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How I Designed My Logo - Max Did It
Max Did It
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How I Designed My Logo

Since one of the first things I created for Max Did It was it’s logo, I would like to talk a little about the iterations and considerations it went through before arriving at the current version.

Max Did It Logo Evolution

Maybe you have also spent what felt like hours in front of this message: “Please Enter a Name for your Character/City/Pokémon”. Sometimes, one of the most challenging parts in a game is to find something that represents you or your character properly, especially if you will spend a considerable amount of time with it.

Finding a logo that is supposed to represent yourself in real life is a lot like that. Only harder. This is how I went about designing my logo.

When I started this month designing the logo for Max Did It, I at least had the name finding part behind me already. This gave me my first element to work with. I wanted to use the logo as foundation for the design of my blog and stuff like business cards, so that they would have a consistent look. So, I had to get the logo done first and then work from there.

I basically had two ideas what my logo should look like:

  • Simply turn the name Max Did It into a label in itself. In other words, create a word mark.
  • Something with gears… more about that later.

The Software

When you design a logo, you want to be able to print it on anything you want. Usually, you will use a vector graphics program, since vector graphics can be scaled arbitrarily without losing quality.

However, industry standard tools like Adobe Illustrator will set you back a couple hundred bucks, and that is money I would like to save right now. In order to create the logo, I have used the free open-source software Inkscape and have been very happy with it so far.


All features I needed so far are there, and for an open-source program it is very accessible. At least I had to look up very few tutorials to get done what I wanted to.

The First Try

I like how the letters M, A and X can be written in almost one stroke. I always thought that this gives them a logo like quality already and took that approach first. I was further inspired by the sumi-e brush strokes that were used in the art design of Street Fighter 4. So I broke out paper and brush and had a go at it.

Painting the Logo

I went through quite some pages before arriving at something I liked.

After a couple of attempts, I had produced something at least usable and traced it with Inkscape. I ended up with this:

Max Did It Calligraphy Logo


Not bad, I guess, but it doesn’t carry a lot of meaning. It’s just the letters written in a fancy way, nothing else. The people I’ve shown it to for feedback didn’t react very enthusiastically, either. Also, as one of my friends noted, it looks quite similar to another, already well known brand:
Pizza Hut LogoI wanted my logo to convey more information and I also didn’t want people to accidentally order take out from me. So I decided to take another direction.


I actually wanted the logo to symbolize what I do, which is, game development. So, what is game development to me? What I find fascinating about this profession is how many different fields it combines. To me, the integral parts of developing a good game are:

  • Game design
  • Coding
  • Graphics
  • Sound/Music

One of the biggest challenges when creating a game is to make all these four aspects interact and work together. I wanted to illustrate that and the first image that came to my mind were gears.
Max Did It Logo, First Draft
This is my first try using the gears theme. I discarded any traditional media this time and created everything in Inkscape from the start. In the first drafts, I used the free font telegrafico by ficod for the text. I later switched to a similar commercial font since the free one didn’t support any digits or punctuation marks.

The four gears each represent, you guessed it, one aspect of game development.

So, time for more feedback. As Sebastian Knietzsch pointed out, the gears as symbols are still very arbitrary. You have to know the meaning behind each cogwheel, or you won’t have any chance to guess it. He suggested that each gear should somehow portray the field it represents.

Which was quite the challenge. How do you do that without making the logo way too complicated and bloated?

Creating the Icons

Sebastian’s suggestions for images representing the aspects of game development were the back of a pencil for art and a speaker for sound.

Those helped setting up the circle and the hexagon as basic shapes I would use for the icons. Programming and game design were more difficult, since they are even more abstract concepts.

The idea I came up with for programming was to represent the concept of the binary numeral system or the on/off states computers work with.

Game design was more complicated. I first tried to use the classic digipad found on most controllers, since the input used by the player is very important for the design of a game.

However, I didn’t feel it would fit the other icons. I wanted to use as few shapes as possible to make sure the symbols would feel like belonging to the same set. I decided to use the hexagonal shape of the pencil and turn it into six arrows, representing turns on a play field or, in a very abstract way, rules of play.

Icons Draft 1

The result was this. The pencil is representing graphics, the speaker (or sound waves) represents audio, the arrows represent game design and the inversed “bits” represent coding.

Putting It Together

The next step was to put these elements together again. A thought that came from feedback from Hannes Schellenberger from binary madness was aimed at the layout of the gears. Since game design should drive the other aspects of game development, shouldn’t the game design icon be in the center of the construction? Hannes also pointed to the Newgrounds logo, which frames it’s motif, with the image taking up most of the space and the text below.

New Newgrounds Logo

I liked the idea of framing my logo, but didn’t want to put a hard border around it. I decided to crop the shapes to suggest a rectangle framing the icons, which doesn’t come across as strict and “boxy” in my opinion. I also tilted the motif to make it look more dynamic.

Logo Version 2 Draft 1I used the suggestions to create this version. It loosely follows the layout of the Newgrounds logo. Since the game design gear is now at the center of the icon, with the other ones arranged around it, it is now the only one with a different size, which simplifies the logo a little bit.

It was a big step forward from the previous version, conveying much more meaning and being less exchangeable.

But I wasn’t quite there yet. The rectangle is hard to see, because the gears barely intersect it. I had to rearrange the icons to make the frame more visible.

Max Did It Logo Version 2 Draft 2Getting there… the rest were mostly touch ups, many of them suggested by my friends at binary madness. I made the cogs bigger, changed the proportions a little bit and changed the squares in the coding gear to hexagons, since the square shape doesn’t appear anywhere else in the logo.

Final Max Did It Logo 2

And there we go. This is how I arrived at the logo I now use. I think it shows that it really pays off to listen to feedback and to not settle for the first iteration. I think the final version is much more appealing and thought out than the first attempts.

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