The Stallion sketch and rambling got me on a logo / icon roll. That, and I’ve been wanting more excuses to play around with vectors in Manga Studio. The end result was a rather long evening of entirely too much graphical geekery. Also: logos for everyone.
Bruise’s was kind of tricky, because I had no earthly idea how to represent pain in an icon format. I bounced around looking at various medical iconography, but nothing really sat right with me there. So, I started looking at representations of nerves themselves.
Of course, most representations of nerves are rendered in three dimensions, which made for some frustration when trying to turn that into something simplified and two-dimensional. Trying to make it too symmetrical turned it into something that looked more like a star. So, I randomized the edges and added in the tendril bits. I’m not entirely sure it reads immediately as a nerve, but then again, nerves aren’t exactly a universal icon to begin with. In any event, I do think it reads as biological and somewhat insidious, which is definitely what I wanted. If any icon should be indefinably disturbing, this was the one.
I originally played with something involving a bio-hazard symbol in the center, but I thought it got too busy, and was hard to balance with the curves and points of the nerve itself. The skull was simpler and seemed to fit on a few different levels. In terms of powers, there’s the feels like I’m dying when hit by a pain wave, and the nerve-deadening when Bruise absorbs pain.
Then there’s Max himself, who is a sort of mish-mashed punk / goth guy. Which probably violates the philosophies of both counter-cultures, but Max does like to push buttons. Max’s clothes would show up in Hot Topic and other stores which enjoy dark decor. So, the chibi-death look of the skull slotted in with that idea, as well, I thought.
Roc’s name is something she sees as a clever pun, but which most of her teammates, and the majority of the media, don’t really get: she named herself after a giant, mythical bird. Teresa is an RPG / Fantasy fiction / Society for Creative Anachronisms kind of woman. She saw getting powers as her opportunity to be a modern-day paladin, fighting evil and living as a paragon and (not incidentally) having really cool plate mail armor.
Her symbol is less about her powers, then, than about the legends and literature she’s wrapped up in. I looked at a lot of knight’s crests, mostly. The wings remind me of some I found without being complete rip-offs, and the tail is actually a modified version of some crusade banner crosses I ran across while researching. The roc itself doesn’t seem to be especially distinctive in outline. I went with a head shape that reminded me a bit of a pterodactyl to try to evoke the feeling of both large and old.
Roc is probably the only one other than Stallion who will have a large icon on display, though not on her clothing line: whenever I write that she’s generating a shield, you should assume it has her “standard” etched into it. She may want to be a paragon, but Teresa can’t help but revel periodically in the flashy stuff when she’s being a hero.
Crowd is Yup’ik, one of the Alaskan Native tribes. Her icon is partially derived from a common look among native mask designs, which often involve a central figure surrounded by feathers and a variety of other shapes, from fish to hands to webbed feet. I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of the dual spirit elements of the culture, but when I found those elements, along with some other elements I already knew about from previous research, it locked Sarah’s home into place for me.
Sarah’s heritage dovetails into her character and powers in a number of different ways, even more as I continue to research the culture, but I hesitated about this one. It’s an itchy kind of thing, as it co-opts cultural heritage, and the design itself glosses over tradition for something … shinier.
But oddly enough, that’s also why I think it’s the right direction to take. Spotlight is a story about fame and celebrity and media and corporations, and the sublimation of cultural traditions to those far more crass goals is exactly the kind of thing that fits right into what’s going on.
In-story, The Spotlight Collective has a whole lot of PR / media crazy going on in it. They want to exploit every angle they can to spread each member brand. And unlike her more willful teammates, Sarah isn’t a strong enough personality to resist when a Trent or an Eva coos over Yup’ik masks and how “tribal is in.” Well, some of her counter-selves probably are, but none of them get to make decisions.
Voice’s icon was the most straightforward one. Even then, I toyed around with how I wanted to represent the sound waves. I tried a couple of different versions. I couldn’t pull off anything with real curves to the wave, at least not in a way I liked. I debated something more like the sound bars on an audio mixer, but again, I didn’t like the end result.
This one has a nice, slightly harsh feel to it, which I think works. Liam can be a bit strident in general. That it let me make a vague “V” shape in the logo was an added benefit that will tickle no one but me.
For the record, sonar had a different icon. So did “The Human Megaphone,” which is part of why Eva went ballistic when Liam changed names.
I already went on at length about Stallion’s logo. I went ahead and made a graphics version of it, though, because I’m nothing if not obsessive in my completion-ism. Which is also why I included him here.
These are all just the line-art versions, of course. I’m still debating color. Not just individually, but in the context of whether or not it changes. I’m inclined to think the icons might change to better complement whatever clothing they appear on, but I’m not sure how sound that is from a corporate branding perspective, which would obviously influence The Spotlight Collective’s decisions. But, if nothing else, I think these are a good baseline, both graphically and in terms of the characters they represent.