We should figure out what Russian.SE is going to look like. Hopefully we can avoid having pictures of balalaikas in our design.

Should we use a character as our favicon? English.SE uses a stylized ampersand, a fairly potent symbol. I think Ъ or Ы could serve the same purpose for our site, seeing how they are nearly exclusive to Russian (The only other language to have these symbols is Bulgarian). Another option that comes to mind is to use the Russian flag or some permutation thereof, though it seems a bit too unimaginative and could make non-native speakers and native speakers living outside of Russia feel less welcome.

What of the site itself? Being a language site, should it be styled after a book, a notepad? Something unrelated to the written word? An alphabet book?

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    +1 Like this question! How about we post suggestions and let the community vote? – msanford Jun 14 '12 at 16:17
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    @msanford that's pretty much what's happening right now :) – kotekzot Jun 14 '12 at 16:19
  • This site should look OK. – Trident D'Gao Jun 14 '12 at 19:06
  • I think Matryoshkas and Balalaikas are OK if they are drawn in a such way that it's obvious it's just a joke about the stereotype. – thorn Jun 15 '12 at 12:29
  • I haven't come up with any ideas for the design, but I like the current color scheme of the meta site (body: white background with black text; header: black background with white and yellow/gold text). – Александр Jun 4 '13 at 21:22

10 Answers 10


I am against the flag: it's a site about the Russian language, not about Russia of any particular historic period.


I suggest the humble Я (ya) as a symbol. It's the most recognisable and iconic of all the Cyrillic characters. It's not specific to Russian but there aren't currently any other SE language sites using Cyrillic anyway. Unsure of the best font/styling to use. Perhaps something with decorative serifs would have a nice 'literary' feel.

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    +1. Also, the word язык (language) begins with this letter. – Quassnoi Jun 18 '12 at 10:23

Regarding the future site logo / icon / favicon:

& has more character than Ъ or Ы and even a quirky prehistory before modern English.

I suggest instead the more antique and quirky but totally lovable letter ѣ which doesn't get nearly enough publicity these days (-:

Cyrillic letter "yat".

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    Not a fan of ять as it not longer really figures in modern alphabet (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reforms_of_Russian_orthography). – msanford Jun 14 '12 at 16:07
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    @msanford: Hence "antique" and "quirky". & doesn't figure in the English alphabet either. – hippietrail Jun 14 '12 at 16:22
  • I caught on. Whatever the community decides! I was just giving my opinion. Honestly, I don't know that I'm a huge fan of my own (first) suggeston anyway, simply because it's not necessarily a site about antique Russian. – msanford Jun 14 '12 at 17:58
  • I like the idea with the old school Cyrillic "Yat". – Trident D'Gao Jun 14 '12 at 19:06
  • @hippietrail: I like your idea, but your comment doesn't make sense. & is in no way quirky or archaic + it's not a letter, but a ligature, and thus has never been and never will be part of the English alphabet. In other words, & and ѣ have nothing to do with each other, being completely different entities. – Philip Seyfi Jun 15 '12 at 21:23
  • & is actually a ligature taken from an archaic language - the Latin word et rather than an English word at all - that's a pretty quirky choice to represent the English language! Never said it was related to ѣ, just that both completely different entities have some quirky and archaic qualities. Glad you like the idea though. I suppose there are some people on english.SE who don't like the &. – hippietrail Jun 16 '12 at 4:27

As to the look, what about taking a yellowish page of, say, V. I. Dal' dictionary as a background? It's old yet not prehistoric, so it would symbolise the ongoing development of the language followed by this site.

  • You don't have to post a second answer to expand the first, just edit it. Anyway, like your idea! – kotekzot Jun 14 '12 at 18:31
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    @kotekzot I know it, but I think it's more convenient for people to be able to vote for / comment on different things separately. – texnic Jun 14 '12 at 20:09
  • Good point, that. – kotekzot Jun 14 '12 at 20:09

There's also the Little yus (Ѧ ѧ) and big yus (Ѫ ѫ) as well as their iotified form (Ѩ ѩ, Ѭ ѭ).

However I would rather go with ъ or even ё, if anything.

Overall, I'd say that cursive is one of the unique aspects of the Russian language, and would consider basing the branding around it.

By the way, if no one else is up for the challenge, I'd like to volunteer myself to do the actual design (You can see my portfolio at http://divita.eu/ and here's an example of a site I've recently designed... http://russian.lingualift.com/) — of course, based on your discussion.

