by Gary Scott Beatty, Owner and Production Manager, Aazurn Publishing, July 13, 2006
The art of typography is an invisible but important communication tool. Unfortunately, it is also a vanishing art worthy of its own Comic Artists Direct article. If you are setting headline type and not kerning it, if you leave single words at the ends of your paragraphs, you need to pick up a good book on typography before you start calling yourself a professional. Sort of like Neo taking the pill in The Matrix - once you know to look for it, you'll never leave that capital T next to a capital A again without messing with it.
As in all good logo development, coming up with a proper logo for Seductions required understanding the "product" so that product information could be communicated through the logo design.
Below is the logo I developed last year for Students of the Unusual, the Second Semester. The original logo for the successful comic series, although visually interesting, was hard to read on the comic shop shelf. Writer/Publisher/Student Body President Terry Cronin! wanted me to come up with something clean and professional.
MATCH THE STYLE - First, I studied the visual style of the current covers. Part of the success of the comic series, I surmised, was the modern design of the covers, with either sharp, flat color illustrations or fully rendered paintings. The 3 Boys Productions logo that appeared on every cover gave me a direction with its quasi-Art Nouveau, trendy typeface.
Another clue to a successfully integrated logo was the name of the comic itself, of course. I thought "varsity jacket" to go along with the students theme.
Where the previous logo had enlarged "Students" and "Unusual" I chose to keep the name "Students" large and run the "of the Unusual" beneath so I could play with that varsity jacket theme. I owned a few extra bold, square serif fonts that looked like those traditionally used for school team logos and developed several different designs for Terry, running most of the ideas along a curve like the final design, with pinstriping. Go team!
ALWAYS VECTOR, NEVER RASTER - Always, always build logos in vector art program like Adobe Illustrator. Don't ever build a logo in a raster program like Adobe Photoshop. Why? Because an Illustrator logo with the type pathed will stay crisp and clean from the size of a business card to the size of a city bus. Vector art doesn't lose its resolution like raster art, because it's made of lines and curves rather than pixels. Anyone who has taken a 72 dot per inch photo and tried to print it at 250 percent knows what I'm talking about. You simply cannot add resolution to a raster file.
So my final logo to Terry was a clean Illustrator file, type pathed. Any designer with any chops at all can open a copy of that logo and change the colors, add shadows, patterns, whatever.
I pretty much hit the nail on the head for Terry with the second proof. I had added little silhouettes of monsterous figures, making the letters seem large as houses, but he was right, they were too distracting and limiting for his needs. The logo currently appearing on the books appears below, artwork by John Stephens. Visit www.studentsoftheunusual.com here!
No! No! Don't gnash your teeth like that! This logo tale was only a precursor, an appetizer if you will, to the visual excitement that is Aazurn Publishing! Now that we have gone over the basics, what of Gary's fledgling projects, still so far from public release and the subsequent fame and fortune?
For reasons I will explain in the next article, my Aazurn cover concepts are more "book" than "comic book." So I went to Barnes and Noble and looked through all the books for hints on what makes a book logo a book logo. I noted some current trends and referred to those notes when designing the Aazurn logos below.
SEDUCTIONS - I knew I had to feature a script typeface for the "Seductions" logo, because, as artist Bill Bryan pointed out in our discussions of the book, it is, basically, a romance. I never set out to write a romance, and "Seductions" is not a romance in the traditional sense. It is a decade-spanning vampire hunt tale. The question is, for what is he hunting?
I owned a beautiful, hand drawn looking font I have been waiting years to use. But, alone, it was simply too feminine. Plus, I planned to tie the covers of my books together with a distinctive style, and one element I wanted was a certain san serif look. So the logo ended up a double word in two typefaces, the elegant, female typeface in front and the dominant, male typeface lurking behind. This duality perfectly symbolized the catch and seduce nature of the book.
GODLIKE DIMENSIONS - "Adam Among the Gods" is the second done-in-one short story comic I plan to release in the Aazurn line. To develop that logo, I thought of the world of perfect beings that inhabits the book. Women, chins uplifted in noble splendor, skin clear and perfect as statuary. Men, muscles rippling, eyes clear and purposeful.
My choice was a grand, large, booklike logo in gold, like the title from a movie from the black and white era, when people were not embarrassed by epic, earth shattering drama. Even Adam's name is grand, though he is but a beast among a perfect race - or is he?
So why is the "Adam" logo so much taller than "Seductions?" It involves the overall design. Be here next time for "Cover Theory."
DECORATE YOUR 'PUTER - Be sure to check out the DOWNLOADABLE WALLPAPERS for your computer based on the first Aazurn saga, the decade-spanning "Seductions!" Revisit '65 and '05 (That's 1505) with graphics pencilled by the brilliant Bill Bryan and brought to color by me with a new technique that's sure to turn the comics world on its ear.
Summer in the city! Soak up them rays!
PUT YOURSELF ON THE EMAIL LIST to learn when Aazurn comics are available and where to buy them! See below!