Nov 14 2011

It’s a banner day!

There is a famous biblical passage that reads: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Whether or not that’s true in general (spoilers: it isn’t), it is certainly true in the case of my request for a new banner for the blog. I have been overwhelmed with the level of creativity and generosity demonstrated by the readers here, and you have the most sincere thanks that I can muster from my godless, soulless core. I have boiled down the multitude of submissions to 5 of my favourites:

#1 – From T. Pilser

The watermark in the background is famed black freethinker Frederick Douglass.


#2 – From Stephanie Zvan

I like the use of the sickle as the C.

#3 – From Morby

Clean, elegant, and the 3D version of the fist is very cool.

#4 – From vacuumslayer

Certifiably badass. Vacuumslayer has offered to customize it a bit, so I may try to work the quote in there somewhere.

#5 – From William

I thought a banner with my face on it would creep me out, but I like the cartoon version of me.

It’s a tough decision, so I am going to throw it open to a vote. In the comments section, please indicate your preference. Whichever design gets the most votes will become the new banner for the website.

Once again, my deepest gratitude to everyone who participated in this contest. I was certainly not expecting such an outpouring of top-notch design and creativity. You all make me proud to be doing this.

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  1. 1
    Andrew G.

    Your image links for #1 and #2 seem to go to gmail and not to somewhere that actually works.

  2. 2

    1 and 2 aren’t appearing for me, for some reason, but I vote 3 or 5.

  3. 3

    I hope I have fixed the problem of the 2 missing images.

  4. 4

    They all look fantastic. I don’t have a vote, but I’d suggest offering copies of your CD to all these finishing.

  5. 5
    Thomas Lawson

    I’m kind of partial to the Golden Age of Freethought, so I like the Douglass one, but #3 has the pop a blog needs.

  6. 6

    my ranked preferences from most to least favorite:

    4, 5, 1, 2, 3

  7. 7
    RW Ahrens


    All of them look good, though.

  8. 8

    I vote for all of them–at one point, FtB were supposed to have the capability of rotating banners, like PZ still has over at his other (scienceblogs) location.

    For just one, I vote #1–best use of the “A”, and I like the Douglass background.

  9. 9
    Jenny Draper

    I like 2 and 4. Also, you should have picked a shorter quote.

  10. 10

    I really like 4.

  11. 11

    Hmm I think I’m gonna go with 1. The Hitchens quote is most legible on that one.

  12. 12
    John McKay

    I vote for #2.

  13. 13

    I vote #5. I really like the little caricature bit.

  14. 14

    #2 is the best by far

  15. 15
    Michael Swanson)


  16. 16

    Number 4 is amazeballs.

  17. 17

    I vote for 2 or 4… But they’re all really good, so I second the “rotating banners” wish.

  18. 18

    Number 1 for me. Love the A and love Frederick Douglas.

  19. 19


  20. 20

    #1 is very nice & stylish but the quote makes it too busy
    #2 is really distinctive, still a lot going on but nicely broken up
    #3 is also too busy but I like the adherence to the current colour scheme
    #4 is extremely nice but the words The & Manifesto need to stand out a bit more.
    #5 Looks really cool but again the quote makes it too busy.

    Overall, as good as the quote is, I think its just too long for a banner and I think that all 4 of the quote-enabled banners would benefit from its removal. Assuming, however, that the quote is viewed an essential component, the only one where it looks reanonably good is in #2 so that gets my vote

  21. 21


  22. 22

    My vote is for Number 4 as well – seriously great stuff.

    And another vote for those saying the quote is too long for a banner ;-)

  23. 23

    I like #2 the best. It is visually striking, the colors have enough contrast for it to still be easily readable, and it manages to look clean and simple even though there is actually still a lot going on visually.

  24. 24

    #2 (Stephanie Zvan) is my favorite, but #1 (T. Pilser) is also pretty cool.

  25. 25
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    #2. Classic communist style, both west and east, and it works in the quote in a consistent way.

    1 is easier to read, and I like the watermark, but the quote being left-ragged is just messy.

    3 & 5 are too busy. The cartoon you is very cute; perhaps you could use it elsewhere.

    4 looks beautiful, but also looks like a promo for a cool horror movie.

  26. 26

    I like #5. The caricature reminds me of the smiling, strong workers of the collective on the propaganda posters. Just like you toiling away for the good of the people.

  27. 27
    lurker in a strange land

    #1 with #4 as a close second.

  28. 28

    I definitely vote for the second one (as it works best with the quote, I think, and I love the quote, too).

  29. 29

    #4 looks pretty sweet.
    #1 just looks awesome though.

  30. 30

    I like #4, but make the letters pop a bit better, then add small watermark of Frederick Douglass… like you really wanted artistic commentary.

  31. 31


  32. 32

    #3 as well. #5 looks nice, but the quote is just too much.

  33. 33


  34. 34
    Tisha Irwin


  35. 35

    I would absolutely love 2 if the quote were in a more-readable font.

    If that’s not doable, 1.

  36. 36
    Izzy Leonard


  37. 37

    Love 5!

