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A New Road to Travel

When I was first approached with the project to redesign and replace our user symbols I was naturally quite shocked. For those of us who've been part of deviantART for a long while, changing the username symbols seemed like changing the colour of the sky, or asking everyone to suddenly start walking backwards, right? It seemed like such a fundamental part of what deviantART is that it was hard to take on board. But then really, when you think about it, the old symbols were meaningless at face value. And that, my dear friends, is exactly why we set about looking at rethinking them.

Think about when you first found and joined deviantART. Did any of the symbols make sense? Did you stop and think "what is this ~ before my name and why is it there?" Maybe, but possibly you're probably like me and just kinda accepted it because that's the reality presented to you. After a while, though, you'd have seen the * and maybe even a ` or ^ and found out that they were a different type of member, but you probably still didn't know what that meant or even where to find out. I remember clearly that I absolutely had to have a * the moment a friend of mine got theirs. Was it because of the * or because of what it meant? Absolutely the later. It set you aside; it made you special. Well, that's how I felt at the time, anyway. Hopefully you can relate.

The other thing I felt was sadness. Having the old symbols was like part of your deviantART psyche. It's part of the landscape. Realising in that moment that we were going to lose those symbols (speaking selfishly as someone who never thought they'd ever get a $ in front of their name) and therefore some of our old identity was quite a moment. Let me assure you that everyone on staff feels the same. We are all aware that this is a very important thing for not only deviantART as a site, but more importantly for its community.

The Brief

The initial brief for this project was that we would be replacing characters with icons that would be clearer in their meaning. At the outset we had the symbol be accompanied by a label. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons the new symbols would be moved from the left to the right of the user name.

Further more, I added to this by imposing technical requirements: symbols should scale in the same way as the original characters, feel like an extension of the username, work in multiple environments and not clash with the deviant avatars.  

Initial Development

To match all the requirements and because the symbol was going to be accompanied by text, the whole item had to be packaged in a block or a "label". Which gave us this test:

Pm-symbols-test by zilla774

Clearly, whilst this worked for larger comment titles, it wasn't going to work for smaller areas. The choice at that point was to remove user name "labels" in smaller areas, or remove the text and place that in a tooltip (something we had in the works for a long while before the start of this project, but never seemed to make the live site). We chose the later, which moved us to this:

Pm-symbols-test2 by zilla774

Initially this was fine, but the more I tested it, the more the box felt clunky and unnecessary. I was also realising that whilst the boxing might solve problems with spacing and icon size further down the road it wasn't going to scale.

To add to this, initially I was using the traditional PNG icon approach and to cater for the myriad of sizes and colors necessary to support our entire network, the creation and maintenance of a PNG spritesheet would be pure insanity.

There needed to be a more flexible approach.

From an Image to a Font

This flexible approach was kinda obvious. What icon could behave in the same way a font character behaved? Another font. 

I'd recently rebuilt the UI for deviantART muro using a webfont - dramatically improving page load times, plus the look on retina screens and mobile devices was amazing. But using this technique across the whole of dA? deviantART muro is limited to HTML5 capable browsers, which basically means a small set of very modern browsers all easily capable of handling custom fonts nicely.

Pushing this technique to the entire deviantART network was going to introduce problems not encountered before - namely older, less forgiving browsers.

So I set about testing various webfont approaches until I was sure that this was scalable across the whole of our network. This was definitely the defining part of this project; once I knew I could support this, building out the vectors and then webfont was the easy part.

Creating the New Icons

Now I had the rough concept and the technology locked down, the next stage of the project was to design the actual icons themselves. We had to translate from, lets face it, pretty randomly chosen characters to more meaningful icons. I also set myself an additional goal - if possible, create icons which tied back to the previous symbols in a way that made them identifiable to our current members.

The premium member icon was first. The obvious solution is a star. It's also something we use a lot around the site and so ties nicely to the dA theme.

