Erica: We thought we’d take some time to go over the decision making and design process of renaming and re-branding our studio. When Cameron, Joe, and I started the studio, way back in our student days, we were so focused on making our first game that we didn’t give much— or any— thought to naming our team. (Thus, the “To Be Announced”).
As we mentioned in last week’s post, we ended up sticking with TBA, especially once our friends and collaborators in the indie games community got to know us by that name.
So why Explorasaurus?
- For starters, it’s reflective of our ethos and approach to work: we’ve learned and built our games through exploring a wide variety of new things: facts, skills, tools, and places.
- It evokes science-based entertainment better than TBA ever did, while hopefully sounding less vague and corporate.
- It made us think of dinosaurs in pith helmets.
- Finally, and most importantly, we wanted to honor our recently departed studio cat and friend Pandora: who, when she wasn’t napping between our computers or watching David Attenborough documentaries, loved moving to new locales and taking us on daily walks outside (seriously! She had her own leash and everything!) “Explorasaurus” was one of her many nicknames.
After choosing our new name, we had to do a lot of paperwork. We also had to make ourselves a suitable logo. We’ll spare you the details of the paperwork for now and skip right to the pictures of dinosaurs and cats.*
Chad: It’s been years since I’ve been tasked with designing a logo for anything, so when Erica and Cam asked me to work up some designs, I had a lot of rust to shake off. And a few nervous sweats to break into.
But I liked the idea of the logo — what artist doesn’t love getting to draw a good dinosaur (or cat-dino)? So I immediately set out trying to figure out the whole dinosaur thing first. I wasn’t sure what I would do for the logo yet, so I began simply: start doodling. This part was fun: I spent a while simply sketching dinosaurs in varying states of science-readiness!
While these wouldn’t work for our logo, it helped to loosen me up and get me in the state of mind I needed to create a workable dinosaur concept. It also helped spark a lot of ideas that would come in handy later.
From there, I began to play with the style a bit. I went through a bunch of silhouettes first. We wanted simple, clean, easy to read. But that didn’t stop me from playing with other ideas as well, including more complex line art in a few different styles.
I knew as I was making these that not everything here would work (and trust me, there were many more failed ‘experiments’ you’re not seeing here), but more often than not, my best ideas tend to arise while I’m hacking away at something else.
At this point, I was trying to solve one more problem: while we discussed the idea of a dinosaur for the logo, the cat was important, and I needed a way to best represent that while still working in harmony with our new studio name. By coincidence, the cat doodle I made as I was first racking my brain for cat ideas is the one we ended up liking the most! Almost serendipitous.
So I took the line work and began developing that one immediately, playing with backdrops, colors, and the logo font.
Fun fact: That cat was just an idle doodle at first. I couldn’t figure out how to get a cat more dino-adjacent. So I just ironically tacked a tail on it for giggles in a tongue-in-cheek way. Then ended up liking it and cleaning it up. Go figure.
Erica: Once Chad had come up with various rough drafts, we all had a look at them and tried to narrow it down to just one, which was a challenge. There was some civilized debate. Finally, we all managed to decide on the cat with the dino tail. Partly because it was adorable (okay, primarily because it was adorable), but also because it was more unique than just a dinosaur in a pith helmet.
Once we were all in agreement, we made some color variations and adjusted the text, until the logo was ready to go out into the world like a proper helmeted dino-cat-thing to represent us. In style.
(Couldn’t resist sharing one last dino-cat. ~Chad)
*Anyone interested in the paperwork aspect can contact us for more exciting info on corporate laws, official forms, and such.