Insider 12-9-2011

With the new Iron Kingdoms RPG on the way, it was time for the old Iron Kingdoms logo to get a new look to match. I thought I’d show you guys a quick rundown of how we came up with this elaborate redesign.

I started out doing dozens of thumbnail sketches, all based on the original logo with slight variations. These help us see which changes work and which don’t. This is also where I experimented with different fonts for the title. As the font chosen will be repeated in the Iron Kingdoms rulebooks, this is an important decision.

Once we decided which thumbnail worked best, I took the winning image and began to expand upon it in Adobe Illustrator. You can see how I slowly built up the details as the logo progresses from the following image.

The updated Iron Kingdoms logo was to be more intricate and complicated, like the HORDES and WARMACHINE logos, so it was important to get all those new details exactly how we wanted them before moving on to the next step. It’s a lot easier to change the design at this stage, so we save a great deal of time figuring out all the details now rather than later on. I easily spent the most time at this stage in the design. We wanted the gears to be interconnecting, not just some random assembly. Each piece of the design had to look like part of a working machine. Here the inner clockwork gears have been neatly fitted together. The door design has been expanded and vials were added.

After the design was approved, I took it into Photoshop and began to extrude the shapes I made in Illustrator into 3D. The 3D tools in Photoshop aren't extremely versatile, but they’re perfect for making 3D objects out of simple shapes like letters or gears. As each asset had to be extruded individually, this was a time-consuming but very worthwhile step. You can already see the strong difference this makes.

Once the 3D image was complete, I flattened the image to a 2D plane so I could begin to add embellishments in Photoshop. The color, texture, and glow in the logo are done with a grab bag of simple Photoshop tricks, like layer styles and masks. The individual parts are very simple, but the piece as a whole is rather complex.

And there you have it. One shiny new logo.