Regardless if you are running an esports team, a stream, esports community or an esports tournament, you need an esports logo. There’s a lot you need to think about and do when composing a logo for any of those situations.
To design an esports logo, you need to take the following steps:
- Understand your brand’s mission and values
- Consider strategic positioning and alignment with values
- Conceptualize creative design style
- Determine your logo’s figurehead and focus
- Determine the color pallet and the emotional transference
- Run a few drafts before you compose the final version
- Develop your logo’s variants
I’ve been in the logo creation process before, and trust me as I say my team and I only focused on making a cool-looking logo and it really didn’t play to our strengths.
That’s the logo we made for our brand many years ago for my first startup business that failed for a multitude of reasons. I want you to avoid the mistakes I made and ensure you position yourself in the best possible place when creating your logo.
In this article, we will be breaking down this process in more detail to help you with each step. In addition, at the end we will talk about why it’s important to building not only a good logo but the right one (click here to jump to it) as a sort of summary. Afterwards, I list out applications where your logos will be used and environmental factors to be cognizant of (click here to fast track to it).
In my opinion, the most valuable part of the steps is the example section. Believe me when I say I can throw almost every professional esports team as an example for literally every step, and I find even tons of solid resources for each step.
I originally was going to overload each topic with a load of examples, but I decided to keep 1 per section to just help you understand how it’s being applied, and you will start identifying all these aspects in other logos for other teams (and even communities plus other endemic brands).
Don’t think that some of these steps only apply to certain aspects, for the most part, from my research it’s evident that every team that knows what they are doing (which I’d include all professional teams) take these factors into account in some way, shape or form.
Esports Logo Development Process
Obviously you want your logo to be cool. Obviously you want people to like your logo and it should be a design choice you enjoy. You don’t have to ensure every aspect from a business and analytical standpoint makes perfect sense, and many successful teams may not focus heavily on each of these items, but you should be thinking about these and it should play a factor in your decision as you build out your branding.
1. Understand your brand’s mission and values
Regardless of if you are rebranding or building a new esports organization from scratch, you really need to consider your mission and values as an organization.
It’s not enough to just think that because you like esports you run your organization, you need to think about it as a business and businesses work towards a higher purpose.
What is your purpose? What are you trying to build or what are you trying to embody? What are your values and mission as a company?
You also need to think about how you will want to represent yourself and your team. What communities and games are you involved in? What are the demographics and psychographics of players in those communities?
Example: Unicorns of Love
Take for example Unicorns of Love (UoL). A team with a really unique color scheme, unique mascot, their entire brand is yelling unique. But it’s not only unique, but it aligns with their brand perfectly.
They are the wild guys, fun yet weird and creative. Everything they do is unique and helps them be rememberable.
“Having fun, implementing innovative ideas in and outside the games and creating a positive platform that welcomes and respects everyone are our main goals while competing at the highest level.”– Unicorn of Love ‘about us’ section of their website
Take for example this video, where Romain Bigerad, the team manager for UoL, and pay attention to his changing (or absent) clothing. They not only understand their branding, but they take every opportunity to show it off (and their name/logo does it justice).
2. Consider strategic positioning and alignment with values
When creating an esports logo, you have to remember that your organization is first-and-foremost a business. You need to think about how your logo plays into your overall business plan and strategic positioning in the industry.
Your logo needs to embody the spirit and mission of what you as a business want to represent, but also your partners’ and sponsors’ mission and their own branding.
This alignment is not a necessity, but it creates a unique selling proposition (USP). Think about it. Why would a sponsor pay money to one team and not another?
It’s a multitude of factors, from the team, their positioning in gaming communities, the publicity and current projects of the team, but it’s largely on their strategy from that point forward and how both brands can align themselves to mutually benefit each other while achieving both parties’ mission.
The logo is just one small piece of that puzzle, but a fairly valuable one if you can get it right and position yourself somewhere that other esports teams haven’t.
Not to mention that you don’t want your two logos to clash and inevitably repeal each other. If your logos complement each other, that also helps to sell yourselves during “the ask”.
Example: Lazarus Esports and XP Sports
Lazarus Esports has positioned itself as a very strong Canadian esports team in a multitude of ways. All of which were likely factors that XP Sports looked at.
Lazarus Esports’ overall brand mission and how they project themselves as an electric, powerful, agile team aligns well with the mission of XP,
That said, I want to dive into a USP that is very powerful when you can appreciate it; an aligning color scheme.
Pink is a very unique color not often utilized in the esports industry. Not only was Lazarus strategically positioned in a slew of different margins, but the color constrast and aligned values allowed for a really solid reason to move forward with this partnership.
Not to mention now they have marketing opportunities such as the one below:
In addition to Lazarus’ figurehead supporting the overall mission of both companies. Essentially, from my understanding (I may be completely off here), it’s a bird representing reaching new heights, new development and unseen success. XP Sports helps their users reach new heights with their gameplay performance.
