Can we change badge icons to something Unix&Linux specific?

Recently many sites changed their icons, for example:

  • close related to us android uses their robo mascot
  • emacs uses parenthesis () to be identified as lisp code
  • math uses different geometric figures (that's the coolest, because not only colour, but also shape is different)

What do you think would be the best icons to shortly characterize this site?

  • 2
    what will we be using ? a prompt ? which one ? >_ #_
    – Archemar
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:23
  • I just noticed that our current icons have the ~ symbol in them. I separately wonder if the icons have to be round.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 20:48
  • @JeffSchaller no, they don't. Check out Aviation or Biology for example.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 15:05
  • Looks like this might become moot soon; meta.stackexchange.com/q/307862/307535
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 17:38
  • Another update indicating that Badges are "status-planned"...
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 0:04

2 Answers 2


Based on the idea from the math site where they use different shapes for bronze, silver, and gold badges, what about having different prompts for ours? Gold could be a (root shell) #, but I'm not sure how to differentiate silver and bronze (> and $?)


Based on feedback in the comments, here's a clearer proposal:

  • Gold: #_
  • Silver: $_
  • Bronze: >_

Update 2:

I am harshly reminded why I'm not a graphical designer, but here's something to look at to compare & contrast foreground vs background colors:

badge foregrounds vs backgrounds

(Please don't use these as-is - they're hastily put together)

The left-hand column is supposed to represent the symbol in the badge's color on a black background; the right-hand column is the symbol in black on the badge color's background.

  • 3
    I like $ for silver (both for the $-S similarity and the financial association), which leaves > for bronze. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:10
  • 1
    I agree with #, $ and > respectively (gold, silver, bronze) but I would add an underscore turning it into #_, $_ and >_ (just like Archemar suggested). The underscore is often understood as the cursor, hell, you can set the cursor to underscore in all terminal emulators.
    – grochmal
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 15:40
  • 1
    The math.SE uses shapes with filled colours, which makes the badges pop and distinguishable. How will the proposed badges appear at unix.SE? Will the two-characters appear as "coloured text on dark background" or "dark text on coloured background"?
    – user125388
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 19:52
  • Definitely the right-hand set is the way to go, but the font should be bold and centered in the middle of the ball. Also the silver could be brighter as a contrast to the text.
    – jimmij
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 16:16
  • I'm honestly hoping someone else can bring some graphical talents to the table; I used my 13-year-old-stale HTML skills but couldn't find the colors that SX currently uses. The circles are all different sizes & etc! (But I also prefer the general look of the right-hand side -- it's more obvious what 'class' the badge is)
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 16:35
  • Ugh, >_ to me looks like a DOS prompt. No thanks!
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 20:58
  • @Wildcard If you don't like >_, what do you think about %_? Like in csh?
    – Fox
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 4:31
  • @Fox I've never used csh so my response is neutral. At least it doesn't have the DOS connotation. :)
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 4:49
  • @Wildcard I'm not personally a fan of csh, but it does have a place in Unix history.
    – Fox
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 4:56

I was bored so I re-made the badges' design proposed by Jeff Schaller. My take on it is according to the aviation.SE, which has the biggest badges that I managed to find on SE (increased here by a factor of 10):

enter image description here

I draw the black pixels to show how I measured it, the image suggests that SO/SE badges are 16x16 pixels sprites. The aviation.SE badges are not round, therefore I believe that not round badges are OK.

Anyhow, for U&L we could try this (increased here by a factor of 3):

enter image description here

In the actual badge size (16x16 each) these look as follows:


Used the SE colors, as per comments:

enter image description here

Also, created a white version:

enter image description here

And a very white versions (not sure which one scales better):

enter image description here

(The images are 16x48/16x56 but the badges are actually slightly smaller than 16x16, to fit better in the 16x16 container)

The font used is Liberation Mono, a version that is already under the SIL open font licence. Therefore no copyright problems exist.

  • 4
    Cool. The rectangle reminds me a terminal so is even better. I'm only not sure if small pictures are readable enough.
    – jimmij
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 17:27
  • @jimmij - I added a more spaced version, there isn't a place on the website that badge icons appear right next to each other, so this should help readability. I believe that the spaced image is already more readable.
    – grochmal
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 17:44
  • 3
    According to this post, badge colors are: copper (e19375), silver (b4b4b4), and gold (f9c923).
    – Roflo
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 20:45
  • 2
    great work, grochmal! I'm also a fan of the rectangle shape; my own preference would be for the black font (vs white). Based on some / other sites, maybe we don't need the border, allowing for a slightly larger symbol size? I'd also be OK with shortening the underscore slightly, if it helped.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 15:12

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