Premium-comparison by zilla774
(old * shown in Trebuchet, next to new star)

Then came the volunteer icon. Here was my first pass:

     Volunteer-comparison by zilla774
The ^ is referred to internally as the volunteers "hat", hence why I went for a crown, I also tried a top hat...

The shape of the seniors' "tick" or ` was already hinting at a medal shape, and it's an award that is given in recognition, so that also made sense. I felt strongly that it was important to try to reflect the transition from a Premium Member to a Senior Member in some way, and the obvious solution was including the Premium star in the design. I tried a few variations before getting it right:

Seniors-comparison by zilla774

Next, the new icon - 'til hell freezes over. And that could only ever be a flame.  

Flame-large by zilla774
The final issue was how to approach the staff icon. I didn't want to carry forward the dollar aspect of the symbol. This is something I think we generally disliked the connotations of, even though it was originally chosen because we were paid staff rather than volunteer staff. After a few failed attempts at things like peace icons, or a thumbs-up, I tested a lightning bolt which was closer in dimensions to the $, but it still didn't feel good.

I went back a step and just tried the dA icon:

dA-logo by zilla774

Now I had a set that worked together. But there where some problems. At a small size, some of these icons sucked. The flame and crown were just a mess small, and worse: the deviantART logo was either too wide, or too tiny when compared to the other icons. The vibe just wasn't quite right.

All-compare by zilla774

Back to the drawing board

With the help of an icon starvingartist had already produced, I refined the flame icon, which helped it look a whole lot nicer smaller.
Flame-final by zilla774
Then I ditched the crown and tried a heart. This felt, to me, much more in keeping with the vibe the volunteers have: those guys give their time freely for the love of the community. 

Heart by zilla774
Finally, the dA logo. As you can see in the comparisons below the logo is actually pretty complex with multiple strokes when you break it down. These strokes are the main issue when you shrink them right down in size. They just go to mush. My first take attempted to balance the stokes to achieve the same feel, but still wasn't working, the second wasn't much of an improvement, so the final idea just took the internal structure and removed the stroke entirely. The end result was much stronger. Plus, being boxed it fixed the spacing issue.

dA-logo-comparison by zilla774
Beta tester versions were simply a matter of taking the original symbol and making it an outline. This was the simplest solution I could find without reinventing each symbol, adding to the icon in some way, or relying heavily on color. The Groups icon we already had, so that was that.

I still had the problem remaining of boxing verses unboxing. The icons were so strong on their own that I opted to just remove the box and go for it.

Anatomy for Beginners

Now I had a workable solution. The final set balanced nicely, looked roughly how we had stuff before and would scale.

Final-set by zilla774

I was adamant that the only way this was going to actually fly was if the symbol behaved in a way that made it feel attached to the username. Using font characters such as $ and * was easy, but this approach was much harder to get accurate. In practice, I found that if the symbol alignment was off by even 1 pixel, it looked really really odd. 

Therefore, the next part of the design process was to build out HTML demonstrators which not only proved the theory actually worked in practice, but also locked down the style guidelines.

Comment-demo by zilla774 Link-demo by zilla774 
(examples taken from a prototype demonstrator - many more areas were tested)

Once this was browser tested and signed off we started building the live version (big shout to fartprincess who did the implementation). As I had expected at the start of this project, we encountered a lot of issues with the sheer volume of placements you can find usernames. It was getting kinda crazy, so to help out fartprincess and myself I built out another demo which included an "Anatomy of a Username" guide. This allowed us to understand exactly how the user symbol should be presented in any given size, name, or type scenario. This improved the process dramatically.

Guide-demo by zilla774

And finally...

The solutions seem kinda obvious when I read this back, but this process took many weeks of discussion and a not insignificant amount of soul searching over if we should do this in the first place before I even started doing any design work.

No doubt we'll continue to refine the designs, and thank you to everyone who has contributed to the end result. I'm really proud of these symbols, and as Heidi said in the launch article (, I hope these new symbols will have just as much meaning and visual attachment as ever.

