Gardening may be some way off graduating from beta but it won't hurt to start thinking about design ideas. While we're still in beta our background theme is the generic "sketchy" design consisting mostly of blue graph paper. When we graduate we'll get a design all of our own. It'll be so much better!
But what should that design consist of? In fact, Jin, the inhouse Stack Exchange designer, has asked sites like ours to have this conversation ahead of graduation. In a way, we're lucky, and so is Jin, because with gardening there's so much beautiful imagery to work with. Imagine trying to come up with a gorgeous design for a Sharepoint stackexchange? Or Personal Finance? (No offence to those guys)
So, what colours, themes, imagery and so on should we be steering Jin towards for a graduated Gardening and Landscaping site?
Which of the existing graduated Stack Exchange sites do you like and which, if any, have design elements which are relevant to our topic? Which gardening blogs or sites do you know of which have gorgeous designs?
As well as graduation designs, what about 404 pages, error pages, ads? Is there a plant or garden tool or other symbol which would make a good logo? For example, Parenting has this ad. Cooking has this 404 page.
Some things that occur to me to bear in mind:
Our topic is rich in suggestive imagery, but does classic iconography such as sunflowers and acorns make you think of gardening ... or an insurance company?
Remember we have an international audience and our gardening calendars depend on our location. Bicycles has a neat day/night theme for the main site v. meta. It would be very cool if our theme could do something to reflect changing seasons but could that work for both northern and southern hemispheres?
Our content typically includes more photography than most other SE sites. How should our surrounding design cope with that, without clashing?
Reflect the full range of content here. Vegetables is our top tag but we shouldn't forget ornamental gardening, flowers, fruit, lawn care and houseplants. Oh, and Landscaping.