Are you referring to how ships look in the list views at the left.
The "finished designs", yes. But probably also in the encyclopedia. (I hope to eventually move the small icon at the top left into the actual encyclopedia text and make it a bit bigger.)
Are you suggesting to have slots/parts visible in there as well?
How about identifying ships by the player given name and or other stats, such as the role the player has assigned or the primary weapon systems?
That requires players to give all their ships unique and memorable names, and would require players to know and use the names given to designs by other players. What "stats" would be adequate to identify ships isn't clear, and I suspect there aren't any for many cases. What is the "primary weapon system" in the general case also isn't clear, and doesn't cover cases with no logical "primary" weapon.
What I meant is, that in the main image it's not necessary to have slot images located at specific, matching parts on the ship, they could just as well be located at the border of the image.
Having part icons be arranged along the top and bottom of the ship icon with the hull in the background could work.