Paragon's new logo and an interview with Mr. X - Simeone
It's was already some time ago we held the competitiont for the new logo. The one that got picked has been introduced slowly on the site and other medias, but we are getting there. Now we have the finalized version(s) of the new logo, on which we prefer the black and white version the most. They are also available on the site for anyone to download.
I asked the creator of the new logo to tell us a bit about the process he went through when creating the new logo, and also other topics such as how to become a better designer. So below is the interview with Mr. X , Simeone, the creator of Paragon's new logo. Enjoy.
First of all, tell us something about yourself
Roughly speaking i’m a modern Cassandra (a designer, n.d.r.) born in the country of pasta, pizza and mandolino approximately 35 years ago. Or a nerd with some artistic taste, if you prefer.
All nerds are indeed fond of videogames and yes i wasted so much money on coin-ops that i could have bought a car, perhaps…But it was soooo good to finish Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Space Ace on max difficulty level.
Now… I tried to put a limit to such a passion but i don’t think that having played Starcraft Broodwar in e.Sports United and WoW scoring several top 10 world kills on bosses (plus a tremendous amount of time spent on D2 and L2) means that i respected it. My bad.
Nowadays i’m into communication design, developing brands and corporate images for my clients and also acting as an external advisor, tweeting interesting (i hope) stuff about Design, Technology and Marketing, snowboarding and clubbing whenever i can and slowly paying back the bank loan i used to buy my brand new house.
Why did you decide to take part in Paragon's logo competition?
Well…The only nub hunter you have in guild (Geru, gangstah of “Team WINland”) one morning catches me on Facebook and starts flooding me with compliments saying how godly i am at Design and that he was, is and will be the #1 fan of all my works (it’s true, i have the screens!) bla bla bla etc. and then links me the contest for the new Paragon’s logo.
The bitch also adds that i should have taken part because any entry from me would have been 100% full of win. Meh…
Now…I think you can all agree on the fact that a big phat “NO” to a friend in such a situation (especially when you already have a truckload of things to do) makes you feel a lil bit…You know. So i had to promise him i’d have looked into it and eventually design something, if I had the time.
And well…I always ask myself for who/what i’m wasting my time. Geru and Team WINland are yes enough of a reason, but then i saw more people i’ve played with (the folks from [email protected] Nether and my GM in [email protected]) and i definitely decided that i was putting my time in a good cause.
What tools (hardware / software) did you use to design Paragon’s logo?
PC (Vista U64), I7 as processor with 12 gigs of RAM.
2x GTX 285, 2 monitors (1x 24”wide, 1x 17” 4:3), Logitech G15, Logitech G9 and an Intuos 4 wireless tablet.
Software: Adobe Illustrator (CS5).
Sketching: Canson XL A4 100%recycled paper and a Mont Blanc Leonardo Sketch Pen.
Music: chillout during the iconographic research and brainstorming, ASOT & TATW when i had to draw (both sketching and on pc).
Tell us about your suggestion, which ended as the new Paragon logo?
I can’t deny the fact that i’ve used the very same process I usually follow at work. This means a super extended brief (and it’s been a luck that Xenophics was free that Friday morning to have such a long talk), then an intensive iconographic research, then brainstorming and finally doing some sketches. Last but not least the painful step of removing all the unnecessary “concepts”.
Let’s get it started: all the words written in the announcement post actually help but not as you might think. Some of them are just overlaying, while others may have very distant meanings (and some of them not even good – f.e. relentless) when translated in other languages. What really gave me an idea of what it should have been was this:
“but also be something we can build our brand on”;
I won’t get into the entire research process, i’ll just say that when you design a brand you design its principles, philosophy…Its world. And then you “compress” it into a symbol, an emblem.
So, I had to look at your very own “soul” to identify what could represent you.
First: you are a Finnish only guild. This actually brings strong implications in the design process, because it has to be something finnish, that has nothing to share with other cultures, something you guys can recognize yourself (and no one else) in.
Second a.k.a commercial reasons: you guys feel like being many positive “things” (just check the bunch of adjectives you pulled out for the briefing), and these “positivities” are real.
Still you play computer games. Genre: Fantasy.
How about a dragon? I mean, we are talking about Fantasy afterall and the dragon is the king emblem…
No. The dragon isn’t a real animal, and is not even used as a “container” for all the adjectives you used to describe yourselves. You have to use something that really exists and that is seen without misunderstandings as such a container.
So, all these concepts applied to “people” actually might lead the mind towards an animal that is actually used to identify heroic, epic, notable, trustworthy, illustrious actions or people (Richard the LionHeart f.e.); also, as the majority of fantasy-related products (books, games, movies etc) currently take alot of inspiration from the middle ages, we are safe to think that we can identify our “avatar” with something that is considered exceptional in the general belief of this historical period: the lion.
But there’s more to take into account…A nice coincidence i’d say. If you actually take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finland you’ll notice an original coat of arms: a lion holding a sword. Great, more fantasy based on reality. Seems like it’s part of your culture, your country, your soul. Obviously its shape and colors are a bit…Outdated, so we’ll proceed with something more modern and minimalist.
The activity of design is basically “put all you can” and then “remove all you can”.
I sketched a lot and started cutting off all the details in excess, leaving it to the lines and shapes that actually give you the idea of a lion. It also looks almost like a “P”, and it’s not a case.
We got the crude emblem, how about polishing it a bit? Maybe some colors? Well, when you design an emblem…No matter what, it has to work B&W, period.
Why? Tell me how you’re going to print it if some support can only work in B&W. This is just one of the many reasons. But ye, definitely some color injection is needed. But also some sort of “container” that emphasizesit. An oval looks good, also considering the font we’re oriented to use.
A metal can be the right choice, but a light one like aluminium: it does its job amazingly. Indeed we could have used different “materials” but honestly... Paragon doesn’t embody properties typical of plastics nor carbon-fiber, so a light, elegant and sleek metal was the way to go.
At this pointwe’re still missing a “main” color... Time to inject one more thing that belongs to Finland: the cobalt blue of the cross in the country flag.
It seems you are known in the netgaming scene, did you design other stuff?
(click to see a sneakpeek of SK Gaming's styleguide)
I’m oriented to think that it’s still my masterpiece, even compared to other things i recently did. But it took a tremendous amount of time, compared to yours (roughly 3+ months to reach the perfection of its shapes and proportions).
One nice thing i remember is that when we were realizing the TV commercial i recall Intel’s product marketing manager asking me if we had a styleguide to follow in order to correctly use our logo in the commercial and to mail it in the case of “yes”… Imho he was thinking we had none, that’s why he then replied with “not even at Intel we have such a detailed styleguide”. Pwnt.
Making Intel GmbH feel like they’re a company that has a less developed brand and styleguide than a bunch of nerds playing videogames is priceless. Everything else, use your Mastercard.
Legacy site banner
Years later i felt that my WoW experience would have been better if i did something else for my guild instead of wiping them with the world famous “Dragonwipe” by blinking away at 30% instead of shielding on Kil’Jaeden and much more.
So there goes a little contribution to the bunch of horny nerds i loved the most, The Legacy on Mazrigos.
In 2004-2005 i did the drafts and the main styleguide for PLAY.it, a multigaming sponsored team with only italian players (Stermy and ForresT were in it), and probably the detail that most remember is the robot i designed and then rendered. We called it “Gargees” (a word that players were used to say it at the end of victorious matches). I’ve been told that even Fatal1ty once said it but i don’t recall what stop of the Painkiller World Tour it was nor in what situation.
And could even go back to 2002, e.Sports United (this name rings a bell only to super old schoolers). Let’s say that i just helped around with some applications of corporate image, nothing big. All the credits for e.ddy (our lovely robot) and the general styleguide and many many things should go to Conrad Grabis a.k.a. eSu.Seki.
There has been some talk that the logo is just a rip off from Ensidia's, you 100% sure you didn't just steal Ensidia's logo?
I’ve been reading about it.
