverflow made it, but we don't need to.

@RonMaimon I disagree that using two different fonts is not a good idea. Have you seen the answer by user10001? It uses different fonts, but that is hardly noticeable.  

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

This is a combination of Ron's idea and physicsnewbie's idea. I' think this should be cropped further, but I'm not sure how.     

answered Feb 24, 2014 by dimension10 (1,975 points) [ no revision ]

Artistic, but I wouldn't describe it as a sticky trademark, as suggested in the question. Think of IBM, Apple, Nike etc for inspiration.

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

Everyone, including me, likes the current version, so I thought I'd give it a more "graphic" feel:

Mathoverflow base their icon on their main title, so I thought we should try and make more use of ours.


pick three numbers from below for what you think looks the best physicsOverflow combination:

For example, my choice is 17, 24, 6 shown immediately above.

Edit 2: Beginning to look more like the current logo now, when I think about it:

answered Mar 27, 2014 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 31, 2014 by physicsnewbie
Most voted comments show all comments

@dimension10 The current logo got 4 upvotes and I didn't want us to modify it beyond all recognition without the go-ahead of everyone else, so I thought it would be better to suggest my own modification on this thread. I don't see much of a difference between this hbar and the current one - they both look good to me.

I tried to make the "physics" look formal and I guess "boring" just like the maths in math overflow and physics in physics stack exchange, and to give it an air of seriousness.

Then you say: "I assure you that it will start to look stupid in a matter of less than a week". Well that's just your opinion, and someone else has upvoted it. I'm open to suggestions on how to improve it and thought me doing one myself would be less of a pain for you than asking you to modify yours, putting it on this thread, and then getting people to declare it OK.

@dilaton it's English "flowing" joined up hand writing. I'll see if there's an easier to read alternative.

@dimension10 In my updated answer, I've changed the cursive overflow because you and Dilaton don't like it. It's not meant to be inviting to everyone, as with the mathoverflow font, and the 'O' is meant to convey a swirling towards the center, as in a vortex. I'm trying to create a unique logo similar in style to the stack/mathoverflow ones that gives an air of professionalism. Professionalism doesn't always imply for-profit since mathoverflow started out this way.

I'm under the impression that we're trying to make this site the physics equivalent of mathoverflow.

@Dilaton Oops, sorry, fixed : ) I got confused. 

@dimension10 the design is mine, inspired by the picture in the current logo, I did it on Inkscape. I want to keep it simple, but I can add some more detail if you think it doesn't look like a spiraling vortex enough. Can you give me a few names of for-profit for companies that use this design? Just to make sure that I'm not inadvertently copying theirs.

Most recent comments show all comments

@dimension10 here's the link

@physicsnewbie Thanks. 

But I still hold to my statement that this logo does not look professional, but instead actually gives a pseudo-sophisticated look. It does not look half as good as the current logo.  

+ 1 like - 1 dislike

I am partial to Eric Heller's wonderful images of electron transport, which recieved attention in the art world (even though they are the product of imaging of scientific simulation). Any one of them would make a fantastic logo, and get him some more recognition, and they are visually arresting, and very contemporary-looking. Here's the one I found first (I like it):

Transport 3 (Eric Heller)

This is transport 3 (it looks good small, but one should ask Eric's permission, of course).

There's also Transport 6:

Transport 6 (Eric Heller)

And a nice one, transport II

Transport II

These are all very nice contemporary artworks, they depict some visualization of a 2d electron flow, and are pure physics.

If you would like to see what can be done with these, here is a modified Heller image, color-adjusted with a hand-painted hbar, that Heller probably wouldn't even recognize.


answered Feb 23, 2014 by Ron Maimon (7,720 points) [ no revision ]
edited Feb 23, 2014 by Ron Maimon

I like these, especially the last one, but we should probably choose something less boring than the \(\hbar \)... Maybe some other constant, or a Lagrangian Density symbol... Or a state vector, or anything else except for an h-bar, it's too common. The state vector is also easy to make it look as if it' is curved, since it's on the surface of something that looks curved.                                               

Aargh! It takes a long time to draw those stupid things, as I don't have a tablet or touchpad. If someone has a tablet handy, then perhaps they can do it, I am using mouse. The problem with "state vector" is that it is hard to identify when small, hbar remains visible and clearly identifiable, even if you shrink the logo down to a few dozen pixels. It is also a glyph that is uniquely associated with physics, it occurs in no other context, so it makes a natural symbol. It is commonly used for a reason.

A logo is a graphic, symbol etc that can be easily redrawn by hand, rather than a picture.

Physicsnewbie: Who are you? Can you use your real name, or at least identify yourself by another handle people recognize? This is a private beta. I disagree that there is any need for a logo that is not an image,  but the last image can be used to make an hbar with a circle around it as a logo/trademark.

I disagree. There are tons of logos which are not easy to draw. How easy is it to draw the logo of Physics.SE? However, I think the favicon can be such a drawing. 

@Ron Maimon:  Oh, come on, it's ok to not use your real name or  to not use something anyone can recognise you by.   But I agree with the rest of your comment.   

@ron you can do it using coloured pencils and paper, and then uploading the image which others can work on.

+ 0 like - 1 dislike

I would like to downvote this post myself.   It's ugly.   

SVG: http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140220124711/psiepsilon-test/images/6/6e/QA.svg ;

answered Feb 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,975 points) [ no revision ]
reshown Mar 28, 2014 by dimension10
+ 0 like - 1 dislike
answered Feb 20, 2014 by dimension10 (1,975 points) [ no revision ]
reshown Mar 28, 2014 by dimension10
+ 0 like - 1 dislike

I couldn't resist taking on board Ron's suggestion on my previous design, so what do you think?

answered Mar 25, 2014 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ revision history ]
reshown Mar 28, 2014 by dimension10

@dimensio10 why the downvote? I'm not suggesting it replaces the existing one.

@physicsnewbie Then what are you suggesting? 

@dimension10 Fair enough, since the question did ask about what the Logo should be, and you don't like it.

Yes, that explains my downvote, doesn't it? 

+ 0 like - 2 dislike


This is a nicely stringy suggestion from Dimension10 from our blog

answered Feb 17, 2014 by Dilaton (6,040 points) [ no revision ]
reshown Mar 28, 2014 by dimension10

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