The mission aligns too
“We are a professional esports organization dedicated to industry growth, developing the global gaming market, and supporting professional gamers at the highest level for greater success.”Lazarus Esports “about us” section on their website
Additional Resource: Partnership Press Release
Example 2 – Esports Arenas of Lambton Lions and Durham Lords
I said I wouldn’t use multiple examples for these topics, but this section is an exception, simply because arena examples are just so prominent.
That’s the Lambton Lions’ arena. Their primary color, as you can guess is blue, and turns out that’s all they got. They got blue gaming chairs from E-Blue’s Cobra line (Cobra has a blue logo) and Logitech G (whose logo is accented with blue primary) with all the headsets being only blue.
The mouse is likely also from Logitech G and blue. The keyboards are RGB, but if they weren’t, they’d probably be blue.
We know these were sponsorships due to the logo placements on the gaming towers, and also PR like this one.
Above is a picture from Durham Lords’ esports arena.
Not going to beat a dead horse here, but just guess what factors may have influenced Monster to sponsor this arena over a brand like Red Bull. Ya, not going to happen.
- Look at your prospective partners and think about how you can tailor your mission and values to align with them
- Don’t choose colors and logos that may clash with prospects, rather have them work as a complement to both brands
- Logos and color pallets can be used as a USP, why not take advantage of that?
3. Conceptualize creative design style
Every logo has a different feel to them by using a type of art style that feels like “just them”. Some are more minimalistic, others are bulky and wide, some are very thin, some have 3d elements, some are intended to look ecstatic, some follow Japanese art styles, while others are more of a streetwear sort of look.
That’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but the way your logo is put together will not only speak to your brand, it is also a really great way to help make your logo cool and stand-out as a memorable logo in esports.
What art style will work best with the culture and mentality of your brand?
Example – New York Excelsior
The Excelsior, a team entering the scene in 2017 after acquiring a spot in Overwatch’s franchised league, really took the concept of brand logos and put it over its head.
This is truly an exceptional example, but of someone doing something different and doing it right.
They really played around with their overall design and it was received really well.
As a Canadian, it’s hard for me to speak on how much it represents New York as a state, but I can say that it gives off that streets vibe while still being extremely clean of a design.
They embraced that, as you can see from this promotional video:
Additional Resource: Dot Esports’ breakdown of the story for NYXL’s branding
4. Determine your logo’s figurehead and focus
Every logo has a focus. Either it is the text itself or a mascot/figure-head as a design, every logo wants to be something that has an element that catches your eyes.
Which part of your logo be the focus of your brand and what people remember about the org?
You’d want to differentiate in some way or to be some design that could transfer to other items like merchandise nicely, and not something limited to being contrasted by its background or not boxed out.
Example: G2 Esports
G2 Esports are warriors. Samurais to be exact. Samurais live by “the way of the warrior”, and G2 tries to embody that in both their gameplay and how they conduct themselves.
But this section isn’t about their mission, instead what you will notice is that G2 Esports’ logo can be used in a large number of places. It fits nicely within their office (video below), their merchandise and it’s very unique and strong in the sense that it incorporates their name without it being a forced addition.
One thing to note is that although the coloring and design seem set-in-stone and difficult to modulate, they actually do an amazing job changing it depending on the application.
Want to see to what extend G2 uses their logo and embodies their mascot, watch this video of G2 esports’ office.
5. Determine the color pallet and the emotional transference
This step falls well with everything else that was mentioned, as far as the importance of your color pallet and the ability to modify your color scheme if need be.
That said, what we haven’t discussed is the emotional transference and subconscious value of picking the right logo color.
You need to understand that colors have more importance than meets the eye.
Humans have evolved and have associated certain colors in nature with different attributes. So, the color of your brand subconsciously will affect how your audiences will view your brand.
Esport How, this website, wants to be seen as a strong and credible source of information with my years of experience in the scene. We want to come off as trustworthy and dependable, and that’s why we settled with two variants of blue for our logo.
What colors will you choose to best represent your values and mission?
Example: 100 Thieves
Above are two variants of 100 Thieves’ logo (something we actually talk about in step 7), but regardless of that, the colors are clear. What pops (as we mentioned in step 4) is the red, the “Thieves”.
Red, subconsciously, is associated with blood. Blood is associated with characteristics like danger, courage or sacrifice. Red is also associated with love, passion and joy.
According to the company color guide graphic above, brands use red to represent excitement or youthful bold.
If you aren’t familiar with 100T’s branding, you must not fully understand how this red plays into who they are. If you know them, you 100% (see what I did there) know what I’m talking about.
Hell, watch a video by Nadeshot when he describes what 100 Thieves represents after turning his appeal brand into an esports team.
Additional Resources: Branding and Example information (NOT BY THE ACTUAL TEAM), Branding and Business Breakdown by Brand Marketing Blog
6. Run a few drafts before you compose the final version
Finally, the thinking is done. All steps before this were planning, adjusting and tailoring your visions to what would work best for your ideal logo.
