REDESIGNING DEGENESIS, WHERE DO WE START?
December 2012. We were still in the early conceptual phase. Chris and I met several times to discuss, what bothered us about the old edition. The talks were great! Looking at something you produced over 10 years ago, with a certain amount of distance and maturity gives you a feeling for what you could have done better and what you should think about in the next steps ahead.
One of the things that bothered me incredibly, was my explosive and incomprehensible layout in the first edition. Logos and textures were done without a proper concept, shots from the hip, and afterthoughts. I didn’t like the grungy-ness of the early 2000’s anymore and felt it was dated and overdone. I envisioned a far cleaner, moderate and timeless design for the REBIRTH EDITION.
I knew just the right guy for the job… but I had to get him here first.
I called Dennis Nußbaum, a childhood friend of mine. Dennis is a spectacular graphic & fashion designer, deeply integrated in urban and hip-hop culture. He was the graffiti artist, I was the guy with the sketchbook. He bombed walls and I drew characters for my friends. Since we were kids we always wanted to do a project together, but our clientele and industries lay too far apart to make things happen. With DEGENESIS there was an opportunity. I wanted to bring someone on board from the left field. Someone who could help me design the new look in a fresh and untainted way, who wasn’t spoiled by the RPG-fantasy-swirly-grungy-overdone shit that was on the market everywhere.
“Dude, I need you here, January 1st. We’re relaunching this game that we did ten years ago and I need someone who can make it look fucking cool!”
“I can’t man, I’m in the middle of setting up my new clothing brand. I can’t commit to anything. I’d love to, but it’s going to break my neck!”
“Dennis, this is the last chance we might get. Tomorrow I might get hit by a bus, and we’ll never be able to work on something again.”
“But I have no clue about this RPG-stuff. This is all weird to me. These characters have strange names, I don’t even know what it means. What the fuck is an Usudi?”
“Usudi’s are this tribe…, that errr..fuck it, it takes too long to explain all of this. Just swing by. We’ll kill it together. You don’t need to know what all of this is about, if you knew you’d already be tainted and I want a pair of fresh eyes on this.”
“Oh man, I’m going to be in so much trouble for this. Ok, I’m coming.”
Two weeks later Dennis was in Berlin and started working with us on DEGENESIS.
Before any illustrations were finalized or any texts were written, we wanted to develop the design language for the Logo, the overall typography, the feeling you would have if you would just glance at the future product.
We imagined a strong and bold, but readable logo, that had a touch of elegance by using tall and towering letters. We wanted something that comes across like a unified shape, without serifs, curves and lower case letters. But we also wanted to integrate the Suncross into the logo somehow. This design element is deeply rooted within the mythology of DEGENESIS, the numbers 4, 8, 12 and 16 are integral parts of the metaplot and the numerical meanings allow for clues within the setting. The images below show the exploration and the different design approaches we took in these early conceptual days.
When we (eventually) came out with the final result, it seemed like the project was about to become a reality. A logo is such a fundamental piece in the design process as all other steps in the design will be influenced by the typographic language of the logo. For designers, this is the base skeleton, that you can coat with meat and skin later on.
“Holy shit, I designed my first RPG logo. This shit is like Lord of the Rings. But awesome! Can I go home now?”
“No, we still have to do the logos for ALL the cults, cultures and much much more.”
Poor Dennis didn’t know what he had signed up for.