Earlier this year, in June I think, I was contacted by Rob Levin of Top Cow Productions who asked if I’d be interested in redesigning the Witchblade logo for them. I said I’d be happy to give it a try, though I confessed I’d never read an issue. Rob sent me some samples, and said they wanted to have it be more readable, but not drastically different from the existing logo, which he thought was designed by Peter Steigerwald when the title was created.
Rob also sent me digital logo files of the three versions that had been done so far. First, the regular cover logo:
Then the TV series version:
And finally the Anime version:
Looking at these, I had to agree that the cover logo was pretty hard to read in places. The W, while unique, didn’t read well, and letters C, B and D were even worse. The TV version reads much better, but loses a lot of the dangerous feel of the original. The Anime logo falls somewhere in-between to my eye, easier to read than the cover logo, but more interesting and unique than the TV one. The color there, while interesting, actually works against the readability. So, my goal was to come up with a version that would fall somewhere in this range, with readability as the first priority.
In thinking about this assignment, I felt the word WITCHBLADE should make for a good logo, with BLADE being very visual and WITCH suggesting something scary. The main character is a woman with a clawed gauntlet inset with jewels that, when used as a weapon, expands to cover parts of her body in armor-like metal, The previous logos took advantage of the weapon’s design, using claws and blades, and I planned to do the same. I decided to begin with three hand-drawn marker sketches.
This one plays off the claw-like gauntlet of the Witchblade character, with the inset jewels in the W.
The second is just me going all-out with scary shapes, claws and swords. The E is too large, but otherwise I like this one.
The third sketch used the same W as two, but the rest of the logo was more conservatively shaped, even in width and letter size, though still with what I felt was a good amount of interesting points and curves.
After sending these to Rob, feedback came in, and they liked the third one the best, but asked to see it with a W closer to the original version, as they felt that needed to tie in to the past more. They also thought that the B and D were still too hard to read, and could I adjust them? And the entire logo should be less tall, to leave more room for art on the covers. I went ahead and did this up on the computer, version 4:
And also did a color treatment with outer outline shape, similar to the original cover logo:
I sent these versions to Rob, and also brought them to the San Diego Comic-Con in July and met with him at the Top Cow booth, where we discussed the project. Rob told me that he and everyone at Top Cow liked version 4, but before they went further with it, they wanted to see more options. In other words, we were on the right track, but could I do some more sketches? I could, and after I got home from the con, I did three more marker sketches, versions 5-7:
And, for good measure, did three computer sketches using existing fonts of my own, to see if there was something there that might be what they wanted, versions 8-10:
More time passed, and Rob let me know in September that they were still happiest with version 4, but wanted to make some tweaks. Based on his requests, I did this version:
Here the W is less tall, and the center stroke of the E is shorter, making the entire logo more compact. That version went for another round of approvals, and came back with more revision requests, which I complied with:
Here the lower curves of the L and D more closely match those on the C and B, and the T and C have been brought into alignment with the top line of the letters on either side. Rob felt this gave the logo a more unified read-through. Other changes were discussed, but at that point I felt going further away from my original idea would dilute it too much, and make the logo overly bland, so I was able to convince Rob and Top Cow to go with this version. I’m pleased with it: it’s much more readable than the original cover logo, yet still has enough unique touches to make it stand out, I think. The W retains the feel of the original, but reads better, and there are enough points and hooks to represent the concept well. For comparison, here’s the final logo in a simple black fill:
In all, I think the time spent on the tweaking was worthwhile, and I’m looking forward to seeing the logo on actual books. I believe it will look pretty cool!
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