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This might be a bone-of-contention among different users in different arts, but what sort of elements should we use in developing the look and feel of the website?

Some (I didn't say good; they're just to get the ball rolling) ideas might be:

  • Black and white, somewhat symbolic of the two best known belts in Japanese arts.
  • Scrolls or antiqued pages (like densho or old manuals).
  • Anatomy theme, since really we're dealing with applied biology.

What ideas do you have about the direction that we should take?

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I sort of like the idea of doing something with a simple palette such as black and white and maybe using silhouettes of people or objects representing various martial arts styles (including non-Asian ones, so show a fencer or something else along those lines).

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I'm massively in favor of a Zen look, which will be minimalistic and probably very black/white oriented, with an occasional splash of simple color.

Could the background image/pattern be like waves in a Zen rock garden (other examples here), and any other outlining being quite sharp with no gradients?

I'm not a designer so it is quite hard for me to describe in words how to make a page look Zen, but I welcome anyone's suggestions on how to achieve it.

  • Zen is cool; but is it too "eastern"? – stslavik Feb 16 '12 at 17:24
  • @stslavik - definitely eastern (hopefully not too much so), probably not helpful that when you talk of Zen gardens people think Japanese. – slugster Feb 16 '12 at 19:31
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I think a bias towards Japanese arts should be avoided if the Western martial arts are also considered on-topic. Not all systems have belts either. I'm not too big on conveying the antiquated feel (not all martial arts are old either), but if these things help project what the site is about then I'd be okay with it. Something that would be inclusive rather than themed around a specific (stereotyped?) idea I think would be better.

Perhaps a training hall or school sort of setting would be a good idea. I think that conveys the idea of "this is a place to train" and that it is a site of discipline, personal growth, and development. It's a good approach for people "entering" the site, and perhaps that's the type of environment and treatment we should be giving this particular Stack Exchange - an online martial arts school where people come to learn from each other.

Reno's message chat is what inspired me about the "school" idea:

lol should we make it compulsory to bow when we enter this dojo?

  • Unfortunately, the second that you start using the idea of a room-like feel (training hall, school), you're immediately heading toward a bias; each culture has a different feel to its rooms. – stslavik Feb 16 '12 at 17:23
  • Good point. Whoops. :) – Matt Chan Feb 16 '12 at 21:12

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