Is there any thought process behind changing the icon of Stack Overflow
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Yes, as the name change blog post stated, we do plan on sharing a little more about the new logo, its history, why we decided we needed to update it, and what changes we made. That post is coming soon. We meant to get it out earlier last week but we've been fairly busy updating the brand and other exciting projects.
To answer this question specifically, here's a small excerpt from the forthcoming blog post:
Earlier this year, the Design team and key stakeholders took part in an exercise to explore and better understand our brand. We worked through what we thought Stack Overflow represented, what we wanted Stack Overflow to represent, what you—the community—thought Stack Overflow represented. This process made us confront the fact that our branding efforts weren’t communicating effectively.
Many of our brand incongruities sprang from the fact that we lacked a systematic brand approach. How we approached design varied across the company—between products, teams, projects, and even individuals. And you—our community—bore the brunt of this. It fell to our community to figure what was different and why that mattered. These inconsistencies created unnecessary barriers, tensions, and learning curves within our brand and products.
Understanding this, earlier this spring the design team started discussing re-aligning the Stack Overflow brand experience. Our goals were to:
This update may not seem like huge step forward visually. Many might not even notice a difference. But it’s a big step forward for us. For the first time at Stack Overflow, we've developed a systematic approach that will allow our growing team to be visually consistent wherever you experience Stack Overflow.
It has all to do with the rename of the company back to 'Stack Overflow' (before the company was named 'Stack Exchange'). The icon is the new company logo. The site logo has been updated with that.
We thought it was pretty awesome then, and it’s still pretty awesome now. So, the design team didn’t change much, and just made a simple, clean update to the existing logo.
There wasn't a real reason mentioned in the article, just that it looks better.