Hope y'all found this interesting!



p.s for those that are interested, I've submitted a vector pack of all the new symbols for use around the site: 

Official deviantART User Symbols Pack by zilla774

The process of designing the new user symbols, from conception to launch.
Add a Comment:
helldog2004 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist

I know for some people the user symbols are a collectors item, referring to forums where you can get a new icon by posting more threads / replies and such (This keeps the members active).

So maybe these are some great ideas to implement in the website:

1. Create medals or badges for adding art (maybe even different medals or badges for different kind of art), you can give bronze, silver, gold or platinum.

2. Create medals for having x times your art added to some else's favourites.

3. Create medals for being active x years.


And many more can be created for a community such as this one.

Positive side of having medals and/or badges is that members suffering of collect-illness (and this illness is contagious) will come back for more by adding more art and having a more active community.

Bad side for this idea is that there has to be made a new page for every member where they can show-off their medals and badges, just like the Llama badge we can receive.


Now, some of these can also be used as user symbols, like the medals and/or badges for being an active member over a X time of years.

And to make it even look cooler, the user symbols should be displayed before the nickname instead of behind it.

*Helldog2004 looks a lot cooler then Helldog2004* (Now the star falls into nothing in my opinion).


But the design looks really clean, and we should keep it that way, nice and simple.

sailorcancer01 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist
the :new: user symbols are totally awesome. I hope that I can get a :new: user symbol my user page used to look like this ~sailorcancer01 now it looks like this sailorcancer01.
synthes Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
I'm a little bit late but I was confused about the new symbols in the first moment. I came back to dA after several weeks and looked for my username at the topbar and was wondered what symbol is that behind my username. After reading some journals about these new symbols I know which is for what. But...I think they should be in front of our usernames, not only because we know that from the past, but behind the username they look wrong for me.
Bluewyrm Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013
I think my problems with the new symbols are more about the placement than the symbols themselves - when they're before the username, they function pretty much like Dr., Mrs., Ms., or Mr. do in the real world - they provide a little mostly inconsequential info about the user and they sit in the same place - but when they're after the name it's just... confusing. It means the same thing as it did before, but it's not in the conventional place such a thing would appear.
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I thought the heart had been selected to reflect the symbol of Community Relations :iconcommunityrelations: See the heart? Now all the volunteers are a part of CR so I assumed that was the source of our heart symbol.

But your description also works just about fine :iconokie2plz:
LorrieWhittington Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That was interesting. I rather like my medal.

Hello Ian btw, hope you and yours are all good.

Lorrie xx
OfficiallyAbi Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I ... hadn't even noticed the pretty little star next to my name. /shame
saphireta Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013   Traditional Artist
I agree with everything you wrote here and I like to see the process. Good job and thank you for posting this. But.. well yeah, I already got used to my tilde..and to know the meaning of others :)

In my opinion the symbols could be a little bit smaller (same as the letters are) and I'd put a bigger gap between the username and the symbol, especially in the case of star. Also make the upper part of the senior symbol more simple. And as someone else noticed before, having the symbol on the right side makes mess when using the username in sentences.
SparrowWrightheart Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, a lot went into this update. :o Thanks for all the hard work. :D It's nice to know the staff does work to improve things. Thanks again.
Sapphira-Adi Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't have much of an issue with the new symbols. I've seen many others suggest having them at the beginning of the username and I completely agree with that, it would look better especially when you use the deviant in a sentence. I also like the text that comes up when you hover over the symbol, I finally know what each one means. I also don't have a problem of not having a symbol :meow:
I don't like the outgoing link symbol, it looks too big and boxy and distracting. The idea of having an outgoing link symbol is great, but maybe make it look more like it belongs because it looks really out of place. I'm sorry but I don't have any good ideas to give of what could look better ^^;
KrowFace Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Oh! That explains the star next to my name.
overlibertyshead Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Student General Artist
While I personally think some people are making this a bigger deal than it should be, I don't think these pay-only symbols are really such a good idea either. Maybe symbols are earned by achievements instead of status?
EstrangeloEdessa Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
So I'm not bothered by the new symbols vs the old like some people are. The star, the heart, the metal, they all look cool, and they're all more appropriate than the old random characters. 

