Layers and Logo Design

Putting Pieces Together for Greater Awesomeness.

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At the Digital Harbor Foundation, our Maker Foundations students have been learning about Vector Graphic Design using Inkscape, starting with designing a character and a logo. To help them see the bigger picture of how graphic design is just one element in a Maker's toolkit for building larger, more ambitious projects; I designed a character and a logo specifically for a game I am building for the next unit.

"Space Octopus Attack!" is going to be totally rad, and you are all going to want to play it, as well as watch for updates on how it is built. But for now, lets stick with graphic design in Inkscape, and take a closer look at how I put together this logo using layers and groups of different visual elements.

The finished logo is made up of roughly 4 different layered elements all put together.

Inkscape allows users to keep track of their visual elements in several ways. Two of those ways are Groups and Layers. Groups allow users to keep sets of shapes, lines, and other elements together to move and duplicate easily. Layers on the other hand can freeze or hide sets of elements and keep them separate. In my logo for "Space Octopus Attack!" I used 4 layers to keep track of the different parts of my logo: A background layer to hold my black backdrop and many, many star shapes, a Radial Gradient layer for the green glow effect, a Character layer for my Octopod, and a Text layer for my Title.

The Background layer may have only had a large black rectangle and a whole lot of stars, but even with a group to make them into one object, it was very handy to put it on its own layer that I could hide away and not have to worry about it getting in the way while I was working on other elements. Similarly, getting the spooky glow effect just right took more than one gradient shape, so putting all three overlapping gradients on their own layer made things easier to keep track of. I have already made a Tackk about how to use the path node controls to transform basic shapes into custom shapes like my Octopod, and you can check it out with the button above. The text layer is a little more complicated though.

Just looking at this text, the trained eye can see a whole stack of different effects all working together. The font itself was made using the text tool, and a custom font I downloaded from a free font website.

I wanted to make the words change size from top to bottom, so I made three separate text object for "Space," "Octopus," and "Attack." With the font point size increasing on each block of text. I also used the alignment tools to make sure my text was centered and lined up with a guideline created in the center of my page.

Once I had the text, I then created a gradient that I applied to each text object, with a black stroke. Since the gradient used a transparency, I duplicated my text objects as a Group, and stacked them on top of one another to make my green more vibrant. I created a third text layer at the bottom to put a white background under my transparent green text objects, and grouped all the objects together on my Text Layer.

The combined effect makes for a cool splash page for my finished game, and a neat logo that I can print or use in other designs for products to promote my game. I hope this gives folks some ideas for their own designs!