Challenging myself to make a gaming team logo to compete with the best. Only then can I call myself an eSports logo designer!

eSports logo process

Executive Summary | Abstract | TL;DR

Colin Finkle tries to design an eSports logo. This is for a yet-to-be-created gaming team called: Strike Team. The Strike Team logo must have a strong concept, be bold in its line work, read from a distance, have a strong color scheme, not use gradients (because of apparel printing / embroidery), take more creative risks than a corporate logo, have a sense of movement, and be novel. The team also requires a small scale logo, medium format logo, and full logo.

He starts with sketch concepts with the theme of one graphic element hitting another. There are three promising concepts: a hammer impacting the name in a shield, a negative space trajectory through an ST, and a 3D hammer coming down on the name. Colin develops all three in Adobe Illustrator.

The 3D hammer concept is chosen and refined. The concept of the “Strike Team” text being shattered by the impact is added. The hammer, font, and background are tweaked and perfected. Colin uses the logo as the basis for the small and medium scale logos.

1500 words  |  7 minute read

Last week, we did our eSports Logo Tournament, and it gave me the itch to design a gaming team logo. Hopefully, we will convince some of you that an online eSports logo maker is not the way to go and get you to find a professional eSports logo designer instead.

The design here for Strike Team is the copyright of Colin Finkle, but you can buy it along with the domain name, Twitter account, FB page, Instagram handle, etc. in our store. If you want a custom logo, you can contact BMB here.

What did we learn from our eSports Logo Tournament that we can apply to Strike Team? That there is no formula for success for gaming team logo design, but there are things to consider when designing to make it successful.

Sports logos must:

  • Have a strong concept
  • Be bold in their line work
  • Read from a distance
  • Have a strong color scheme
  • Take more creative risks than a corporate logo
  • Not use gradients because of limitations in the embroidery and screen printing of apparel.
  • Have a sense of movement
  • And be novel / different / exciting

Step 1

Logo Project Brief

The starting point for all successful logo design projects is the logo brief. Skip this step at your parrel; a well put together brief starts the project on second base by focusing the designer. Focus in design reduces wasted time / money, and increases the chances of a successful outcome.

The intention of a logo brief is always to communicate to the designers:
1) What is expected? (how many designs? on black? small scale?)
2) What is predetermined? (name, color, URL, etc.)
3) What would determine a successful design?

What is expected? We are going to follow JUST Creatives Responsive Logo Design Guide, so we want three designs: large scale, medium scale, and small scale. We would like a logo that is just a simple symbol, as well as one with the wordmark integrated underneath (this is pretty standard for the logos found in competitive gaming.) The logo should have an outline and work on both dark and light backgrounds; so no need for separate logos here as you see a lot of corporate logos have two sets, one for light background and one for dark backgrounds.

What has been predetermined? We know the team name is “Strike Team”. The URL is going to be The team colors are open for the designers to come up with but should be unique but be limited to three or a maximum four colors. There should be no gradients, as this logo is going to be embroidered on hats.

What are the success factors for this design? Thankfully, we have already determined that from our eSports Logo Tournament. Feel free to use this list in your brief when commissioning your own gaming team logo.

The Strike Team logo must:

  • Have a strong concept
  • Be bold in its line work
  • Read from a distance
  • Have a strong color scheme
  • Take more creative risks than a corporate logo
  • Not use gradients because of limitations in the embroidery and screen printing of apparel.
  • Have a sense of movement
  • And be novel / different / exciting

Step 2

Sketch Logo Concepts

My first step was to do a page of sketch concepts. The sole intent of the sketches is to get them out of my imagination to free up space for new ideas. I usually don’t show anyone these because I would want them to be “prettier” which would slow me down.

Sketch concept of an eSports logo called Strike Team

Three promising concepts emerged through sketching. One is the hammer striking on an angle. The second is the negative space trajectory through the “ST.” And the last is the 3D hammer making the impact.

Step 3

Rough Vector Logo Concepts

The sketch concepts contain the raw idea for a logo, but whether that works out in the real world is another matter.

We need to go into Adobe Illustrator, our vector graphic design program of choice, and build out the concept into a rough logo to see if the concept is still as impactful as it was in a sketch.

eSports logo concept for Strike team. Crest style.

This was the first concept.
This logo could probably work with some refinement, but the concept became weaker in vector, not stronger as we were expecting. I did love the badge concept, as it’s police reference had a nice vibe of authority. That would be a useful brand association for a gaming team… psyche out the other teams!

eSports logo concept for Strike team. Negative space style.

This was the second concept I pursued.
This one just didn’t work out. It was a fight to make it work already, so I abandoned it. I would not show this logo to a client, but I will with you for full transparency for the process. Sometimes concepts are just not meant to be.

eSports logo concept for Strike team. Hammer coming down.

This is the third and by far the best concept.
The logo concept had the dynamics feel and risk-taking we were after. The illustration of the hammer was just working from the get-go. I knew this was the one as I was designing it.
So those are the three concepts.

Step 4

Logo Refinement

After a lot of massaging, this is where I ended up:

Strike team eSports logo. A hammer coming down and shattering "Strike". Team is on the bottom.

I used a new font in “Strike” and shattered it to add to the concept of the hammer striking the word mark.

I angled the “STR” up, and the “IKE” in the other direction to make the impact look a little stronger. This angling was so subtle that it barely was visible and it created problems in the middle of the word if I angled it anymore. So my solution was to connect the “STR” tops together and then I matched that with the “KE” on the other side; it looks nice and is a little nod to Star Wars which eSports players and fans will appreciate.

The hammer is relatively unchanged from the vector concept, but a highlight in white was added to bring it off the background when the logo appears on the dark blue, as it is in the above picture.

The explosion changed a great deal. It was integrated with the bounding box of the wordmark, and some spikes were taken away while others were moved. I moved the big spike to the left of the hammer so that it would be we touching, and act as a natural background to pop the hammer off the dark background. It worked really well.

Everything worked out really well, and I am really proud of this logo. I think it is as good as any of the logos we saw in the eSports Logo Tournament, which was my daunting goal when I started this project. It will represent an eSports team well.

Strike Steam eSports logo in large format, medium format, and small scale.

Further tweaking was required to make it work in medium format and small scale. The reason for our responsive logo set is to make sure the brand is recognizable even if there is limited space for the logo.

The recognizability was relatively easy to achieve for medium format by removing the hammer and moving the explosion. But the small scale logo, the one you would see on Twitter or as an icon, required a lot of changing so that it was still recognizable as a hammer in motion, and an explosion. The cracked semi-circle was designed because I needed something for the hammer to hit. I like to work within a circle because many social media sites crop logos in a circle shape, and the cracked semi-circle worked for that as well.


Gaming team logos are not easy

I was surprised at how challenging this was relative to the corporate logos I am designing all the time.

Creating beauty and movement out of the complexity is challenging enough, but you have so many more details to mind than a business logo. It is also a challenge to make the logo work on all the team colors; I would feel good about the Strike Team logo when working with it on dark blue, but then switch the background to the team yellow, and it would completely lose it’s impactfulness and need to be adjusted

But there is nothing wrong with a challenge, assuming you are working on something rewarding. I can definitely say that this was rewarding. I was so inspired by the logos in our eSports Logo Tournament that I just had to try to design one myself. I feel the Strike Team logo is as good as any of the other logos.

But what do you think? Great? Good? Needs Improvement? Leave a comment below. I am always open to feedback.

Would you like me to design a sports logo for your gaming team? Please contact BMB and we can get the project started.

© The ‘Strike Team’ logo is the copyright of Colin Finkle. All rights reserved.