Now no more thinking, time to work.
You will need to go through several iterations of your logo. Following scrum principles, you want to have a viable product each sprint and you will want to continually gain feedback from a closed group of fans of the organization.
You could also honestly get public feedback each step of the way, the only drawback to that is the initial hype and PR you may gain by doing it all under closed doors to afterwards make a full announcement.
You don’t want to be in a position like Evil Geniuses were when they got all the hate from their fans after their rebranding. EG failed to understand their community and what makes them valuable, their history, and due to the lack of feedback and understanding, their brand suffered,
Even their former owner had something to say (yes, the Alexander Garfield from the book Good Luck Have Fun):
Example: Rogue Esports
Rogue as an esports organization has been a very interesting spectacle to watch. But this isn’t about them, it’s about their logo.
To be completely honest, I chose them as an example because I found a nice video of them going through how they worked on their logo, no other reason.
But rest assured, every brand goes through this development process.
7. Develop your logo’s variants
Before achieving this step, you should already have a fairly well made logo, now you want variants.
You may not have noticed, but this was already seen in almost every section. Lazarus’ changing colors, NYXL’s image and text variants, G2’s logo variants and 100Thieves’ 2 versions. I don’t think you’d find a good professional team without them.
One major issue my brand had was that we didn’t have variants as something we really thought about in development. What that meant, is we have a lot of difficulties applying our logo to posters, clothing material and just other applications beyond a black background.
The black and space theme worked well, especially that around the ‘O’ on the black, but the moment you have to remove the black it really had trouble standing its own two feet.
Above is the best we could do to pull it out. “What? It’s hard to see on white”, I hear you thinking. Well, this was our solution to that:
TERRIBLE! What a bad job overall at an outline, but we didn’t have the resources or frankly the desire to fix it once we had it originally created. And what if we need a circular logo? There are always applications for that. As you may guess, our solution was much better:
I’m going to need you to cut me some slack on this, this was my first organization made years and years ago. Anyways, don’t be like me, be smart. Let’s keep logo variants in the front of our minds and we build out and clean up our main version.
I’m sure you’ve seen cloud9’s famous cloud of 9s logo, extremely smart design there. But they have variants to their logo
Color switch is something they do easily thanks to their simplicity. What this allows them to do is have a lot more optionality on items like merchandise.
Believe it or not, the shoe with the white version of their logo was more popular. This is just 1 of a load of examples of them being able to use this variant.
But they also have a version with their name:
This can be used in applications where people may not know them, like press releases and advertising. They also have a logo that combines the two:
This is a simple example, but as we saw with New York Excelsior and 100 Thieves, their logo variants were very different (hell, even their names have variants; NYXL and 100T).
Additional Resource: Cloud9’s Branding Assets
The Importance of Building a Good Esports Logo
With the conclusion of those steps, I’m sure what you aren’t wondering is why you’d want a good esports logo.
I’ll be beating a dead horse here, but this is a good summary of the benefits of having a good esports logo:
- Your logo should represent who you are, people will infer how you conduct yourself based on your logo (step 1)
- A strong logo can be leveraged as a unique selling proposition with prospective sponsors and partners (step 2)
- The designs leveraged in your logo will showcase the personality of your brand and will assist in you being memorable (step 3)
- The mascot of your logo, including the symbolism of that design, will be what your community gathers around as associates you with (step 4)
- The colors of your logo will not only help you stand out but the emotional conveyance that is subconsciously associated with those colors (step 5)
- Your logo is what the community will rally around, ensuring this is something they would enjoy and can relate with is crucial (step 6)
- A poorly designed logo will be restricted in its applications and creative use. Think about what it may look like on PR, social media, merchandise and on streams (step 7)
Regardless of if it’s an esports team, a tournament organizing service, an esports platform, an esports community or an esports content creation brand, as long as you follow each of these steps, your branding should be very strong.
Applications to Think about When Creating an Esports Logo
It’s certainly helpful to know where you may use your logo. Here are some applications you may need to use your logo on:
- Social media
- Esports tournaments
- Sponsorship material
- Usage rights to sponsors and partners
- Press releases
- Streams and/or television
Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- What if you are limited to a 1:1 design?
- What if you are limited to a 3:1 or 4:1 design (with the longer side being horizontal)?
- What if you need a logo on white?
- What if you need a logo on black?
- How will your logo look on the primary color of your prospective partners, sponsors or sub-brand themes?
- Can any of your logo variants communicate the name of your brand for PR or non-endemic marketing?
- Do you have logo variants for different merchandise (clothing, hats, cups, pictures)?
- Do you have the ability to modify your logo for partnership collaborations (take for example Liquid x Marvel or how G2 made their variants on one of the resources)?
For a better example for the last aspect, watch this below and pay close attention to how liquid used their logo in the background and on their merchandise and think about how well it relates to their relationship to the Marvel universe and community: