The 120 billion dollar gaming industry is hard-pressed to keep up with the demands of its voracious fans. Holding onto the market share and loyalties of these 2.3 billion consumers is partly about cohesive brand identity. The logos that have become so much a part of our cultural landscape often have fascinating origin stories.
If you’re looking to have your own gaming logo designed, you can hire a logo designer or use an online logo maker and do it yourself. Make sure your logo is unique, timeless and speaks to your brand and the message you want to get across to your audience.
Here are some of the oldest and most famous, as well as some of the newest, game logo origin stories.
Tetris Logo Design
Tetris, created by Russian scientist Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, is by all accounts one of the top selling games of all time. It set Nintendo’s Game Boy up for success and even became the first game to make it into space. To celebrate 35 years in the game, on World Tetris Day, June 6th 2019, the company launched a new logo. The original logo was designed by artist Roger Dean in 1997. The iconic T-shape of the geometric puzzle pieces, known as Tetrominos, that comprise the game forms the basis of the design. The palette has morphed into a darker blue with a bolder outline and the lettering has lost its angular orange hue, replaced by rounder font and multi-colors that reflect both the aesthetic of the game and of the current gaming climate. Roger Dean is a British artist best known for his posters and album covers for rock bands Yes and Asia. As a student he designed a chair that is thought to be the prototype of what came to be known as bean bags. He worked on a video game, The Black Onyx, for Henk Rogers who discovered Tetris in 1988 and the rest is history.
Minecraft Logo Design
Minecraft, second only to Tetris in terms of all-time sales figures, has its iconic logo/name spelled out in the game’s own building blocks of cobblestone. It was designed by Hayden Scott-Baron, a founder of Sweatdrop Studios, the largest Manga studio in the United Kingdom. Hayden, who goes by Dock, was the artist for Minecraft along with Markus Persson who was the sole developer of the game. The two soon parted ways but Dock went on to create his own game Tumbledrop for iPhone. Dock’s original design used colour, unlike the grey monochrome Minecraft logo that is now so well known. It has been modified many times but the core design remains. In 2011 a Creeper face was added to the “A” and the 3D effect was enhanced.
Pokemon Logo Design
Pokémon is another top ten game of all time. It’s blue and yellow wordmark logo is one of the most recognizable worldwide, although the English version is very different from the Japanese and while the latter has morphed quite radically over the years, the English logo has remained unchanged for over two decades. The typeface is playful, clearly targeted at children and resonates with the look and energy of the game’s famous character Pikachu. It was created in 1996 by arcade game fanboy Satoshi Tajiri who created a fanzine called Game Freak which evolved into his own video game company. Known as Dr Bug when he was a boy, it was this interest in insect collecting that sparked his idea for “Pocket Monsters,” the Japanese name for Pokémon. It took six years to develop and almost bankrupted his company before taking over the world.
Nintendo Logo Design
Nintendo was founded in the late 1800s by Fusajiro Yamauchi and is responsible for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8, Ring Fit Adventure all top 10 games at the moment. The formal name of the company is still in the Japanese kanji, but the famous logo was first designed in the 1960s as part of a desire to break into the international market. The very first version using English was in a handwritten cursive style, although the red and white was already in evidence. There was a lot of play with the style through the 60s until the typography settled and the “racetrack” appeared for the first time in 1972 although it took another ten years for it to stick. The design was done in house and unfortunately the designer’s identity is lost in the mists of time. The game that cemented the logo however is well known, Donkey Kong, followed shortly thereafter by the Family Computer. The rest is history.
League of Legends Logo Design
Riot Games is the company that brings you League of Legends, one of the major competitive eSport games fuelling a multi-billion dollar industry. Its original logo designed in-house in 2006 is graffiti tag style but its recently had a facelift to be more compatible with the many digital interfaces that have been developed since the company’s founding. Rinker Design and the in-house team have kept the fist but separated it from the wordmark, which allows it to be used as a stand-alone logo. The font is bold and much easier to read while still packing a punch fitting to the titan of eSports. Interestingly the recent League of Legends logo redesign seems to have been met with less enthusiasm by fans. The original bold gold wordmark with shield background that smacks of fantasy has been replaced by a much stripped down and many argue boring logo. Eight million players daily can’t be wrong.
With almost all design work happening in-house or in collaboration with design agencies, the origin stories of these logos that have stood the test of time and their creators are more precious than ever. It remains to be seen how these more recent iterations will weather the rapidly evolving gaming terrain.