BUT. If your goal was to have the symbols "feel like an extension of the username," then you failed by putting the symbols after the name. It really messes with the overall look of the username and whatever sentence it happens to be in. I know other people have pointed this out, but I have to add my two cents. 

If you have a sentence like "$zilla774 created some new username symbols," it looks fine.
But then in a sentence like "There's mixed reaction to $zilla774's new username symbols," the whole effect of that sentence is messed up by the dA icon. With the old symbols, "devzilla774" would be just a name and you could use it like a name, making it possessive and putting commas after it and all that stuff you do with words. So an "extension of the name" should not interfere with the name's place inside the sentence. But that's what icons after the word do. 

I like deviantART because of the community. For me, that means mentioning deviants in comments and journals and features and getting to use their names like names. And I like deviantART as a place for my writing. And being a writer means using apostrophes and commas and nice, flowing sentences. 

I don't mind icons after the username in places like at the top of comments and in the "by" line of journals and deviations. They look great there. But in actual pieces of text, they NEED NEED NEED to go back to the front. 

All in all, I'm hoping that this'll end up like the More Like This that everybody hated but that, after some changes, turned into something awesome. :)
Bluewyrm Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013
It's like if people said Rogers Mr. instead of Mr. Rogers. Honorific type stuff goes before the name in English, not after...
nftadaedalus Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013
Shame to see how :devart: is getting awful. It used to be a cool site, but it's slowly starting to become too conventional.

Why don't you ever FIX things, like bringing back the original Mosaics? Why don't you make the site work on MORE browsers, instead of LESS? Why do you spend time and money on something so useless as username symbols? Leave the stupid things as they are while you fix issues, and THEN maybe think about changing it. Oh, and ASK the community what they want, not just go ahead and be deaf.

It all started to go wrong when $spyed fired dA founder jark. The community protested, colouring all avatars yellow (mine is still yellow because of that), but $spyed, the greedy fucker, of course did not listen and simply stole the site. It has never been the same and nothing got done anymore. Bugs kept getting added, the site stopped working on more and more browsers and useless features kept getting added.

I'm really starting to dislike this site, already hardly spending any time here. I used to be on here daily, multiple times per day even, I liked the forums, I liked the community. But slowly, as said, dA made itself impossible. I'm sure it will continue to exist, but as a mainstream, dime a dozen, crappy site, instead of the unconventional, professional, intelligent site it once was.
crazyartist12 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
can we get the wavy symbol back for the non-perium menbers?
MarissaSunshine Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
I still miss having symbols.
Radioactive-Ink Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i would prefer it if the symbols were before our names, but other than that, nice work, man! 
Izz-noxfox Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I was wondering where all the symbols had gone! (plus it happened just when my premium membership expired OnO) It's quite some change, it's a strange feeling of course, but you've put great work into it's a good change I think :) Congrats on this job, it was delicate, tedious, a big change in dA's UI history I think, but you did great.
WorldsEdge Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Hi, zilla774. Thanks for the history of the change. Though my voice will probably be lost in the crowd here, I figured I'd still share my thoughts:

1) Currently, the symbols get weird in the case of possessive form. For example "DeviantName* commented on a post on DeviantName*'s profile." The apostrophe-s gets orphaned out there beyond the symbol. It may be possible to allow the apostrophe-s to precede the symbol to make this clearer. So "DeviantName*" and "DeviantName's*" both link to the same profile. This is similar to the usage in wiki markup where [[Proper Name]] and [[Proper Name's]] both link to the article called "ProperName". Of course, that whole exception wouldn't be necessary if the symbols were moved to the front of the name...

