Your site looks a bit different today. Yes, we are getting rid of the 'Sketchy' look and replacing it with a more-polished and finished design for sites in beta.

You can read more about the redesign of our Beta theme on our blog entry.

Please note: This will not affect your "graduation" status in any way. When your site is due for graduation, it will get its final(real) site design and branding.

If you're still seeing the old favicon, please do a hard browser refresh. (Although sometimes it may take Chrome a while to load the new image).

If you see any CSS or styling issues, please report it in this post I created on Meta Stack Overflow. It will be easier for me to track all the bug reports there.


3 Answers 3


AAAAAAAAAAUGH I'm going to say the same thing here I said on GraphicDesignSE's Meta:

I hate it.

Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Boring, bland, hard to read, not nearly enough contrast, tiny type, crappy font. "Sketchy" was so much more inviting and accessible. I sincerely hope that our real, non-beta design does not suck as much as this New Coke design which our overlords have foisted upon us.

Did I mention I hate the way this looks? HATE. IT.

Graphic Design SE has had this terrible theme for a week and a half and it sucks more every single day. It is BLOODY IMPOSSIBLE to read anything! Who do I complain to so this can be fixed or changed?

  • You just did. Jin is the graphic design guru for Stack Exchange. If you have specific feedback for him, I'd post it here for maximum effect. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 0:30
  • I find it confusing that you say it's hard to read. In fact, this theme has higher contrast ratio than the sketchy one. The text(#333333) on background color(#fdfdfd) produces a contrast ratio of 12.42:1, which is higher than Sketchy's 9.74:1. As for the body text, it's the same size as Sketchy's, 14px. The only difference is new theme uses Helvetica vs Sketchy's Tahoma. Whether you think Tahoma is a better typeface than Helvetica is pure subjective. The new theme design is meant to be less graphically neutral and minimalist.
    – Jin
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 0:49
  • 2
    Jin, there may be some ratio which proclaims this theme to be a higher contrast, but I assure you that my eyeballs tell me otherwise. I am constantly squinting and trying to adjust monitors (one desktop, one laptop) to make the text more readable. Two fonts at 14px may not be the same "size" if one has a much smaller and tighter X-height. And I find it downright astonishing that you would call this theme less neutral and minimalist; it's practically the definition of neutral and minimalist. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 10:21
  • @LaurenIpsum the goal IS to make the new theme neutral though. The old Sketchy(which we all liked) didn't serve all the SE Beta sites well. For some sites the grid paper looks worked, but for a lot of other sites, I had many people asking me "What does this grid paper look have to do with [site topic?]" I then had to explain the Beta/Sketchy process. Also Sketchy was too stylized to create promotional materials for our Beta sites too. The new look also reflects the recent redesign of our company site and blog site for consistent SE branding too.
    – Jin
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 12:54
  • We're still working out some bugs and styling issues. I'll look into the body text issues you've raised.
    – Jin
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 12:57
  • 1
    Judaism.SE has had this for a couple weeks. I finally had to write custom CSS to override the tiny hard-to-read fonts, and it's a pain (I don't have good design instincts and I don't know CSS well). I'd rather just use a site's style as-is but I can't. Theoretical measures of contrast are only part of the story; the final arbiter is the eye. The size and face are important, arguably more important, than colors in assessing legibility. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 13:07
  • 2
    I TOTALLY agree with Lauren. I'm no doubt more advanced in years than her, but I never had problems reading anything on the previous version. With these changes, most punctuation marks, especially periods, have all but disappeared for me. Furthermore, the font seems washed out and I feel like I'm straining to try to read the text. If I went to any other site on the Web that looked like this I would probably not ever return because it is too much work to try to make anything out! I'm honestly getting a headache just trying to read this! Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 18:58
  • @StevenDrennon is there anyway you could post a screenshot of what you see? P.S., what OS/browser are you using?
    – Jin
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:18
  • Steven describes it very well: I'm straining to read the text to the point where I would not be coming back here if I weren't a regular already. I am using FF 11.0 on Mac OSX 10.6.8, for the record. (and Steven, you aren't that much older than I am. :) ) Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:55
  • @Jin, I am currently using IE8 on a Compaq PC using Windows. I can't send any screen shots from here, but I'll check to see how it looks from home and send you a screen shot from there when I get a chance. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 21:06
  • @LaurenIpsum, FF11 and Mac OS 10.6.8 here too! (But I also had problems at work on XP with a much-older FF.) Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 0:15
  • @LaurenIpsum, do you use the Stylish add-on for Firefox? If so let's share. :-) (I've got some of the overrides figured out, thanks to help from Jin over on meta.SO.) Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 0:30
  • Monica, I will go check out that add-on. I saw the metaSO discussion and I will see about applying it. Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 10:29

I prefer this theme to the old "sketchy" theme; it presents the content in a more professional light, allowing it to stand on its own.

That said, Lauren's response to this, while a little ranty (no offense meant, Lauren), hits the mark in one respect: It's now a little harder to read the text. Sans serif fonts are harder to read than serif fonts in general, but usually not so much that this is a problem. When reading the list of question titles on the main site, they'd be easier to read if the text color were darker or if the text were slightly larger.

  • None taken. It is a rant. :) Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 10:21
  • 1
    I added a comment in agreement with Lauren beneath her "rant", but I also wanted to comment here. While the font on the regular site is much harder to read, the font here on the Meta site is even worse, especially in regards to the comments. It truly is VERY difficult to read! Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:02

Are all the links going away for good? There used to be links between the StackExchange drop-down and the Search input box, but they are now gone. I no longer see a link to the Meta site or Reviews or anything else that was there, including the link to my profile. I sincerely hope that was an oversight!

  • I see them on my end. Weird. Could you take a screenshot and tell us your browser setup? @Jin will need to know about this ASAP. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:41
  • That happened on Graphic Design SE Meta as well for at least one user. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:56
  • I'm using IE8, but it appears that they are back now. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 21:01
  • Okay, and now they are gone again! I got here by clicking a link from the SE dropdown that showed responses to my comments. (I was on the History SE site when I saw the messages.) When I used that link, I was able to see the links across the top of my page. I then used a shortcut in my browser toolbar to go to back to the History SE site. I then used a shortcut to the main Writers SE site, and all the links across the top were gone! I used my back arrow to get back here, and again all the links are gone! Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 21:11

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