When I see the favicon from the new site design, especially in the Hot Network Questions list where it's decontextualized, it looks to me like a set of three books on a bookshelf, not piano keys. It doesn't help me quickly figure out it's referring to Music.SE., as e.g. a couple of eighth notes would.

While the icon is obviously by design and I expect this Meta question might be quickly rejected & closed with status-bydesign by the experts who spend a lot of time here and have learned the association, I thought I'd at least let you know that for folks who don't spend a lot of hours on this particular site, the identifying images don't serve the purpose they seem to be intended for.


(Tags per this post)

  • It did bring you here so I'd say that's a plus. – Dom May 26 '16 at 16:27
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    It was the text of the question title that made it clear it was about music, not the favicon, and that certainly wouldn't be true of all questions. – WBT May 27 '16 at 12:26
  • but the icon did catch your eye which it it's purpose. – Dom May 27 '16 at 12:28
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    Not any more than any other graphic. An image of 16x16 random pixels would have been less confusing because it's not as easily interpreted as being something else that indicates "this is NOT music.SE" - this current graphic actively interferes with its apparent indicative or communicative purpose, esp. to newer or less active users. – WBT May 27 '16 at 12:47
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    @Dom, the icon didn't catch my eye, I looked at it after reading the title of a Hot Network Question that looked musical and interesting, and I was like "why isn't that a treble clef or something more recognizable?" I know what piano keys are supposed to look like (even though piano isn't my main instrument), and that logo looks NOTHING like them. At first I thought it was supposed to be scrolls that were supposed to contain scores. – NH. Oct 24 '17 at 15:30

Some thoughts:

  • The icons were thoroughly discussed, tweaked, implemented, and further discussed and tweaked during the site design brainstorming and rollout processes. That's not to say that they are therefore perfect, but a lot of thought went into them on the part of a lot of people, and I doubt many people will want to change at this point. How much the icon clearly indicates music was definitely part of the discussion.
  • Not using two eighth notes anywhere was also part of the discussion. So while that's more obvious, it is seen as too obvious by the community.
  • The vast majority of the Stack Exchange site icons do not clearly indicate what the site in question is about. I mean really, find me a single SE site icon that someone who has never used SE could look at and accurately tell you what the site is about. Certainly not Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mathematics, Server Fault, Role Playing Games, The Workplace, etc. Personally, I don't understand what the Bicycles icon is supposed to be even though I know it's for the Bicycles site. At least you figured out the piano keys thing at some point for our icon.
  • Given the above, the icons are not meant to indicate what a site is about right away without knowing more - instead they are reminders of which site is which. Pretty much right away (on the day of the rollout), I've found I don't have to think for a second to know I'm looking at the Music icon. For one thing, it's the only icon with anywhere near the amount of yellow that it has. You could blur the icons pretty fully and still tell which one is Music (as opposed to Mathematics versus Role Playing Games - which almost look the same unblurred!). The current icon is pretty... well... iconic when it comes to indicating this site.
  • An important part of my musical equipment is my library of books, including sheet music, music theory, and acoustics. I never noticed the book thing until you pointed it out, but now that I see it, I think it makes the icon even more perfect. Now the icon has double meaning of performance with the piano keys and scholarship with the books. Hey, the site's called Music Theory & Practice! Nice!
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    Thanks for your answer. "I mean really, find me a single SE site icon that someone who has never used SE could look at and accurately tell you what the site is about." Have a look at sites like Personal Finance & Money, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Seasoned Advice, Arqade, Photography, Graphic Design, Travel, Web Applications, Android Enthusiasts, User Experience, Aviation, Chess, Movies & TV, Chemistry, Biology, Christianity, Code Review, GIS, TeX, or maybe even Unix & Linux, and you can probably find one. I figured out they were stylized piano keys by reading some of that discussion. – WBT May 27 '16 at 15:32
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    I'm active on many of the sites you list. Physics is a particularly mystifying example. I'm not even sure what that icon is supposed to represent. A gravity well? It took me a while to figure out Movies & TV is popcorn, and popcorn doesn't make me think of movies or TV (a film reel would have been better for that). Arquade is a space ship. Why isn't that Space Exploration? (cause it's still in beta, but you get the point) I guess we have to agree to disagree. There are ones that are clear: I agree on Chess, and I would add Aviation. – Todd Wilcox May 27 '16 at 15:53
  • @ToddWilcox, not really important, but the bicycles logo is of the kind of medallion that goes on the front of a bike, usually with the manufacturer's name. – Karen Jun 16 '16 at 20:29
  • @Karen Ahhh... that explains it! – Todd Wilcox Jun 16 '16 at 20:31

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