2) It appears to be possible to insert a symbol into a journal post, you do it several times in this journal. So how is it done? I still refer people to my group "#SCA-Publications" though presumably more and more people will not understand the "#" in that case. Is it a : command, like :icon[name]: ?
Rosary0fSighs Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
As a personal preference, I prefer them before the username. I think the text that comes with the hover is really helpful, especially for new deviantart members,
Reixma Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I am going to agree with a few people on here and ask why the symbols (as there is no text) can't be moved to the left hand side of the name?
You have answered why the sizes have to be the way they are, so thank you for that. It is also nice to see that you have indeed given this a lot of thought and were shocked by this revelation. I thank you for writing this and having the decency to think about this in great detail.

However, if you could move the symbols, that would please a lot of people and make them more accepting.

As I ask this question, I am aware of the alterations, lining up, fluidity and acceptable appearance of the symbols against the names and everything else they will be next to, so I do understand if this provides you with a headache. All I ask is if this could be looked into and the findings published. Possibly take a vote on this at the bottom of the message page where the DA polls are posted?

Many thanks again for providing us with this valuable information. I will do my part to ensure this gets seen by as many people as I can get to.
TimeKiller357 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Student Photographer
I understand that they changed it because not many people knew what the symbols meant, but a much simpler and a lot less controversial way to fix that would to just have the thing pop up when you hover over the old symbol to tell you what they mean (as they do now) and just keep them as the old ones, instead of changing the whole thing. I personally think the old ones look better, a little bit more professional, and were honestly something that was unique to DeviantART. I think eventually I'll get used to these new symbols, but I'll always prefer the old ones.
DevilishDB Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
Great idea! But, as other people said, any normal member symbol?
EverRoxas Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
I'm going to agree with many others here who think that members not having a symbol at all is a bit unfair.  Anything will do.  It doesn't need to be fancy.  Just something?

And, has anyone yet answered how we know the disabled and banned accounts now?  Just curious still.

Well, maybe something will be done if a lot of people voice this opinion.  Here's hoping.
michaelaforbus Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Student Photographer
Disabled and banned accounts are grey and have a strike through them now, like this: !elevation-world
EverRoxas Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013
Ah, thank you.
piethein21 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
im pro not having any symbol at all. Who needs a uniform with 3 stars to show everyone whos tha man?
I qoute: "It set you aside; it made you special. Well, that's how I felt at the time, anyway. Hopefully you can relate." I cant relate at all never felt special when having prenium. I did like being prenium but that was because other people were so terribly kind to give it to me and it has its advantages.
Now not having it doesnt seem to bother me one bit. Also havent seen any change in how people look at me. And the other way around isnt there neither. I know some ^'s and ' 's but those arent really "above me" in my opinions and i treat them as equal...

I think its just a way DA hopes to get more money from preniums just for people that feel special when they have a symbol in front of their name.
Just as the "until hell freezes over" is now buyable... are you kidding me? it ends after 7 years so its not even the real "hell freeze over" thing. Its specially made for those people who want to buy status which is in his turn making abuse of someones insecureness....

anyway those are my 2 cents....
faeorain Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I also could care less about symbols. I mean if they want them, whatever, if not, I'm okay with that. I have premium membership to access certain features and to be a beta tester. But personally, I think the only ones who need symbols are those who work for DA, either paid staff or volunteers so as to be easily identified by users. 
SamurajSonia Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's little unfair for ordinary members. In the old type of symbols they have a small symbol.

In my opinion new symbol speak : "Look I have money, I'm better than YOU!"
pikajane Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
Really interesting journal! Thanks for sharing your process--I find logo design to be fascinating in its deceptive simplicity
Mann-of-LaMancha Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So you are individual who came up with the idea for the flame? It looks like a stylized "H" or a halberd. Either way, or even as a flame, neither suggests instantaneous understanding that a lifetime membership (albeit only 7 years!) is what it symbolizes.

