Hero Conquest Logo Design Process
If you have seen any of my work, you might have guessed that I love to draw characters. What you might not know is that in addition to character design, I equally love logo design. When a project comes along where I get to incorporate both, needless to say, I’m stoked! Now if someone were to tell me I would get to design a logo with characters, and those characters happen to be superheroes…well, that’s what I’d refer to as a dream job!
For a while I’ve wanted to blog about how I go about designing a logo. I had so much fun with this one in particular (despite one major speed bump) that I had to share the process. So here’s a little insight into how I created the logo for Broken Bulb Game Studio’s newest social game, Hero Conquest. (It was originally titled Superhero Conquest, and I’ll explain the reason for the name change further on in the post.) You can find the link to the game here:heroconquest.com. Play it – it’s awesome!
First off, a little disclaimer: This is an abridged version of how I approach a logo design. I’ll try to cover the basic steps, but won’t go too deep into particular techniques of the software I use, Adobe Illustrator. There are plenty of tutorials on the interwebs on that subject. Of course, this is my way of designing a logo. It may not be the best way, but it has worked for me in the past.
I always start in Adobe Illustrator by typing the name or the product or service which will be represented on the logo. Then I ask myself, “What is the feeling I want this logo to evoke?” This logo is for a superhero game so I want to express the feeling of action and adventure, something bold and powerful. I then go through my list of fonts and pick out a few that sum up the emotion I want to convey. There is a very cool free software program I use to organize all my fonts into categories so I can weed out the fonts that won’t work for a particular style, which you can download here: http://www.ampsoft.net/utilities/FontViewer.php/
After I quickly jot down the names of the fonts I like, I assign them to the logotype in Illustrator. Here are some of my selections…
So I’ve picked out a bunch of cool fonts, but in most cases I prefer not to use a stock font. Instead, I usually try and modify it a bit by making a copy of the type and converting it to artwork by selecting: type/convert to outline. This will give you the ability to modify the type as you would any vector shape in Illustrator. You won’t be able to change the font or characters once converted to outline, so be sure to make a copy because you may need it. You can see in the sample below how I modified the original font (indicated in blue) by using a combination of the shear tool, pathfinder tool, shape tool, and pen tool.
With this logo, I wanted to try and incorporate the characters from the game. I thought it would be cool to use silhouettes of the heroes in strong action poses. I usually shy away from using clip art, but after doing an image search for iconic super hero poses, I found this awesome clip art set: http://bit.ly/OApDC7. At this point I am still doing mock ups, so it makes sense for me to save time by using the clip art poses with a few alterations. Then if the design is approved I can go back and design some original poses. It did take a few minutes to change some of the clip art to look more like the characters in the game using the same techniques I did in the last step with the typography.
Now that I have some type and a few character silhouettes, I mess around with their placement a bit. At this point I may design a few extra elements that I can work into the logo as well. This stage usually takes some time – just me moving things around until I’m happy with the layout, which never seems to come easy.
When I do finally end up with a design I like, I start the whole process over again and create about five or six different logos to choose from. At this point I’m not too concerned about color. I don’t want to influence the art director’s decision in case a particular color looks better. I only want to focus on the design. Here’s what I came up with…
After reviewing the designs, Broken Bulb’s art director picked the design she felt would best fit the game. We had to make some changes, and unfortunately one major change was eliminating most of the hero silhouettes for the logo. The reasoning was that most of the ads for social games are very small, and the characters weren’t easy to distinguish at the smaller size. In addition, the decision was made to give an italicized look to the logo so it could be better integrated into the game’s user interface, which is skewed at an angle. So, the necessary changes were made, color was added, and we ended up with something like this…
At this point everything seemed to be copacetic. We had the logo complete and started to integrate it into the game and marketing materials. However, what we didn’t foresee was that we would have to revisit the design yet again after we received a call from publishing giants Marvel and DC Comics informing us that the word “superhero” is a registered trademark jointly held by the two companies. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable when it comes to comic books, but I had never thought the word could be trademarked, and especially not jointly by two competing companies, but I digress… Back to the drawing board.
We decided to change the name of the game from Superhero Conquest to simply Hero Conquest. This posed a bit of a problem with redesign of the logo. The words Superhero and Conquest stacked so nicely on top of each other, and when the name was shortened it didn’t seem to look right. Up to this point everyone was really happy with the design, and even though I didn’t want to start over from scratch, I decided to look back at some of my earlier designs for inspiration and found the solution in one of the abandoned designs. I borrowed an artistic element I created earlier in the form of an atom with a few spinning particles. (I think. I was never much good a science, but I know it looked cool.) I combined the old design with the new, made a few more changes to the typography for good measure, and there you have it… the completed logo. Assuming, of course, that no one has a trademark the word, “hero.”
Oh, one last thing. In the beginning of this post I mentioned how cool it was to work on a logo featuring superheroes (or whatever the generic non-trademarked term for superheroes is), and I know the final version of the logo didn’t end up featuring heroes of any sort, so I’m ecstatic to inform you that I am currently working on new graphics for all the heroes and villains in the game, and Broken Bulb will be printing some large scale promotional items prominently featuring the logo with these characters. I will blog about those designs soon, but here is a rough sketch to tide you over.