  38. 38
    Simon B

    4 or 5

  39. 39

    Do you need to pick one? Or can you cycle therough them all?

  40. 40

    Big fan of 3. LOVE the pop of the 3D fist. Only minus for me is how Hitch’s name stands out too much.

    If not 3 then 1.

  41. 41


  42. 42

    I like 1 best, but they’re all good.

  43. 43

    I have to be straight-up honest here, Crommunist, and tell you that I don’t like any of these. I think they’re all too cluttered. But if you force me to choose, I vote for #2. It’s the cleanest of the images, imo, and I like the colour and font schemes.

  44. 44

    #4, because, and I couldn’t agree more, it’s “[c]ertifiably badass.”

  45. 45
    Johnny Vector

    4, all the way.

  46. 46
    Lauren Ipsum

    2, then 4, although I prefer rotating banners.

  47. 47
    Soulless Realist

    This is a tough one because they’re all good. But my vote is on #3!

  48. 48

    #4 or #5, in that order of preference :)

  49. 49


    I think you should do an instant run off election. =P

    I really think you should rotate them, or randomize them, the way PZ did (does?).

  50. 50
    Brian Lynchehaun

    Ranked preference (all within the ‘awesome’ range ;) ):

    3, 1, 5, 4, 2.

  51. 51

    Hm, all are great, but in order of my preference:

    1. Quote is most readable, and Frederick Douglass is four dozen kinds of badass.

    3. Colors are clean and awesome, and I agree that the fist is great in this one.

    2. I also like the colors and sickle “C” in this one.



  52. 52

    In order of preference:


  53. 53


  54. 54
    Wren, a Tru Hoppist

    I’m split between 1 and 3.


  55. 55

    2 or 5.

  56. 56

    My vote goes to #2.

  57. 57

    In order, my choices would be 1, 4, 3, 2, 5, though any of them would be excellent choices.
    My thoughts on each:
    1) High contrast, clear font, and the inclusion of Frederick Douglass is a nice bonus. Incorporating the ‘A’ in the fist into the blog name helps draw your eye to the fact that there’s a letter there, and isn’t just the standard Black Power fist
    2) I want to like this one more than I do. I really like the C/fist, and the whole Soviet Russia feel, but the combination of the color scheme and the font make it difficult to read, and grating to my eyes.
    3) Clean and well-designed. It’s the little details that make it shine – the slight gradient of the background, the 3D shading on the fist, the use of a serif font, the use of shadows where the letters hang over the background. I’d try to find a way to add a dash before Hitchen’s name, to show that the quote is by him, and not the blog.
    4) I like the combination of the normal, serif font and the ‘signature’. I think this is the ‘artsy-est’ of the banners, and I like the overall appearance of it.
    5) I like the layout, the cartoon, and the color scheme (the darker red and the gradient helps reduce the shock that Stephanie’s gives) – I just don’t like the chosen font.

  58. 58

    3 is my favorite, though I think you need a more thorough stylistic overhaul.

  59. 59

    #4…by a mile.

  60. 60

    I would go with number 1, it has a certain stoic class to it. That being said, I would like number 2 more if it was just a little bit darker over all, everything is just a little too bright for my tastes.

    I also like number 3 but I think it has too much of a “Red Shoe Diaries” feel to it. Which, while being perfect for soft-core porn, doesn’t really fit with the blog.

  61. 61

    Oops, I meant number 4 for that “soft-core porn” comment. No offense intended to the makers of number 4, or the makers of number 3 which may have felt horribly offended by my mistake.

  62. 62
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    5 and then 1

  63. 63


  64. 64

    #2. This is gorgeous and eye-catching, and the typeface is unusual but still very easy to read. Immediately brought to mind Soviet propaganda posters from the first half of the 20th century in its graphic elements and bold use of color. There’s just something extra special about this one…

  65. 65
    Daniel Schealler

    #5, definitely

  66. 66

    #1 or #2

  67. 67

    4, all the way.

  68. 68

    I like number 2 and number 4. I can’t really put one ahead of the other.

  69. 69


  70. 70

    It’s a tough choice, but put me down for # 1, please.

  71. 71

    I like 4 best.

  72. 72
    Herr Mann

    I like #4.

  73. 73

    #4 for sure

  74. 74
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    I like #4.

  75. 75

    #2! Use #2!

  76. 76
    Manly Bowler

    5, 2, 1, 4, 3. To be honest, instead of banner 3 I only see a message that it has been deleted, so there’s that. :-(
    You might want to fix it.

  77. 77


  78. 78

    #1, got to love Douglas.

  79. 79
    Sean Boyd

    #2 gets my vote. Using the fist as a hammer is perfect.

  80. 80
    theophontes, Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane Wielding Tardigrade


    But I also like the cartoon in #5. Perhaps you could use it as your avitar (though it would be fun to add a little red star to your hat)

  81. 81

    #2, definitely. The semblance to old Russian propaganda posters is AWESOME. The Frederick Douglass (#1) is a nice touch, but the black&white just isn’t as eye-catching and dynamic as #2.

  82. 82

    Gotta do a #2

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