Epic Logo, Epic Challenge

8 min read
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By TheRyanFord
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Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ryan Ford, and I am the Creative Director here at deviantART. In my position, I manage a global team of extremely talented designers, and collectively we are responsible for designing most everything that represents deviantART in any way, shape, or form. This includes the site layout, deviantWEAR, and of course our brand.

Over the past few months, we've been working on a rebranding of deviantART, and you may have seen the fruits of our labor slowly taking shape throughout the site in a variety of forms. I'd like to take this opportunity to get you, the community, involved in the understanding of what we went through to create this new logo concept, what it represents, and to also present a challenge. Read on for more...        
The New Logo, Explained

A lot of thought went into this new logo concept, and there are many layers of logic and design theory present in its construction and execution.

Emblematic structure
In my opinion, the best logos are the ones that feel official. This can be obtained through a variety of means (including some of the methodologies explained further on in this article), but the best way to get that "official" feel is to ensure high craftsmanship in the execution of lines, lack of special effects that could distort the quality of the mark, and paying special attention to spacial relationships. We were very careful in the execution of the mark, and there was a ton of back and forth line drawing that occurred to ensure that every line was as perfect as we could make it.

A great logo is bold and isn't quiet. A logo doesn't have to scream at you, but it should exude a sense of confidence and be the center of attention as much as possible. The best logos ever made have been very bold, and this was intended to be no exception. Making a logo bold also ensures it will scale down to small sizes without any loss of visibility.

Based upon simple geometry
Simple shapes, such as the square, circle, and triangle, are key to ensuring an attractive symbol. The human eye, for whatever reason, prefers base geometric forms to squished or stretched ones. As such, the lines in this mark are based upon circles, triangles, and squares. Additionally, the mark is housed in a square enclosure.

One of the first things you learn as a designer is how the angle of lines can convey emotion. Horizontal lines imply a sense of calm and tranquility, and are reminiscent of the horizon line that the sun rises and falls from. Vertical lines imply a sense of strength and dominance, and are reminiscent of trees and buildings. Angular lines imply motion and excitement, and are reminiscent of the shape people take when they're running (among other things). To ensure this logo was more exciting than the previous one, we made use of angular lines.

Lines are reminiscent of retro culture (we're geeks, after all)
Atari, Sega, IBM. These are icons of true geekery. Using these icons of geekitude as examples, we aimed to convey a sensibility we are all familiar with. Yes, we're all artists, but we're all artists who use digital tools.

Familiar enclosure
Ever noticed our avatars? They are all essentially 50x50 icons, and their base shape is a square. We wanted to visually connect our logo to our avatars, which is partly why we chose the rounded square shape as an enclosure.

Familiar lettering
When we began this initiative, we had two options: 1) Design a completely new logo with an entirely new concept or 2) Design a new logo that had similarities to the old logo. Considering this community's attachment and familiarity with the typical "dA" mark, not to mention the fact that everybody refers to the site as "dA," it made sense to not reinvent the wheel and simply try to take the same old concept and give it a new outfit.

The old mark was imbalanced, and this made it difficult to use. It occupied a very misaligned space and felt squished, and this caused any method of using it to feel awkward. This new logo was designed to occupy a more geometric space, and as a result it's more versatile. Despite the mark being angled, the overall sensibility is balanced very well.

This is key in logo design. It is imperative to create a simple mark, thus ensuring it can be used in a wide variety of ways without watering down its recognizability and brand integrity. Simple shapes are easier to recognize, and are a quicker read for the average eye. Additionally, by keeping it simple we're able to ensure the logo, when printed or seen at small sizes, still retains its original integrity. Simplicity is also beautiful.

Typographic balance
The new typography was designed with balance in mind. I know the term "balance" has been repeated numerous times during this discourse, but it really is an important factor of all design. The new typography uses a common x-height and baseline, ensuring that the overall visible form of the logotype is equal on both the "deviant" side and the "ART" side. Considering that we've always know this site as deviantART (with ART being in caps) it wasn't reasonable to change the whole of the letterform to be all lowercase or all uppercase. So we decided to use a specialized small caps instead to help create this sense of balance we were aiming for. Considering the fact that the eye sees the shape of words and not the letters individually, I wanted to be sure that the shape of the word more or less created a visual straight line across its top (as opposed to the mountainous jump near the word "ART" that was present in the previous version).

Designed for print and web
A lot of designers don't take into account the fact that a logo, any logo, will be seen on both a website and on printed materials. The typography on our mark had to be legible in both cases, and as much as possible. A lot of attention went into the form of every letter to make sure they would scale up and down well, would print well, and also kept an even weight throughout every stroke.

