This coming March the conference on type design and technology called Robothon will once again be held in The Hague, The Netherlands and as ever it's being organized by Erik van Blokland and Paul van der Laan.
Although they are both gifted graphic designers themselves, they thought it was a good idea (don't ask me why) to let me design the logo for this year's conference.
The brief was simple: "Do what you like" and as a guideline they gave me a few words:
- UFOs (.ufo is and I quote "a cross-platform, cross-application, human readable, future proof format for storing font data")
- 2012 (as in the end of the world... maybe)
- robots (Robofont is a .ufo font editor which will be launched at the conference)
- general 'nerdyness' (it is after all "type design and TECHNOLOGY")
It was plenty for me to go on.
At first I thought about doing some Gigantor (Osamu Tezuka) and Ultraman inspired stuff...
...but I opted against that route. This kind stuff doesn't really come across in Roman characters and I din't want to go the 'faux-kanji' route.
Instead I started looking for more western inspiration like the science fiction tv-shows from the seventies:
This would give me that nerdy edge, the space, the UFOs... time to get sketching.
I did a couple of sketches at first trying to fit type into the shape of a flying saucer... or have the logo be emblazoned on the chest-plate of a giant robot (still hadn't fully let go of that Gigantor idea), but that would make the thing way to bulky.
So this one wasn't going to let it be squeezed into a mold of some UFO. I had to give it some room to stretch it's legs... Although I liked the interlocking, the UFO thing had to go.
I built the basic character-shapes in Illustrator and then deformed them, to give it that spacey "zoom into the future of 30 years ago" type of feel. After that I adjusted weight and contrast where it had all gone a bit wonky from the deformation.
After that I added the space-ship (which sort of resembled a pointed calligraphy pen), the 2012, colours, drop-shadow and some Kana (a word in Japanese characters that, as my underdeveloped knowledge of the language assured me, was saying "RO-BO-TO-N")and it was done...
Through the wonders of Twitter we found out that although the Kana did spell "ROBOTON" the "TH" would in Japanese more commonly be transcribed to an S sounding character (resulting in "ROBOSON"). It was corrected...