The favicon is used in various places around the Stack Exchange (SE) network, to identify the site.
Currently, Earth Science has ESblue for main and ESblack for meta.
The problem I see is that these are awfully similar (i.e. exactly the same, as demonstrated here) to those for Spanish.SE,
which are ESblue2 for main and ESblack2 for meta.

The larger versions offer slight differences, but it's still hard to tell quickly which is which. Power users on this site, did you guess right, even after some time to think about it? (Answers under spoiler tag).

  • for main and for meta.
  • for main and for meta.

The first one is Earth Science and the second is Spanish.

Should SE visually distinguish between the two very different sites?

  • 3
    Health and History have the exact same favicon. I wouldn't hold your breath about getting these one changed since the 'H' confusion was brought up over a year and a half ago, and there's still been no change: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/254464/…
    – Harry V.
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 0:31
  • 8
    @Catija Look at Arduino, Chess, CiviCRM, Lego, Poker – all in beta, all have custom favicons
    – Harry V.
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 21:06
  • @Catija +1 to Harry Vervet's comment which my Earth Science answer below is based on, but even the ñ on Spanish, with or without the globe icon on Earth Science, instead of "ES" on both (which some folks still mix up with "SE," which refers to the whole collection of sites), would be adequate distinction here.
    – WBT
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 21:36
  • And most notably. @HarryVervet, Craft CMS, which is still in beta and yet has a favicon which isn't blue.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 20:49
  • In case anyone is interested, here's a follow up to this topic: meta.stackexchange.com/q/325487/362105
    – walen
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 15:18
  • 2
    If these sites want different icons that are still Unicode, that discussion needs to happen on their respective sites. It's not for MSE to decide if this should be changed and, if so, to what. I recognize that this question was originally asked on a child meta and that it was migrated here because it was about two sites. But the question isn't "should these be more different" the question is "do we want something else?"
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 18:51
  • 1
    @Catija I have opened the debate in Spanish.SE Meta --> Do we want a different favicon for Spanish Language?. Can we have some guidance on whether there are the limits to what can be proposed, apart from them being Unicode? Many thanks Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 15:56
  • 4
    Now that the Spanish.SE favicons have been changed, the body of the question doesn't make a lot of sense because it shows clearly different favicons for each site. I suggest replacing the images by proper copies instead of hotlinking the actual favicons, so future readers can see to what extent the old favicons resembled each other.
    – walen
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 10:07

4 Answers 4


A small picture of Earth might be helpful to distinguish Earth Science from Spanish, similar to how beta sites like Arduino (infinity sign), Chess (rook), or Aviation (airplane when it was still in beta) were able to use other symbols.

Three relevant Unicode characters:


  • 1
    That is an excellent idea. Perhaps SE can even guess which one is most appropriate for the user, based on IP or other sources of geolocation?
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:24
  • 1
    Or look at browser compatibility...mine only shows the third one, though if it's embedded in a favicon or something as an image, it shouldn't matter what unicode characters a browser does or doesn't support. The Americas segment seems to be the one most commonly used to depict Earth in small images, after the Euro-centric one used for a while before that, but at least some people will justifiably complain about any single choice that overgeneralizes. I think that would still be an improvement over the current match with Spanish.SE.
    – WBT
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 14:27
  • Thanks to @fedorqui for the bounty posting & award! I'd also like to positively call out Unrelated's answer suggesting ¿! (or ¿?) for Spanish Language Q&A, if custom graphics as in fedorqui's also-interesting ñ proposal aren't an option for beta.
    – WBT
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 13:46
  • Oh I see your comment here now. As a regular user in Spanish Language and mod, I am strongly against that suggestion. Also, accepting an answer does not seem to be the way to call out an answer, since -to me- the accepted answer should be the SE staff post notifying about the change. Let's hope this hopes soon! Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 9:36
  • @fedorqui I agree that it'd be better to have a solution, and I'd change the Accepted Answer if there were a solution implemented (changing either site). As a mod, don't you have some direct input with the SE team for the abbreviations, favicons, etc. of your site?
    – WBT
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 15:25
  • @WBT I already contacted them about this topic some time ago, but nothing occured since. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 15:43
  • Related earthscience.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1590/…
    – user657339
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 11:40

Some time ago the user Carlos Alejo suggested in the Spanish Language Meta (deleted post) to use some specific icon for Spanish Language using ñ, the letter that is normally used to symbolize this language:

enter image description here

We know we are in Beta and no specific design can be given yet, but for this specific case we could make a good case for an exception considering it would help us distinguish between the two sites.

