A Logo To Show (Start To Finish)
I sometimes forget to ask permission to display work that I’ve done. Sometimes people don’t want you to show the work around, either, so that makes it difficult if you’re trying to get NEW work and you can’t show your latest work. I assume it’s okay after the work has been officially released, but when the work you do might not be printed or used for a year or two, it makes an artist’s life difficult if you want to do things the right way.
I remembered to ask this time and got an okay to put it on my blog.
It was for a comics company called Atomic Rex Entertainment. I dealt with one of the owners (I believe), Marco Lopez. I wish all of the people I’ve designed logos for made it this painless. Below is kind of a step by step/start to finish account of what went into the thinking of the design.
The basic idea that they wanted a circular design with an atomic mushroom cloud in the shape of a t-rex roaring. I drew a couple of EXTREMELY quick drawings, this being one of them. I just needed a basic shape to vectorize over.
It started out as something like this, just using the pen tool. I did one side of the blast and then flipped it to make the design symmetrical. You can combine the shapes in Illustrator to make it one piece.
I did the cloud and dinosaur in pieces. It’s always a little difficult to know whether or not what you’re doing will look decent. I used the pencil tool a little here to make things go quicker. As you can see the T-Rex and the mushroom cloud were separate shapes.
The next step was trying to work in the circle. I started with a solid circle behind the cloud. I was trying to find colors that would work… make the logo ‘pop’ a little. I wasn’t happy with the colors/gradient, so I did what you do in that situation. I just moved on and keep chuggin’ along figuring it will work itself out.
Next was going to be another ‘ring’ that would ‘frame’ the type. After a quick look at several different fonts, I went with this one. It’s bold and readable. I also wasn’t going to create or alter a font for this, since I was putting the bulk of the effort into the ‘art’ side of it. I didn’t figure I would need anything fancy with the center illustration. That would ‘sell it’. As you can see, the type at this point was a ‘wrap-around’ and all on a single (bottom) arc.
I switched the type to 2 lines of arching letters (“Atomic Rex” and “Entertainment”) and that worked better. The ‘Atomic Rex’ part is more important and I made that part a little larger than the other line. A common thing to use to separate the lines is to use ‘bullets’ (tiny solid circles to divide words). Instead of just doing that, I got the idea to use a Fallout Symbol as the ‘bullets’. I had done the symbol recently for a Watchmen drawing for the San Diego Comic Convention Souvenir Book. It was a sqaure shape before. All I had to do was put the black part of that onto a yeller circle (yes, I said “yeller”). The lettering was now red with the black & yellow outlines. I was just trying different colors that might work. You can see the red letters blends a little bit with the red cloud/dino. That’s a bad thing.
Then I got the idea to move the Fallout Symbol to the center (and overlap the cloud over it). It just fell into place after that (Getting rid of the blue makes it far less gawdy, too). The base of the explosion was covering one of the 3 ‘pie wedges’ of the Fallout Symbol, so I flipped it upside down. No one will notice unless they work in the nuclear field. It appeared upside down in the Watchmen series, also. I figure if Moore and Gibbons can do that, so can I. It’s possible the symbol WAS inverted back in the 80s given Moore’s penchant for meticulous research, but I’m not so sure.
Anyway, I used stars as the ‘bullets’. Stars are a big part of at least one major comics company logo, so it felt right. Then I just changed the letter color to white for maximum contrast. I didn’t put any ‘bevels’ or anything on the letters. If this is small on a comic cover, it would just be overkill. I ended up sending 2 versions with a minor variation on the outline.
I was happy with it. I was planning on adding some more to it (like highlights), but they liked it ‘as is’, which is great. That only happens occasionally. It is a vector logo, so they can use it at any size they want and it’ll still be clear as a bell.
So there it is. The Atomic Rex Entertainment logo done by moi. Be on the lookout for it, as Lopez and company have a number of titles on the way to your local comic store.