I have a weird problem where I can't stop designing fake team logos for fictional Wipeout titles. I've got a bunch of images on Giant Bomb where I invented a new Wipeout game, Wipeout Buzz, and proceeded to make my own designs for Feisar, Assegai, Piranha et al.
Not too long after that I started making up new teams and logos for a second bogus title, Wipeout Nuke. This was an even-more-fictional Wipeout game that contained teams based on all the staff of Giant Bomb. Wait, did I say all? Nope, I never made one for Drew, much to my shame.
But all that has changed now. Ladies and gentleman, allow me to whisk off this silk sheet with a pompous flourish and reveal to you the latest team to join the WM9000 Racing League... Drësca Technologies!
So why have I made this into a blog? Well, now that I've got a fresh design off the assembly line I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you in on the level of detail/dumb I go to when constructing the branding for these things. While there's no rigid set order to proceedings – sometimes the steps involved are so in flux and overlapping as to be happening all at the same time – in my mind, here's how I think it pretty much goes.
First up (and sometimes it's kind of in conjunction with the next step) I actually think of a loose back story for the team I'm designing the logo for. This isn't too rich a fiction, but I'll usually think up a team's country of origin, the company's underlying ethos and the face it presents to the world. In real life, Drew's a placid, well-presented dude with some sort of Nordic heritage (I think?) so I wanted to make his team vaugely possibly Swedish-ish with a positive, less cut throat slant to the company. Obviously they want to be the fastest and win, but they're a pretty clean cut bunch who are friends with everyone once they get off the track.
Next up I need a name, because there's no point noodling about in Illustrator with no basis for your design. I'm a big fan of wordplay – anagrams, acronyms, portmanteaus, you name it – so I'll sit with a pen and pad and scribble down all manner of mangled, mutated words until I'm happy. Fun fact: Backwards, DREW SCANLON is NOLNACS WERD. Oh, werd? Werd, homeboy.
In the case of Drësca, I feel kinda cheap just taking the first three letters of Drew's first and last names because I did the same with Team Vincar, but it just kinda worked in having that Scandinavian vibe. But Vinny and Drew are kinda inseparable entities in the real life Giant Bomb offices, so there's kind of a link there. Also, because Vinny's also a nice guy, my Vincar backstory actually did have an environmentally aware angle to it, so I guess in the fuzzy fiction I've created for Wipeout Nuke, those two companies might actually have a working relationship or history...
See, I'm writing Wipeout fan fucking fiction! This is the unnecessary, possibly mentally unhinged stuff that goes into my logos. I hella digress. With the concept in mind that there's a sort-of-but-not Swedish leaning on this whole thing, I popped the dots over the letter 'e' to make it look like a name you might find in an Ikea catalogue. Plus it seemed to fit with that oldschool Designers Republic look that I wanted. I have no idea if I've rendered the word "Drësca" unpronounceable with this addition, but what-the-fuck-evs. Form over function, people!
So with the team history and name sorted, it's time to start designing the logo. Sometimes I'll create the main hero logo first and that will inform the look and placement of the typeface, other times the reverse is true. For Drësca I designed the letterforms first, so let's start there, shall we?
Seeing as Drësca's general feel is a globally non-threatening company I wanted to make give things a nice curvilinear look, but not so sleek that it lost its friendliness. This notion actually fit with the fact that there's a particular DR style used in earlier Wipeout games that I hadn't used yet. I won't go too much into wanky detail on this, but suffice to say this typeface didn't take me long to whip up and it turned out looking as I wanted it to. Half the time was spent tweaking the way letters interact with their neighbours. For instance, where the lower parts of the 'e' and the 's' butt up against each other was something I slid back and forth, left and right, until I felt it was right.
Now we come to an example of the creative processes intersecting and folding back around. Once I'd done the bulk of that design, I felt it needed something more. I then decided to append the word "technologies" as a tip of the cap to Drew doing a lot of the technical behind-the-scenes stuff at Giant Bomb. Also, the two words have a pleasing assonance, which always hits my linguistic erogenous zone.
With the main text done, it's time to turn my attention to the logo image. Usually, I'll make something that is indicative of something (usually racing and speed, go figure) and tends to be more abstract and suggestive rather than literal. These logos can still be guided by an object I have in mind or, more commonly, a gut feeling about the company I've created.
In the case of Drësca a lot of elements and discarded ideas went into the final version. Again, it needed to be rounded and approachable. I started out trying to make smiling faces, but that sort of wasn't going anywhere. And at any rate, Drew is more a calm dude so I didn't want the logo to be too enthusiastic. I also wanted to allude to a couple of things while making these original faces. First, I wanted to have three eyes - two for Drew's eyes, and a third eye to represent a camera lens. The other allusion I wanted to make was to the head tracking equipment that Drew, Dave and Vinny have been using in their Flight Club Quick Looks.
When the face thing wasn't really panning out, I decided to keep the elements and just form them into something more abstract. Still thinking of Drew, I turned the "mouth" of the face from a smiling one to a flat, stoic line (in my mind it was still a mouth, just less obviously so). As soon as a I did that, it looked to me like three white balls hovering over the ground. Perfect for Wipeout! I then added lines to the balls to make it look like they were racing each other from left to right.
The final thing I did to the entire logo was pick the right colours. I kept the "mouth" in the pictorial element as red, just to give the whole thing a splash of flashy colour, but the other elements I changed to the yellow and blue of the Swedish flag, just to tie things up thematically.
And that's that! Phew! I've no idea if that was a boring read or not, but this whole process has been something I've wanted to document since I started making these things. And yes, I go through this with every one I do - I've got a different story, country and ethos for all the Wipeout Nuke logos I've made. You don't wanna even know what those ruthless German dudes at SHMKR are like. You'd never look at Brad the same way again.