  • 10
    Even an ñ in the blue speech bubble would be better than ES there.
    – WBT
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 23:47
  • 1
    I like the ñ idea, but it's not just present in Spanish, as there are a number of other languages that use the ñ as well, derived from 'nn' (the same way English's w evolved from 'vv')
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 23:43
  • 4
    @Flimzy good point, at least we can say it is the only Language with its own Stack Exchange site that has it. (From Wiki, It is also used in other languages such as: Galician, Asturian, Basque, the Aragonese Grafía de Uesca, Chavacano, Filipino, Chamorro, Guarani, Quechua, Mapudungun, Mandinka, and Tetum alphabets, I don't foresee any of these languages having a community in the near future). Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 6:48
  • 6
    As @fedorqui hinted at, Spanish is by far the most commonly spoken language that has an "ñ". Also, it is the language that is most commonly associated with the "ñ" letter in popular culture. Favicons don't have to be unique with respect to every possible theoretical stack, otherwise we couldn't have "H" represent History because it would collide with a (hypothetical) future stack on Hula, Heraldry, Hungarian, or Heathenry. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:56
  • 3
    @Flimzy The letter pair "es" is used by even more other languages than "ñ," even if it's the official language abbreviation for only one. As seen even in the limited set of Stack Exchange site names, it's used as an abbreviation for more than just the Spanish language.
    – WBT
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 13:01

Assuming that a custom favicon is a possibility,

I suggest ¿? as the Spanish site's icon.

As Flimzy pointed out to Fedorqui and Carlos Alejo's suggestion, ñ is not unique to the Spanish language. The inverted question mark, however is (at least according to reputable Wikipedia). It also has the added benefit of referring to questions—the very intent of the site. (I suppose if we wanted to get tricky we could do something like ¿! to refer to the question and answer aspects, but that, I think, is too much.

  • 3
    I think ñ is by far more representative of a Spanish language site than any other symbol. Using ¿? may have some sense but not many people would automatically link it to the Spanish language. Also, the link you provide says ¿ is used in written Spanish and sometimes also in languages which have cultural ties with Spanish, so it is also not unique. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 12:21
  • @fedorqui At least the ¿ still has Spanish ties. The ñ, though appears in Tocharian and Sanskrit transliterations, Crimean Tatar, Breton and Rohingya. You're also assuming a lot to say the ñ is immediately more recognized as Spanish than a ¿. Anyone who is using this site would be aware enough—even if it was somehow vague.
    – Unrelated
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 15:13
  • 1
    Let's be realistic: on what frequency do you find references to Spanish under the ¿ sign? and under the ñ? For example, see the logo of Instituto Cervantes the main institution to spread the usage of this language. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 15:16
  • I like this idea, for a Q&A site. +1.
    – WBT
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 1:24
  • 1
    Especially the "¿!" version.
    – WBT
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 13:51
  • 1
    @WBT any reason why this answer was accepted? Since this is a feature request, I don't think anything should be accepted unless it gets solved by the SE team. Also, this icon is quite unlikely to please the Spanish Language community, as votes suggest. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 6:52
  • 1
    @fedorqui I was trying to call it out as a potentially useful solution that solves the disambiguation within standard character set without requiring custom design. Apparently, the SE team cannot/does not mark an answer as accepted, that is only something the question asker can do (I don't completely agree with that design choice, but it's been made). I don't think the handful votes here are necessarily representative of the Spanish Language community, and may be more of a function of the timing when the answers were posted. Later answers often get stuck at the bottom of the vote-sorted list.
    – WBT
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 15:22
  • 1
    @WBT my point about the accepted answer is what the FAQ explains: Accepting an answer is important as it both rewards posters for solving your problem and informs others that your issue is resolved. In here, nothing is solved, so until some SE staff informs about the change in a post, I doubt we can consider any answer as "informative of the issue being solved". Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 10:14
  • 1
    OK, I un-accepted it. I still recommend that as a mod, you directly re-contact the SE team, and make your proposal be for a standard character or two in the blue bubble rather than the "we should get custom design before finishing beta and set up messy precedent rules" that you have proposed here, which is easy for them to dismiss.
    – WBT
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 14:06
  • 1
    @WBT just noticed your last comment, sorry for my belated response. As I also said in a comment to your answer, I already contacted the SE team long time before offering a bounty here. Since it did not work out, I thought that offering a bounty could help a bit. However, it still did not work out :| Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 18:35

Per the Spanish Language Stack Exchange feature request's completion - which changed the logo from Es to ñ, these icons are no longer similar.

Their new favicon looks like:

Spanish Language site favicon, blue speech bubble with white ñ


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .