EPHEMERAL: LOGO DESIGN ANALYSIS

Designing a video game logo is a difficult task, especially when there are requirements that go beyond the representation of the game itself. One of them is when the same logo needs to work for sequels or spin-off, making it difficult to choose elements to incorporate without losing meaning in the other parts of the video game series. To solve the above dilemma, the designers have to put into practice diverse methods.

One of them is when a generic component is used as a base in the logos of all the parts of the same game series and complemented with graphics that allow the distinction between one and the other. As an example of this is the logos of the “Final Fantasy” games, where the constant piece is the shape of the letters of the main name, which is always the same or, at least, is very similar. To this is added a particular figure that is inspired by an essential character, object or event of each installment. For instance, in “Final Fantasy VI” it’s a Magiteck Armor piloted by Terra, one of the main characters; or in “Final Fantasy VIII” it’s the drawing of the protagonist couple, Rinoa and Squall, embracing each other.

“Final Fantasy VI” logo
Image from Final Fantasy Portal Site
“Final Fantasy VIII” logo
Image from Final Fantasy Portal Site

Another technique, akin to the one already described, is to keep the structure of the logo and modify or add different textures and colors to make a distinction. “Code: Realize” applies this method since its logo is formed by the name and the silhouette of the protagonist, which is maintained in the continuations and alternate stories because the main character doesn’t change. So in the first game “Code: Realize ~Guardian Rebirth~” the shape of the logo is introduced with brown and gold colors. “Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~” replaces the brown tones with yellows and includes a texture of roses on the far right. “Code: Realize ~ Wintertide Miracles~” uses blues and a snowflake texture instead of the roses one. By the way, an analysis of the logo of the first game can be read in a post on this blog

“Code: Realize ~Guardian Rebirth~” logo
Image from the Official Site
“Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~” logo
Image from Aksys Games
“Code: Realize ~ Wintertide Miracles~” logo
Image from the Official Site

However, the logo that will be analyzed here is inspired by the atmosphere and the environment where the story of the game takes place and which is preserved in all installments. This is the one from the “Ephemeral” otome. Then, knowing this, let’s get started!

BUT…WHAT’S EPHEMERAL?

Before starting the analysis, it’s good to know a little about this game. “Ephemeral” is an otome developed by HUNEX CO., LTD. released in 2016 on Google Play and Apple Store. The player controls a girl who belongs to the zombie race and who has the default name of Cloe, which can be modified. She lives in a peaceful but secluded town surrounded by wire fences, making her feel like trapped inside a cage. Despite having the dream of knowing the outside world, she is told that she must not leave her town and that she should only aspire to the same fate as the other inhabitants: kill herself before the end of her life. However, her destiny changes when she receives an invitation to join a prestigious school attended by only the most talented students of different races. This event will allow Cloe to meet new people and realize that forbidden love overpassed races.

THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE LOGO

This particular logo doesn’t use the protagonist figure as in “Code: Realize” as this limits its usefulness to only when Cloe is the main character. Therefore, this opens the way for new installments with protagonists of other races, which happened in 2019 when HuneX released “Ephemeral ~ Miniature Garden ~”. Not sure if the developers thought this possibility beforehand, but since in “Ephemeral ~ Miniature Garden ~” a mermaid is the main character, avoiding Cloe in the logo design was the best decision.

With the aforementioned, it can be noted that this game has the characteristic of dividing society into different races. These come from classic humanoid creatures that appear in horror and fantasy stories such as werewolves, hollow men, mummies, vampires, demons, witches, mermaids and zombies. This large number of races complicate their representation in a single logo, also taking into account that the creators can decide to add or remove some. So, changing the line of thought a bit to narrow down ideas, it’s best to contemplate the general theme or environment of the game.

In this case, let’s get the atmosphere of the game, so, remembering the races and reading the description of both games from “Ephemeral” on Google Play, the recurring concepts are “dark”, “horror” and “fantasy”. As an atmosphere, these adjectives can lead to a particular place, and that is a “haunted house”. When observing the logo, it can be concluded that it’s correct to think that this type of place served as an influence for the creation of the logo due to the presence of bat wings, cobwebs and crosses.

“Ephemeral” logo from the Official site of the game

A HAUNTED HOUSE TRADUCED TO A LOGO

As previously mentioned, the “Ephemeral” logo seeks to represent the atmosphere of the game, allowing the player to know what to expect from it just by looking at the logo. To achieve this, the concept that serves as inspiration is that of “haunted house” since this type of scenario reminds of darkness, fear and, above all, strange creatures, these last ones being what is full “Ephemeral”.

With this in mind, let’s analyze the most representative elements of a haunted house that are used precisely in the logo of this otome, the first being the spider webs. The reason why they are always present in this type of house is due to the lack of attention and cleanliness. This is obvious since the humans would be in charge of these tasks, but they do not stay in haunted houses because the purpose of the latter is to scare them away. So, the emptiness and lack of neatness of these locations invite the spiders to inhabit them and put lairs and traps made with their webs. In the logo, these webs are drawn above the name, and it seems as if they were born from the central circle that contains a rose. These extend to form scalene triangles that have as base what appears to be the imaginary envelope that the typeface has. This invisible envelope is a safe area where other designs can’t enter to allow better readability of the main text, so the webs and the additional text below respect this space. It should be noted that this rule can be broken if necessary as does the sequel “Miniature Garden” where the “E” go through this space. In this case the idea is to cut the large blank space caused by the small caps to achieve a more aesthetic logo.

The spider webs in the logo of “Ephemeral”
Photo by Bradley Dunn on Unsplash
The invisible envelope around the main name.

In the logo, the spider webs not only represent themselves, but are also used to introduce another classic resource in stories of terror: the cemetery. To do this, designers decided to take advantage of the drawing of the webs and utilize it as a terrain to place crosses and thus create the abstraction of a graveyard. The reason why it’s a good idea to introduce this concept in the logo is because, in the first place, who has not heard of horror stories happening in places built on a cemetery? And secondly, burial grounds are very common in a haunted house as well to justify the presence of ghosts, since these can only exist if there is dead (traditionally).

The crosses on the spider web simulate a graveyard.

The last figure to comment on is the wings that obviously came from the animal that has them: the bat. It should be noted that due to the nocturnal habits of the bats and the misconception that they can see in the dark, they were and continue to be considered sinister inhabitants of the night that have caused fear among humans throughout history. The above makes them the essential icon of horror stories. Thus, something that represents bats can’t be missing in a logo that arose from the idea of a haunted house, in view of the fact that it seeks to reflect darkness and terror.

The bat wings in the logo give a perfect touch to represent darkness and terror.
Photo from The New York Times

BEHIND SO MUCH HORROR, WHY DOES THE ROMANCE FEEL?

Although when looking at the logo, one can perceive that the game will take place in an atmosphere of darkness, the feeling it conveys is one of romance. The reason behind this is at first glance because of the type of font employed in the name. In this case, the font is a serif which, when combined with what has already been described, manages to transform terror into a feeling of elegance. With this, adding the necessary romantic icons to achieve an otome logo feels more organic.

Before going into the amorous details, it’s good to highlight that the letters have irregular lines for better integration with the bat wings and to maintain a low level of elegance, since the romances that are treated are youthful.

Now, yes, the detail that represents love is the one located in the upper central part of the logo and it’s a rose seen from above. This flower is commonly associated with romance, so its use is very successful in this situation.

The rose in the logo.
Photo by Ergita Sela on Unsplash

A TOUCH OF COLOR

Finally, color is always an important piece to consider. The “Epehemeral” logo applies black and different shades of purple. The first is to emphasize the idea of darkness raised from the explanation of the game and the logo. Because purple is considered rare in nature, giving it a supernatural aura for centuries, it makes it the ideal shade to reflect the characters, events and places of this otome. The purples applied in the radial gradient go from violet predominant blue that is in the spider webs, to a red-purple that allow an almost red in the rose to approach the symbolism of love.

Colors in the otome logo “Ephemeral”

When creating a logo there are many points that must be considered and one of them is sometimes to think about designing not only for one, but for a series of video games that belong to the same franchise. There are several methods to achieve this, and this post explained one of them using as an example the logo of the otome “Ephemeral” create by HuneX. This previous analysis allows to see that there are moments in which it’s better to use the atmosphere of the game as inspiration and not particular elements of it to accomplish a work that it’s not only aesthetic, but also that meets the requirements that arise at the beginning of the project.

Well, with this last paragraph I conclude this post and I hope you like it. If you want to talk more about the design of this logo, please comment or send me a message so that we can have a nice conversation not only on this topic but on many others. Until then, see you in my next post!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

I'm a Graphic Designer in love with Otomes and JRPG. I like the interface design area and that's why I really like to talk about this theme. You can win me over with a good videogame Illustration book and a good capuccino.

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