Shot Out Of A Cannon

By January 16, 2014 Uncategorized One Comment

Logo time! Over the past few months I’ve been working with local art director Dave Avis on putting together a logo for Prologue Games and we’re finally ready to show it off! Even though I’ve been through the process a few times for other clients it was a new experience all over when it came to finding something for Prologue Games. Throughout the entire effort, Dave was extremely patient and proactive to address any potential issues and deliver a logo I’m very excited to share.

False Starts

When we first met, I did not come in with a firm vision for what the logo should look like. I was “that guy” who asked for “something cool” but didn’t know what I wanted. I knew that we should have a clean, professional font and stay away from fantasy tropes that might make the word “Prologue” sound too stiff or formal. (no curly script fonts, open book, etc) We talked through a few creative concepts and decided to start with more emphasis on the font rather than a graphic. After a few days a some concepts came back with perfectly fine ideas but nothing that set my heart racing. They followed my initial request of clean fonts and minimal icons but as you can see, they just weren’t quite what I was expecting.

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Within a few hours Dave immediately followed up and asked to go back to the drawing board. He knew that this wasn’t the direction we should go and wanted to take another crack at it.

Back to the drawing board

Since we were essentially starting over, Dave gave me a sneak peek into his sketchbook from a very early stage so we could make sure to stay aligned. After all, the direction I provided was extremely loose and could end up in a thousand different places. This allowed us to keep a very tight creative feedback loop and minimize any dead ends that often come up with a vague creative request. The next round immediately got me excited to keep leaning into the process.

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While still very rough, it reinforced that we were definitely on the same mental track. Prologue is the root of a story. It gives direction, purpose, and insight to what is about to follow. It often sparks curiosity and starts to form some initial questions that will hopefully be answered in the story. As he walked through these sketches with me, I knew that we were aligning even more on what kind of message we wanted to lock into. While it was tough, we picked 3 top ideas and went through a refining round of sketches.

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At this point you may be asking “what’s the deal with the duck and the cannon?” I think it’s a just great case of serendipity. We had discussed the idea that Prologue propels you forward into a story and during the sketches late one night, Dave was mostly being silly and added a duck in there for fun. I had been secretly hoping we could pull a mascot out of this process somehow and seeing the two together just struck a chord with me. It doesn’t have a *huge* amount of logic behind choosing a duck vs anything else but does consistently get people to do a double take and ask “why the duck?” Even if it’s slightly silly, anything that helps this logo stick out from the crowd is a victory in my book. I still wanted to see one more step of the road sign and bard/actor sketch (above) but after the sketches above I just couldn’t hold out any longer and locked into the duck.

Home stretch

After settling on a concept, we started to refine the graphic. Questions remained around the level of detail and clarity at different sizes. Everything looks great on a big monitor but would it still hold up on a business card or t-shirt?

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We agreed that the logo would not usually be less than 2″ but could still hold up at even 1″ if needed. In addition, we started exploring alternate versions that were more square for situations where we didn’t want to use the entire cannon setup.

Next up was the fun stuff – Fonts and Colors! I provided a few references around the web for inspiring color palettes and font family and was pumped to start seeing everything come together. We went through several rounds of color combinations, starting with a wide palette then narrowing down to a minimum for simpler printing and black and white treatments.

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I loved the Gotham font and how the clean approach sat nicely with the playful graphic. In addition, Dave provided another option in a similar family to see how it sat.

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The Gotham was awesome but the Mohave Bold had a fun quality and seemed to sit well in an arc over the cannon so we decided to move forward with that setup. At the same time several other lockup options gave us lots of fun ways to lay out this theme.

Finally we were down to settling on colors. I had an extremely hard time with this one as I loved almost all of the options so far. Since I was stuck, I decided to take a few printouts around to folks I trusted and got consistent feedback that while they were all great, the red consistently grabbed their attention.

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In one last “oh crap” moment we realized we hadn’t fully explored how the logo would work on different colored backgrounds. There was a lot of white space in the graphic that would need special treatment to work properly on a different color. As usual, Dave proactively brought this up and offered several great options. We could build the logo as a “sticker” with a defined border and white background or provide a more illustrated edge to the graphic to handle a wider range of backgrounds.

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(note the different ways to include the white stroke around the cannon, shadow, or both)

Finally we had our logo! Dave packaged up all the assets and provided a great reference of colors and construction for me to use as I needed.

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I can’t say enough good things about working with Dave. He was responsive, proactive, and trustworthy with his hours. When we encountered issues, we would work through them together and find a solution that fit my needs without letting me make poor decisions.

At this point I’m playing with layouts for initial business cards (GDC is right around the corner!) and I’m excited to update my site in the next few months. I expect the brand identity for Prologue Games to grow over the coming year but this process has laid a great foundation for us to build on. My brain is already spinning around the ways we could creatively use the logo during an opening credits scene. (imagine our mascot in different costumes/settings based on the genre of the game)



Overall, I highly recommend working with an external partner when going through graphic treatments like this. I would not have been able to break out of my own limited set of ideas without an experienced, creative person to take my jumbled ideas and turn them into something great.

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