Thank you for your helpful suggestions in the design brainstorming post.
I am very excited to present to the community the design I've been working on. The overall look and feel I'm going after is a warm and welcoming theme that reflects tabletop RPG gaming. It should capture the visual elements players are familiar with, striking a good balance between game manuals' renderings and the paper and pencil look.
please click on images for full resolution view.
As suggested by mxyzplk in the brainstorming post, the site design shouldn't be D&D heavy; we want our site to be more inviting to other RPG genres players. For the header artwork, a central piece of the overall design, I commissioned a very talented artist Dean Spencer. I asked him to create a header image that's a mix of traditional D&D and sci-fi genre. I'm very pleased with what he came up with.
I'm also subtly using dice as recurring visual elements throughout the site, as seen as the logo, accepted answer background and voting arrows.
When we switched to the new Beta theme recently, several users said that they missed the Sketchy look, which fit the RPG theme - I agree. The design for the main site has a paper/grid look, but it is not as hand-drawn style as the old Beta theme. So I decided it'd be appropriate that meta.rpg would have its own sketchy style. After all, meta is where we discuss and shape the main site.
I'm happy with the overall look and feel of the design. I think the main site's design captures the imageries found in most games' boxarts and manuals, and also retains the pencil and paper feel. The Meta theme captures this hand-drawn style even further.
If there are no major design changes, I'd like to start on the CSS conversion soon. I'd love to hear your feedback.