I have no objection to the heart and star (premium), and think the second style of badge you developed would have been better for the senior members. I agree that the methodology for the senior member should have the star in it, but what happened with that methodology for the "hell freezes over" symbol? A flame means forever? No, a flame burns out quickly.

the free dictionary defines the idiom "hell freezes over" as: mean they will NOT get the result they want
So it connotes negativity, with exception to a grave, it does not mean eternal ...anything.

Apparently you want to go from "what does a $ mean?" to "what does a flame mean? Does it mean they are gay? Flamers? Are you singling out homosexuals?!"

A hollow symbol means more?? In what form of reality??

Even simplified, the dA logo (at that size) gets too fuzzy. It looks like it says "Go" or "Dio".…

I'm a (basic) member. I know the dA logo is what it is meant to be implied. What about the visitor who stops by and sees the symbols for the first time?

However, I don't contest that you didn't assign a symbol for us basic members as much as others do apparently.
faeorain Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Well, since DA's version of a lifetime membership only lasts 7 years, that probably explains the flame which will soon burn out :)
Mann-of-LaMancha Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
perfectly rationalized! :XD:
shadougeftw Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
merp ;-;

Reciespecies Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Seems like it should work fairly well.
PixlPhantasy Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wonderful read.  I don't mind the badge at all.  Definitely a little weird at first but hey, it's not affecting my life in any way :D
Omnivoyance Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
Ooooh what about people like me who buy other people premium memberships but felt no need for that level themselves? I'm the source of the cash in a transaction recorded on this site... so shouldn't I get a badge since I'm the source of the money! LOL (maybe I can have that dollar symbol '$' they have cast aside! XD ) 
Theblackops2master Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Artist
Some people don't like the giant stars next to there username
bronwensart Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love hearing about this process. Maybe because I never really got attached to the old symbols, but I think these feel exciting, fun, and a bit more meaningful. Like a labor of love!
Etsuko-Hime Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I thought the old symbols dident have a meaning at all XD my first day of DA; " why is there an ~ before my username? Dos it have a meaning?" Then when i got PM it changed to * and i was like "ahhh... Mabye it DOS have an meaning?"

It would be so cool if they choosed the top hat!! :D :D 

 I really like the blue username writing :3 

The DA staff did a great job!! :hug:
MarikBentusi Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013

DL'd a script that was supposed to restore the old prefixes, but it bugged out and removed them altogether.

Even better/cleaner, actually! :la:

BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
I'm coming around to it... as in, putting up with it when I have to :giggle: I do think they are beautiful vectors, I just was shocked and very upset at a) the change. I dont like change at first :giggle: thats just me and b) the implications of the medal. 

For a long time I felt like seniors fed back to the staff that we felt pressured to behave a certain way or be a certain way once we were ticked, because we were seen as role models in the community, when in actual fact most of us didn't know why we'd been ticked. So we didn't know what thing we'd done to do more of. For a while there my tick made me feel like I shouldn't be annoyed with deviantART, or curse, or get irritated with people on DA, and it became a pressure. I know someone who declined their tick - that wasn't for me... my tick was a huge honour and something I am still so so proud of. Something I so desperately wanted, and then one day - magic.

The day of the change, because we had no warning (although I understand why you couldn't give warning) it felt like my tick (because the tick was the symbol of who I wanted to be in the community) was taken away from me. Something I worked hard for, and still work hard for I think. So it was a shock mostly...

but now the shocks worn off I still feel weird about the medal. I feel like it goes back to that time when we were seen as role models rather than people who had (presumably,) done something DA appreciated.

Admittedly, if I were in your shoes I have no idea what I'd make the symbol. I'd definitely have the crown for deviousness award winners (they deserve to have their own symbol, there aren't many of them and these are people who bring something really epic to the community enough to be noticed by the staff for it and chosen out of millions of users), I'd bring back the seperate symbol for ex staff and volunteers, and I would try and think of a symbol for the seniors that was less obvious.