Customization and originality
To create our typography, we began with a pre-existing font (though one that is not very prominent). We were careful in our selection of font, as we wanted it to convey a certain sensibility. The particular one we picked had a sense of techiness to it, which originates with the squared structure of every letterform. It is also highly legible and works great in body copy. From there we took a close look at every letterform and went through several rounds of customization, all with the intent of making every letterform as perfect as possible and also to modify the shape of every letter so we could conceptually "own" its appearance (i.e., make it look unique to dA). The end result was a logotype which looks unique to us and not just something somebody quickly typed out.        
The Challenge
            Now that you've read about what sort of thinking went into the creation of this new logo concept, I offer to you a challenge. There are those of you who have already thought up ideas for a new logo for dA, and those of you who have seen this new logo idea and know you can do better. To all of you I say, "bring it on."

Design a New Logo, A Better Logo, A Faster Logo
If you think you can make a better logo, I encourage you to do so. That's all part of the challenge, you see.
  • Design a new mark and a new logotype that meets all of the requirements we set for ourselves (as explained above).
  • The logo design must be in black only. No gradients, no special colors. Just a black logo on a white background.
  • Submit your entry to the Epic Logo Category!
  • You've got 2 weeks to show us your stuff! The challenge begins right now, and ends October 14, 2008 at 11:59pm!
  • All entries will be judged by $liquisoft, $spyed, and a team of designers. However, there is no guarantee of a winner being chosen. If we don't see a logo that outdoes what we've already created, then we will continue rolling out this new logo.
Did I mention that if you win, you get $2,500?

Now get to it!        
© 2008 - 2020 TheRyanFord
anonymous's avatar
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alpha-power's avatar
alpha-powerStudent General Artist
DevArt logo by alpha-power  Here's mine 
TheRyanFord's avatar
TheRyanFordProfessional Interface Designer
Congrats, you're only a decade behind schedule.
alpha-power's avatar
alpha-powerStudent General Artist
xxPPGFanboy20xx's avatar
xxPPGFanboy20xxHobbyist Digital Artist
Question: did you made that logo?
TheRyanFord's avatar
TheRyanFordProfessional Interface Designer
I did.
W4t3rf1r3's avatar
W4t3rf1r3Student Traditional Artist
You know, this was a good idea. Maybe you should, I don't know, do this again and stop ignoring us?
Volt-The-Nightfury's avatar
Volt-The-NightfuryStudent Writer
"Considering this community's attachment and familiarity with the typical "dA" mark, not to mention the fact that everybody refers to the site as "dA," it made sense to not reinvent the wheel and simply try to take the same old concept and give it a new outfit."

I rest my case. You know what I'm here about.
mortimermcmirestinks's avatar
mortimermcmirestinksHobbyist General Artist
And then in 2014 they were all like "lol, tough, we're gonna give you a weird Z, screw you."
KuletXCore's avatar
KuletXCoreHobbyist General Artist
What happened here?
TheRyanFord's avatar
TheRyanFordProfessional Interface Designer
Old thing.
nonsense18's avatar
its funny to observe others... especially when you look at their behaviors, some people ar hungry for money, glory and pride.. but as i can see here, some people try to criticize others not knowing that they're trying to make a fool of themselves.. just be aware that i am one of the newbies here.. and one of the reason this website was created is due to human's love for art whether their professional or newbies, it doesnt matter.. as long as we have art its fine... its not called DEVIANT art for nothing...
hamidrezafaraji's avatar
Tanner28's avatar
BlueRobotDesign's avatar
BlueRobotDesignProfessional Interface Designer
Is there a place where you can see like runner up logos? I always find that kinda interesting.
KosmonautK's avatar
oh, you are issuing a clear invitation to the dance...
31d3r's avatar
carinhoo em! HUAUhauh
Cogitor's avatar
Is everyone on deviant art this immature?
OnceUponACurse's avatar
Aki is wondering...=/ is it too late to enter this one? I haven't been on for very long and the t-shirt contest is about over with out me having to enter it. TTATT

- Akito
highone's avatar
highoneProfessional Interface Designer
found a good one yet?
fabunbu's avatar
fabunbuHobbyist General Artist
me too i want to create a new logo for this great site!!!
fabunbu's avatar
fabunbuHobbyist General Artist
me too i want to cre
toa-shabak's avatar
toa-shabakStudent Filmographer
emm can i still join in this contest????
darkbrian88's avatar
can i still join this contest, i just saw this contest just now hope i can still join
anonymous's avatar
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