We Call Em Like We See Em

By Allen Tan | | 0 Comments

We've decided to call our mascot (who also moonlights as our logo) "M-8115" or "Em" for short. As our idea of a spacefaring monster, this quirky creature has been with us since the beginning of our journey. In this post, we take a look at how my team created Em from concept to final design.

Em Posing With A Bunch Of Toys
For my birthday a few days ago, I received a cute little handcrafted figurine of Em made out of baked polymer clay. Super cool!
We Want Tentacles

After we decided to call ourselves Monstronauts, we had to brainstorm some ideas for our logo. Everyone pitched in and we ended up with around thirty different suggestions on the board, ranging from basic globs to yetis and tentacles.

Idea Board For The Monstronauts Logo
Our idea board. We literally wrote down all our ideas no matter how silly they may have sounded at the time.

With much deliberation and discussion, we grouped everything into four base concepts.

  1. An M-shaped monster with tentacles
  2. Any nautical vehicle with tentacles
  3. Some sort of headgear — a diver's or astronaut's helmet with tentacles
  4. A space program badge similar to NASA's with tentacles

My team has a bizarre fascination with tentacles (I wonder why?) but the good thing is we had a unifying element to all four concepts.

Tentacles it is.

For our first pass, Carlo and Charlene both created their own logo studies with neutral colors, while Mondo took a stab at coming up with a full-color design. We put the variants up on Trello and had another huddle session to vote on designs each of us liked.

Logo Studies For The Monstronauts Logo
Early concepts for the Monstronauts logo. Em had a 1 in 20 chance of being chosen. It was sad to see some of these designs go so we promised to use them on our website instead.

We put the voting system to good use that day, but the final choice was still mine to make. To put it frankly, it was like a democratic dictatorship if there is such a thing.

Three designs stood out - a creature wearing a diver's helmet, a chubby monster on a rocket, and a space helmet with a silhouette. We thought they had the biggest potential as logos while the rest were best used for other purposes.

With that in mind, the next logical step was to move on to color studies for the selected designs.

The Psychology Of Color

It doesn't take a genius to know how important colors are in our perception of beauty, but at the time, I had no idea what colors I wanted for our logo. I read up on the psychology of color, but it didn't seem to bring me closer to a decision either.

I needed to see the colors before I could choose, so I asked the designers to try out whatever colors they think would be most suitable for the characters. This seems to be my go-to solution for everything — to let the experts do what they do best.

Color Studies For The Monstronauts Logo
Color variants for the Monstronauts logo. We produced more variants than what is shown here, but these are the best ones we had.

Along with creating color variants, Carlo revamped his design and switched out the diver's helmet for a space helmet. Similarly, Charlene gave her silhouette a pair of eyes, and bright colors. Both were tiny modifications with a huge impact on the overall look of the characters.

It was another hard choice to make, but in the end, we simply leaned towards the blue and pink version of Em based on personal preference above everything else. Honestly, we didn't have any special reason for choosing this logo over others. 

It wasn't backed by research and there was no A-B test or anything of the sort. That we chose a spacefaring monster posed like the letter 'M' is purely superficial too.

I just know that we loved our logo, and that is all the reason we needed.