I think that Eoy saying (in a very professional way and with a logical explanation) that their logo is meant to be dragon’s wings and me saying we got a lion’s head…Cuts off the discussion, period.
Please note that i’ve been very very short (even if it seems a wall-of-text) explaining how i crafted your emblem some lines above but i absolutely have no problem in extending the explanation and bringing the discussion on a completely different floor.
I could have talked about the philosophic investigation that uses design methods to investigate divergence, convergence, sustainability and articulation to gain key insights or essential truths, the truths that lead me in saying the lion’s head that vaguely resembles as a “P” is an incredibly proper choice (among many others) for Paragon.
More or less we could have a conversation about everything that could be made without limiting the variety of possible futures/solutions/features that are discussed. Honestly, how many people do you think can handle such a discussion?
11 years of experience in this field plus a MD in Communication Design with Brand and Corporate Image as specialization are indeed a tough match for people who yet didn’t graduate in University.
Oh and btw one funny thing i’ve read, is the one that speaks about an “evil hand”.
God, this is a creative one! Let’s look into it: to be a hand, it must have a palm, some fingers and most of all an opposable thumb, otherwise it’s a claw/paw/talon. Or at least it should “give” the idea of a palm, of fingers and of an opposable thumb.
It should also give the idea of being able to perform gross and fine motor skills (picking up big or small stuff in other words, a.k.a. grasping) otherwise can’t be fully considered as a hand.
Now, those that are supposed to be index/middle and ring fingers actually look like them. Fine. The palm…Well let’s say it’s beyond “minimal” and still gives the idea of a palm…Even if it’s ¼ the size of the already named fingers (nice proportions?).
But what about the thumb? Try to crunch your right hand and look at its profile. Look where the thumb ends near your index finger and then look at the emblem. Where is the angle that metacarpals and proximal phalanges are supposed to form, in order to give the idea of grasping hands?
There’s none. Ouch. So it can’t be a hand. Let’s say it’s a super scary, stylish, modern etc claw. Great. Then what is that opposable thumb-like shape doing there?
Really, this evil hand that looks ALSO like a claw has a super small palm (a.k.a. not able to grasp enough “stuff”), super long and knife-themed index/middle/ring fingers (typical of horrible monsters idd) and a grasping-like, still-primordial, not-yet-evolved, opposable thumb, and overall the proportions between all these elements are not even balanced enough to be like Predator’s hand?
I wonder what you guys smoke.
Any words for the other designers in gaming world - how to become good?
This decade is mainly marked by crowdsourcing and we are slowly reaching the saturation of Design outputs in terms of quality. Top “crafts” are pretended yet less and less money is willing to be paid. You need to be prepared.
Because Illidan speaks the truth in this case.
My suggestion is to heavily specialize yourself. And with heavily i really mean having no life during the preparation process. You guys need to be the best in what you do. Always. Because we live in a binary world.
How well would you feel if you can’t get into any studio because there’s someone more “talented” and prepared than you that is being picked all the times, with you ending up f.e. working in a mall because you need money to live and pay the bills? Not much. I can place a bet on you feeling like having wasted 5 years of your life.
Instead of playing World of Warcraft go master the entire CS suite and the infinity of techniques in Ps Ai ID Ae etc. Dive in all the design sites you can find through Stumbleupon and Twitter and gather all the tricks, be hungry for knowledge, and practice, practice, practice.
Never let anyone park his feet on your head. Make others ask, trust and respect you.
And always remember: no pain, no gain.
Any place where you’d like to continue your career as a Designer?
Let’s say i love to work for those who truly innovate, as the main task of every good Designer is to create new languages, new behaviors, new worlds. This said, FutureBrand of McCann World Group is the most juicy name in my eyes.
Other than them i’d promptly apply for 2Advanced Studios or either Fantasy Interactive (as ACD / CD), both pioneers in creating a more rich, colorful and animated internet experience since 2000.
And well... Why not…Blizzard would be a very interesting company to work for, but i didn’t find any appropriate opening for my profile yet. Even if i have no experience in the videogame market :D