Original Logo Design : VitaSDK01 Jan 2017
I was wandering through the high grass of twitter when I stumbled upon this:
So, yeah, I liked the idea, why not ? It's been quite some time since I've been following the underground console hacking scene, why not give something back? even if it has a tiny impact. Immediately, I fired up CorelDraw and started sketching, then came up with a not so interesting design.
Can someone make a logo & banner for vitasdk? Nothing copyrighted/trademarked please!— Yifan (@yifanlu) December 9, 2016
I was thinking about the "movements" of a program from state to state, hence the arrows. @yifan response was an implicit "meh", after staring at the logo for a while, my own response changed to an explicit "meh". Some guys were experimenting with the vita handheld shape, @yifan seemed to like the idea.
I thought better, after all, the bulk introduced by the shape of the vita would make an ugly logo, that's what I thought. So I abstracted the vita shape into a combination of well known programming elements. On a side note, the choice of colors was influenced by two facts; (1) the PlayStation® brand main color, and (2) it's my preferred color :P
If you ask me, It's an interesting logo, although somewhere on the edge between cool and ugly. I didn't want to use someone's idea of incorporating the vita shape, this would bring back some very painful memories where I've been the victim of daylight plagiarism, and I didn't want anyone to experience the pain.
So, I waited for the one who introduced the idea to make a refined logo, nothing showed up. This is when @yifan asked me directly if I can incorporate the vita shape into the logo. I had some doubts, I wanted to create the most awesome logo possible. The vita shape was a hindrance, and sometimes, the client's (@yifan's) suggestions go against the message he intends to transmit through his product's (vitasdk's) logo.
Vitasdk is an essential tool specific to vita homebrew developers, I thought to myself, a vita shape in the logo would make it look very generic and confuse a lot of non-developers ! But, hey, vitasdk is meant for developers ! why would I care about non-developers, It's not like they could "download" vitasdk as a simple app/vpk and "install" it in their PSVita ! No way, let's calm down and incorporate the vita shape, just focus on making it look nice, okay ? A quick trace of a Vita promotional image did the trick.
There you go ! Thankfully, @yifan did not specify how I should incorporate the vita shape, so I took the liberty to overflow the "sdk" acronym away from the screen, since hackers like things that overflow, and to make the "sdk" part the most prominent. In the end, @yifan seemed to like the logo, he wanted me to incorporate some programming/dev elements, obviously.
This should have been the primary focus, I thought. But well, someone like him surely knows what he's talking about. This wasn't easy, too many possibilities arose. I didn't want to mess too much with the large parts of the logo, I decided to augment it by only adding elements that shouldn't distort the overall look, but maybe make it prettier, and convey the programming message on the way.
Braces, hash, semicolon and asterisks, probably the most prominent characters in a C program. The logo felt a little bit cluttered, but somewhat, it started to convey that programming feel @yifan was after, especially N°1 where the logo is wrapped inside braces, similar to a block of code in a C program, and N°4 where the word "vita" is followed by (); to convey a function call.
This was probably a step in the right direction, I said, I only need to do more refinements, maybe dig a little deeper. This is where the second system effect kicked in. Let's add more details to the vita shape, use cooler fonts and enhance the colors. I figured, to convey a programming/dev feel, I don't need to glue hundreds of KLOCs to the logo, instead, let's use the single most common element in a C program; the braces. The results were nice. (though I didn't have to close the braces, don't worry, I don't intend to compile a logo)
I toyed with various levels of details for the vita for each prototype as well as different fonts and positions of the "sdk" part. A couple of tweets mentioned N°3 as being the best looking of the lot, and I seemed to lean toward that way too, after all, the logo looked more symmetrical because of the well balanced font, and the vita wasn't too cluttered with details.
This combination of elements created a well balanced and clean logo that seemed to be inching closer to target. @yifan had other thoughts, he tweeted that he liked the minimalism of the previous prototypes and the colors of this prototype. Interesting, lets combine both ideas. I only had to tone down the details and keep the coloring, while still conveying the programming feel, easy.
I took the chance to make the logo more symmetrical. The end result was quite interesting, it still needed some subtle refinements, but overall, this looked like a cool logo for an awesome project. But, the developers saw otherwise, I don't know the details, but maybe they wanted to keep it as simple as possible, "simple is better than complicated". I can't disagree with that. @devnoname120 asked me to use the first vita shape prototype as is and just don't overflow the "sdk" from the vita screen. Enough with overflows.
Moments after that, @yifan said that everyone agrees on that logo. That was a delight to hear. A good developer will always choose the simplest solution instead of a more complicated one, that's a well known fact among programmers. @yifan and co are well beyond the standards of a good developer, this principle must have been ingrained in their very bones, to the point that it'll affect their everyday decisions. The decision for vitasdk logo wasn't an exception.
Usually, I design logos for small and medium sized companies through logo design contests. Designing a logo for a project related to a console hacking scene was a dream I never dared to think about. So my thanks go to all the devs involved in the vita hacking scene, and to @yifan exceptionally. This is a start.
You can download the source vector files of the final logo from below. (Opens in a new tab)