The beauty of the tick was, visually, it had no pre-existing connotations, so we could make it mean whatever we felt it meant to us. We could say it was a 'reward' for hard work, and then stop doing any more hard work, we could say it was 'recognition' for continued hard work and continue to work hard... we could be ourselves and decide whether or not to continue being or doing whatever it was that got us the tick. (Although why would you choose to stop, DA is magic <3)

Is it new user friendly to have a vague symbol? Hmm. Maybe not. But just because its easy for a new user to understand that we (the seniors) are special and lauded, doesnt mean that the connotations of a medal aren't going to create that unbalance subconsciously again too. You get the convinience of them knowing we are different more easily, but the pay off is they make assumptions on how we are different from them.

At the end of the day, I love the hover explainations for symbols... they make sense... and I don't see why we couldn't hover over the old symbols. Because if all the old symbols were hover-over-able then you wouldn't need to hover many times before you knew by site the few symbol options there are, would you? Just like the hearts, you'd learn that hats meant volunteers.

I think that the only one I really worry about is the seniors. I think that something in me is tensing for a fight that may never come. I don't want to have to explain myself to people again and worry if I'm giving the right impression... I just wanna be me (slowly taking over deviantART >:)) :giggle:.

I really like the stars, I'd have made seniors the hearts and maybe volunteers gold hearts (heart of gold) or a variation of the staff symbol to closely link them to that sense of officiality. I don't know.. 

I just thought I'd drop in my two cents, because I respect the level of work that went into this, and I did say on my profile that I dun like the new medals (I'm sorry!) and I didn't want the team to think it was a knee jerk reaction. Although some of it is > _ > a big chunk of it is based in how I feel about the psychology of visual icons and their existing connotations of their meanings, which I think is valid feedback?

Much love though, and please don't take my tick or medal or whatever the symbol is away :giggle: because I do still love DA even if I am worried about this design change.
spoems Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013   Writer
I really like what you said about the tick mark for seniors being nebulous in a way that allowed seniors to define what the symbol meant for themselves.  That was a very astute observation that I was unable to articulate, even to myself,  for this year that I've been one. It does sort of feel as if the meaning of seniority has been (innocently) usurped from the individual,  and that seniors are now presented with a more easily, and narrowly definable symbol. The question is, does that now help clearly define a specfic identity, if not a role within dA?
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013
and if it does, is it the identity that is applicable to the group of people.
ValkyrieReginleif Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I like the new icons, much easier to understand how and why the person has the symbol when I see these new ones as compared to the old ones. thank you lots ^^

Personally I don't see a reason that normal non-premium members MUST have a symbol all their own, that's not what they are for, and just because there was something before and the isn't now, it doesn't change the fact the the old symbol was for identifying non-premiums as such. 

Maybe it would be nice for non-premiums to get a symbol that relates to how long they have been part of the community (active not just existed) once they pass certain postmarks, or even for total contribution in number of content uploaded.

It would be nice, but not a MUST HAVE or a reason to implement further changes. Even if "being a part of the community" is interpreted differently between the staff and user-base.
rcdg Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Always love hearing about the design process.  Think you've done a good job.
LuckyKoneko Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I must say, the new symbols are really cool, but I feel like you're discriminating the normal members. normal members don't have a symbol now, which I think is discriminating and rude, and might be discouraging people who want to join DA and can't afford a Premium or (like me) don't want to have a Premium. and many other people, including people who DO have symbols, agree with me. I really wouldn't mind the new symbols as long as the normal members get one as well.
UNDEAD-Tomato Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Indeed it is. It is really sad that we don't have an symbol. 
LuckyKoneko Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
the only reason why I get pissed-off at this is because it's all over the website. DA is to make artists equal, so why discriminate non-premium members all over the website? I don't mind the other profile-only features that Premium members have and non-premium members don't, but the username symbol is really important.
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