My name is Paweł, I’m a product designer at Stack Exchange. I’m super happy for you, because the process of graduation is about to be concluded! Congratulations to all of you!
The new design comes with a few perks. It will give you your own unique theme that reflects your topic, culture & community. This will help brand your site as unique, even while you share common elements with other sites that show you are part of a bigger Stack Exchange family.
The idea behind this design was simple: create something that fits Your Community. A community of extremely smart people. A community of people who's profession changed history (I mention this because I'm from Poznań, Poland where the history of Enigma Cryptographers is well-known). Honestly, I was super impressed reading some of the questions and answers on your site. Impressed by the amount of knowledge you people have (and kinda depressed by my lack of knowledge). And because of that I was very honored to be working on your site's design. So I did some research, and found out that nowadays cryptography is something completely different from what it used to be in the past, and I tried to respect that knowledge in the designs & branding I prepared for you.
I've seen all your ideas and they were really great. I tried to incorporate some of them in the design, but I wasn't able to use everything while keeping with the existing guidelines.
As for the main pattern, I wanted to come up with something simple, creative and community-centric. So I put some of YOUR code in the header background. Yes, I used one of your proposals, but I have a feeling you can come up with some other code/string blocks. So how about proposing something we could use as a pattern? That would be a really huge brick in building this new design.
Dark blue - main color. It represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.
Lighter blue - accent color. It mostly represents information technology which, I believe, nowadays is part of your profession.
Plus a few complementary colors.
Logo & Identity
I didn't want to use just a simple lock icon, or one of Enigma rotors or Cryptex (from 'The Da Vinci Code' ;))... I wanted to use something more symbolic. Something that was a metaphor of a few elements:
Here are some examples of how it can be used elsewhere to strengthen the visual identity.
Overall Site Design
Here’s what you were waiting for…
We believe the design and branding work very well for this community. It’s unique and captures the right mood. We’d love to hear your feedback, and if it proposes no major design changes, we’ll launch the new site design very soon.