We're getting ready to start on the final theme design for Sharepoint.stackexchange.com

Since this is the brainstorming phase, I don't have any designs to show. You guys are the Sharepoint experts, and I'd like to hear from you regarding what logo and overall visual theme you have in mind. In other words, what best represents Sharepoint? What kind of graphical elements would invoke the feeling of the Sharepoint community? What are some of the well designed Sharepoint resource sites you like(and why)?

Please base your suggestions on objectivity, instead of personal preferences(e.g. I love blue, I hate red) etc.

5 Answers 5


A couple of things to point out (which will probably make things harder for you Jin - sorry!):

SharePoint is always changing. Each new release Microsoft throw stuff out and mash other stuff (including entire separate products) in. They also love to makeover the interface with each new version. They even changed the official SharePoint logo with the latest release! So to base the design on what SharePoint is right now either in look or features, is something that won't stand the test of time.

SharePoint is best thought of as a business platform. It does a stack of varied stuff as you've probably found in your research. This could be anything from public facing web sites (examples), to business intelligence, to search, to collaboration. It's a base to build solutions on top of, rather than a complete solution in itself.

With these things in mind, a design that's fairly generic but tips its head to Microsoft's aesthetics may be worth considering. The overflowing cup logo designed by Sam Dolan and linked to by Kit worked quite well in that regard. (I could only ever get it to look good on a white background however.)

Finally, if there's any chance of us going live with a new design on or by October 3rd, that would fit in really well with the SharePoint event of the year - SharePoint Conference 2011!!

  • 3
    Good point about Sharepoint's frequent rebranding. I agree that it is rather generic(unlike its many designed themes). I believe SP.se will be launched before the conference. We may even have swag ready by then.
    – Jin
    Aug 19, 2011 at 7:20

One thought was to make the whole site look as though it was a SharePoint site (the opposite of what we usually do, which is to try and make a SharePoint site look as thought it isn't). Then I decided this was a stupid idea because we don't own the design elements and it probably wouldn't win any web design prizes anyway. And it will probably change in the next version.

So I suggest taking some recognisable element of the current SharePoint OOB design and using that as a starting point for a logo. E.g. the small default site logo:

SharePoint default site logo

... or elements of the error message!

SharePoint: expect the unexpected

SharePoint: Expect the unexpected.

Maybe this is a bit negative, but it is what a lot of people are looking at when they decide to post!

Again, the overall theme could borrow elements from the OOB SharePoint site design, such as colour theme and choice of typeface, but still looking like a StackExchange site.

  • 2
    +1 this is what I was trying to get at with my post. The icon with the people outlines is the perfect example .. they use that EVERYWHERE. I also agree that we probably don't want to make it look exactly like a SharePoint site but reuse some elements.
    – Kit Menke
    Aug 19, 2011 at 13:54
  • @Kit Yes, your post was totally what got me thinking along these lines.
    – SPDoctor
    Aug 19, 2011 at 17:13

Maybe the old logo will give some inspiration:

SharePoint Overflow

For me, I immediately think of SharePoint when I see the tabs (and excessive use of gradients!):

even more tabs/gradients

Or maybe some sort of ribbon like in SharePoint 2010?

Ribbon goodness

Hopefully this will at least give some background, I'm not sure if this is a good design or not. ;)

  • 1
    The design of the ribbon as a whole is not SharePoint specific, so I think that counts against using it as the basis of a theme. There might be some element of the ribbon that could be used.
    – SPDoctor
    Aug 19, 2011 at 9:53
  • 1
    @SPDoctor: Very true, didn't think about that. I'm stuck with Office 2003 and SharePoint 2007. ;)
    – Kit Menke
    Aug 19, 2011 at 13:53
  • 1
    I just hope it will not look like v2007 :) Aug 21, 2011 at 19:31

I do think that Sams design for the previous version of SP Overflow was really nice. Simple and elegant - and it's also a brand that's working. I know Sam is interested - and maybe pimp the original design a bit

  • I think Sam's old logo would be great for SharePint Overflow ;-)
    – SPDoctor
    Aug 19, 2011 at 17:15

Here are a few SharePoint resource sites I like:

  1. The SharePoint Product Team Blog, mostly because of the content, though it does run on SharePoint
  2. MSDN and TechNet Forums. Indespensible resources for Q&A where there is some participation from the vendor.
  3. NothingButSharePoint.com. Emerging as the top SharePoint Community resource. Also, running on SharePoint.

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