Friday, February 17, 2017

My (evolved) Logo. A story about Snowconesolid.

     Over the years as an independent game developer I have been constantly re-inventing myself over and over again. Improving my skill sets, learning how to create better quality graphics, mechanics and games and maturing as a developer. I created many different things over the years. Some forgotten,  some buried deep within my computers hard-drive among hundreds of unorganized folders and some stored in some of my older (completely broken) computer hard-drives, lost forever. Data and source files I created that will never be seen again.....

However, throughout alllllll these years there is one thing that has been with me since the beginning.... (Not of time, beginning of my journey into becoming a game developer that is)

      There is one thing that has appeared in nearly all my works. There is one stupid piece of art that I refuse to ever discard. One very important stupid piece of art that I am building everything around. I use this as my signature for my works. A way, for people to easily identify who the source is. A way for people to know that, "SAMER FREAKING KHATIB CREATED THIS!" 
(Whoah, calm down man, you're ego is showing again)

A stupid piece of art that is heavily associated with me. I IDENTIFY AS THIS STUPID PIECE OF ART!!!!

I'm talking of course about, my logo......
(Or mascot, icon, branding, etc, whatever the hell it is people call it. All those words are the same thing.)

Maybe you have seen it before.
(You probably have not, i'm not as famous as I think I am.) 
You know? That purple-blue-greyish cat/snail like thing?
(Honestly, I don't even know. After all these years, I still have no idea what it is or what I should call it....)

Yah! That one! Image above. That one right there!

     As a young boy I.....
(Wait, hang on a second.....)
As a young man I...
(Yeah, that sounds much better. Okay back to story time.)

     As a young man I mindlessly came up with this strange cat-like creature (now it looks more like a mouse to me). Sitting in my room at my desk with nothing but a wrinkled used piece of scrap paper and literally only 3 odd colored crayons (purple, blue, grey) at my finger tips, the start of something beautiful was about to happen. (I must of been really bored lol) I looked down at the paper after 5 minuets of random doodling and the Snowconesolid mascot was born. This "piece of art" was created with no purpose, no inspiration, no reference, no thought whatsoever. I looked down at the piece of paper and my response wasn't "what the hell is this?" but instead, my response was "woah! this looks pretty cool!"  

     When we are younger, we aren't as critical on ourselves or towards others. We don't look for the flaws in anything. As younger people, we just see things for what they are and how they appear and simply just accept them. It's easier to find enjoyment in even the simplest things at a younger age. This is why I loved it so much. The crappy stupid drawing. It was unique, original. It wasn't trying to be good art. It wasn't a planned idea that I just had to draw out. It wasn't trying to be anything else other than a silly little doodle on notebook paper. It was mine. It was me. It represented me. A person who enjoys to create things just for the hell of it. 

     I use to always draw as a kid. I still have hundreds of crappy childhood drawings all saved up in a plastic folder somewhere in my basement in a box that is probably full of cobwebs and dead spiders now. Even today, I often sketch on paper that is just sitting next to me. I have been drawing all my life. I enjoy drawing. It's a creative outlet and i'm sure millions of people would agree with this statement. So, out of all the doodles and so called "works of art"  I have made, why did I choose that weird purple mouse-like creature to represent me as an independent game developer? Because of the story behind it. The deeper meaning (oh no, he's getting all hipster again). Because of the reasons  I mentioned above. It's simple. It represents how much I truly do love creating things. Anything from sketches, to 3d models, to full games. Heck, even if a chef gave me a blob of beef to play with, I would probably just attempt to sculpt something out of it. (Okay, weird example). 

     I'm not the greatest artist. But that's the thing with art. You don't have to be. Anyone and everyone can be and already is an artist! Everything is art! (WARNING: Engaging full on hipster mode!)

     Anyway, back on topic. My mascot/logo thing is something that has been with me since I first started learning about creating games many many years ago.. As I mature and evolve as a person and game developer, so does my icon. I'd like to take a look back real quick and show how much this simple sketch has changed over the years...

INTRODUCING: The Evolution Of "Cat-Mouse-Slug-Creature" Thing! (Snowconesolid Mascot)

The Original! Born on used notebook paper... 
What a monstrosity... seriously...

The First 3D Version!
That is scary as hell now that I look back at this! This was also one of my first 3d models. So don't judge me. I was a total noobie...

The NEW 3D Version!
Now with even more polygons actual texturing. This was made a couple years after the one above. When I started to get better with 3d modeling.

The First Official Splash Screen!
Before, I would often place a 3d model of the mascot at the start of the game. But it looked off because it's just this 3d model floating around in the players face. Made no sense at all. So I decided, it's time to make an actual splash screen. Using the 3d model, I was able to create this 2d image of the mascot that gave it more defined lines and a more cartoon-ish look. The black outlines made it easier to look at. 

The Fuzzy-Washed-Out-Look!
This is the modern day version of the mascot I typically use now. It takes the cartoon-ish/child-like look from the previous one and makes it look a little older. More mature. It has a darker shadow behind it, washed out colors and a fuzzy border emitting from all around it. This version looks more edgy and cool. This version looks rock-n-roll.

The Corporate Look!
The mascot is now in black and white to give it more of a "serious" "corporate" style. The mascot's head is only visible now. From the eyes to the ears. The text only says "SnowConeSolid Productions" now. Instead of  "A Samer Khatib Game (Snowconesolid)

The Separate Colors Corporate Look!
The 3 main (and only) colors from the original mascot are separated now. I just thought it might be a cool idea?

And now, finally. After years of evolution. Years of re-inventing...
My final, sleekest, most professional looking version of the splash screen...

The Static Screen Look!
A very cinematic presentation. Simple black and white color scheme. Nice subtle shadow around the head of the mascot. Text has a nice dark outline. The center piece is layered on top of an animated static screen representing the player looking into their own TV or PC screen (or any screen really). The corners fade darker as they surround the edges of the screen (vignette) driving the users attention to the main logo....

I am personally very proud of this new version of my splash screen and love how it came out. Think I spent a little too much time on a splash screen even. But it was well worth it. My end goal was to create a more professional looking logo. One that's eye catchy, clean and recognizable. Something that somewhat stands out compared to other boring black and white splash screens. It's very me and fits my style. Suits me well if I must say! I worked.... really hard on this.
Not bragging honestly! I just really like my own logo... I don't have a big ego! Please! Believe me!!! Why am I still typing in bold italics!?!

Also, I made different color variations which are also quite lovely to look at if I must say so myself!

     And that, is how my logo came to be what it is today...

     I think this was probably the longest post I have ever written here on the blog. Maybe even pointless. But I just wanted to share my thoughts and personal story on the topic of icons/logos/mascots/branding (again all a bunch of words that mean the same thing.) 

If there is one thing that you could take away from this post (you don't have to listen to this advice of course) - Make sure there is some kind of story behind your logo. Some kind of deeper meaning to it. What makes it interesting? Why does your logo/mascot/brand/icon (why do I keep typing this!?) represent you?