MAKING MONSTROUS: Designing the Logo
Hello! I’m Amber Seger the graphic designer and project manager for MONSTROUS!
Kyle and I had collaborated on a few projects prior to the founding of Cloud Curio, and every time I worked with him it was such a joy! Kyle brought so much creative energy and humor to what we worked on that it was a no-brainer for me to invite him to be a founding member of Cloud Curio.
When he pitched MONSTROUS to the team we naturally fell into our roles for the project, mine being the graphic designer and project manager. It would take a whole blog series to go into all the project management aspects for MONSTROUS, so for today I’m going to focus on the graphic design part of my role.
I’ve done plenty of logos throughout my career as a graphic designer, and I would say MONSTROUS was one of the easier ones to design. It helps the process when a client really knows what they want and has a clear vision even if they may not be able to execute it themselves. Thankfully Kyle knows what he’s after!
And yes, I did treat the logo development for MONSTROUS as if I was primarily working for a client and secondarily as a collaborator. It can get tricky having multiple creative people with strong design aesthetics coming together to work on a project they're heavily invested in. But Kyle is the creative lead, so I wanted to make sure I executed his vision first and foremost.
Kyle made an initial logo to get us started and at first he was aiming for a “90's DnD 3.5 aesthetic” with retro video games thrown in. Here is what he shared, the first ever MONSTROUS logo:
With Kyle’s instruction to “do better than him”, I was off to the races. My first stab was trying to find a base font I could work with that was more in line with Kyle’s artwork. This font would also play a role in the layout.
MONSTROUS could not be clean lines and refined details. It had to be wobbly, rough, a bit cattywampus with a touch of gothicness; not my usual design MO. I ended up landing on a font called Drakoala, which as I am right now writing out I realize is a portmanteau of Dracula and Koala because of the image to the right. I had not seen this image before writing this blog post.
Anyway! It was a start! Here was my 1st attempt at the MONSTROUS logo:
It was a good next step and we even played around with different type treatments to see if this was the right path.
We thought these looked cool and interesting but it wasn’t hitting the right tone for what MONSTROUS was becoming. We could see these on an old SNES game box, but they had too much of a cartoon-feel. So it was back to the inspiration board! Kyle sent me some links to fonts and covers he liked.
Finding the Tone
After we reviewed all the inspiration, Kyle came back with another concept. He really didn’t like the weird nubs in the O’s of the Drakoala font and wanted to see us move away from the sword as the T in MONSTROUS.
I also came up with a few more concepts but with a modified version of the Drakoala font.
After reviewing the above 5 new versions, I told Kyle that the sword as a T just fit and there is a reason other titles did the same thing. Plus it made the logo more readable. The sword through all the letters, while cool, was hard on my eyes and didn’t read very well to me.
I had also been keeping the letters skewed inwards like Kyle had from the very first logo. It creates a heroic epic energy, but as Kenny was writing and developing the monster designs, it was apparent MONSTROUS was not heroic. I was still tied to the Drakoala font because it gave a very eerie vibe which would end up playing really well with the cover Kyle was finalizing.
Annnnnnd It All Came Together!
As Kyle was developing the cover art, he was also modifying the Drakoala font. He showed us a few ideas (which I do not have a record of) and then BAM, he dropped the image to the right in chat.
THERE IT WAS! There was MONSTROUS! We collectively fell in love and we had our logo and book cover done!
We went from this to this in little over a month!
That’s all from me for now! Next time I’ll be sharing more about the layout process! Thanks so much for all your support on this project!