Sunday, January 20, 2008

Birth of a Logo

The bulk of this story was written about a month ago, while the mad dash to release Go!Zilla 5.0 was in full swing. I wrote this, and then saved it as a draft until after Go!Zilla's release and then promptly forgot to pulish it. Until now...


Here is the story of how a new logo is created. Or possibly it is the story of how my brain works when I'm using it to create a new logo.
In January 2008 Headlight Software (where I work) aquired the rights to Go!Zilla. A rival download manager that had been a major competitor for our own GetRight back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Go!Zilla had changed hands several times, and gotten itself tied up in the whole Spyware stuff. Over the past several years, the program had been neglected. It wasn't being maintained or updated. Then in 2007 the company that owned it went out of business and the web site vanished. In 2008 we purchased the rights to it and are in the process of resurecting our old rival.
In the past, Go!Zilla had used a lizard eye logo. Here are a couple logos the previous companies had used...

To me, these both look like high school sports banners (Maybe there's a town somewhere called "Zilla"). The 2nd one is much better than the first, but, uh, no thanks. (There's a school in Bangladesh called "Bogra Zilla" (thanks wikipedia).)

Anyway, looking at those, we thought "Lizard Eye." Ok. That's where we started...
My brother, Michael, had sent that over as a placeholder logo he was using on the toolbar.
I looked around and found the lovely "Webdings" eye image.
I love webdings and windings. Go Microsoft!!! Here it is in all it's glory: Webdings Character code: 0x4E.

It didn't take me long to realize the a mirror image of the webding makes the reflection 'wedge' look sort of like a "G." I must not have saved anything before realizing this. In any case the next version I had was this:

This is still obviously the webding with the colors tweeked a bit, that 'red eye' as part of the reflection and a little extra piece on the border of the iris to indicate a "G".
My next Idea was to re-purpose the globe from the GetRight Logo as the pupil of the eye. This would bring the logo closer to the "GetRight" frame of mind, and keep some of the 'eye' aspects of the old logo. It also provides a cool "O" to the "G" which seemed cool. Here was the next version:
And the next. With some different colors and shading:
I had sent these to Mike, and he sent this back as a possible direction to move. He appropriately called this file "gozilla-mutilated.png"

But his idea got me here:
At this point, I began to worry that the long and narrow football shaped logo may not scale well when working with 32x32 or 16x16 squares. It was somewhat at a diagonal, but it was a concern. So I tried seeing what it would look like in just a round eyelid. I just gave this a shot, and I liked what I saw.

Mike wasn't sold on this direction yet. But I said I would work on it some more because I thought it would scale better.
When I pulled the iris out of the eye, I suddenly noticed flaws in the source. The iris which was also the "G" wasn't exactly round. If I was going to continue with this circular logo, then the "G" would have to be a circle.
NOTE: It is entirely possible that it is MY OWN FAULT that the iris wasn't round. Maybe when I pasted in the webding it was BOLD or ITALIC or some other thing the created these flaws in the first place. I'm not going to bother going back to see.

In any case, my next step was to re-create the iris and pupil of the eye and then stick it back into the existing football shaped 'eyelid' or not, as we saw fit.
I started this in Illustrator (which is the correct program to use when doing things like this) but I'm not ver good at Illustrator, so after a while, I gave up and went back to PhotoShop.
The next thing I came up with was this:

This is almost exactly the same as the above image, but the "G" is perfectly round now.

After showing this to Mike, he sent back another idea, done in his own style of quality graphic design.

Which got me here. I knew I was close now.. I sent back a flury of variations on the new logo.
This one was very close to the final, but with a smaller gloe/pupil.Again, but with a slightly larger globe than the final.An off-center globe. To look look more like an eye. But I didn't like it and didn't persue this direction farther.I cut down the wedge a bit on this one. This one is nearly final but the contrast on the globe was too strong when shrinking the logo down small.
And here we are!!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a logo is born. Or, at least, how one of MY logos was born.