  • Philip, I think your offer is very much welcome. I suggest that we just ask around once we are ready to set our unique design, so that everyone who cares and wants to contribute can do it one way or another. – texnic Jun 16 '12 at 15:08
  • However I am against the use of very old characters which, in my opinion, are associated with church-Slavonic more than with Russian. – texnic Jun 16 '12 at 15:09
  • It's a very interesting and generous offer, though I'm not quite sure how that would work. SE has designers who do that, and we're sort of throwing things out there for them to use. Perhaps you could somehow get in touch with them and discuss contributing? – kotekzot Jun 19 '12 at 14:50
  • @kotekzot: There have been Stack Exchanges designed by 3rd parties. For example, the UX Stack Exchange has been designed by Dmitry from UsabilityPost. – Philip Seyfi Jun 19 '12 at 15:10
  • Good to know. We could probably field a custom design faster if you were to make it, since there are a lot of sites waiting for theirs. – kotekzot Jun 19 '12 at 15:21

Another Cyrillic letter that to me seems characteristic is й. But maybe it's just as characteristic of other languages which use the Cyrillic script:


I especially like its cursive form.

  • Й, й (название: «и» кра́ткое) — буква большинства славянских кириллических алфавитов (10-я в болгарском, 11-я в русском и белорусском, 14-я в украинском. В сербском и македонском отсутствует, вместо неё используется буква Ј). from here ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%99 – Trident D'Gao Jun 23 '12 at 4:51

Regarding the logo (or the whole site style). It might be a bear in the fur cap with a balalaika. Or something in that direction.

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    Oh, come on! Do a bit of humor can hurt? As is known, "The most foolish things are done with the most serious face" – Vladimir Posvistelik Jun 14 '12 at 21:05
  • Don't let this upset you: people are just voting for/against different suggestions, they don't mean anything personal. – texnic Jun 14 '12 at 21:22
  • Jokes should generally be confined to comments or side notes. – kotekzot Jun 14 '12 at 22:21
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    No клюква please. – GSerg Jun 15 '12 at 1:34
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    "No клюква please" - sounds great for the motto :) – iHunter Jun 15 '12 at 12:19
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    Why not? Клюква is funny! – thorn Jun 15 '12 at 12:33
  • @iHunter Yeah; let's put that motto into the balloon on an appropriate background picture :). – GSerg Jun 15 '12 at 19:39

I like the idea proposed by @hippietrail around the "Yat" symbol written in the old slavic manner. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yat)

  • Does anybody know how close it is to Russian, so that we can use it to identify ourselves?
  • Is there anything in the contemporary Russian for what it is known around the world?
  • Another idea is to use an image of a Russian church, even though I like this idea a lot it may be taken for some religious thing. What do you think?
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    It might've been better to submit the first two points as comments so that it could be clear whether the votes were for the third point. – hippietrail Jun 16 '12 at 4:20

As for the header, I personally love the design of the Катюша cycling team's jersey.
I wonder if anything similar could fit to this site.. enter image description here

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    Do you mean the skyline? Personally I doubt this will fly with the community, since the site is about a language and not a country or a city. – kotekzot Jun 21 '12 at 1:58
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    Yes, maybe you are right.. but the Cremlin is probably the most reknown Russian trademark, worldwide.. I think it would represent quite well the language as well as the country, instead of just the capital city.. but that's obviosly just my personal opinion! – Lucius Jun 21 '12 at 9:12


I like the idea of using text, as this is a site expressly devoted to language. This is the ICANN top-level domain suffix for Russia (it's like .ru but in Cyrillic, see http://www.rigf.ru/ ) and it fits nicely into a favicon.

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    рф and ru are both the country codes. This is not a site about Russia, it's a site about the Russian language. – texnic Jun 14 '12 at 21:21
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    @texnic That's incorrect, ru is the ISO-639-1 code for the Russian language: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ISO_639-1_codes – msanford Jun 15 '12 at 13:54
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    OK, let's say I badly expressed my thought. RU as the first-level domain name is supposed to represent a country, not a language (cf. NZ for New Zealand, UK for UK, CA for Canada, CH for Switzerland). From Wikipedia: When the Domain Name System was devised, in the 1980s, the domain name space was divided into two main groups of domains. The country code top-level domains (ccTLD) were primarily based on the two-character territory codes of ISO-3166 country abbreviations. – texnic Jun 15 '12 at 14:04

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