This cartoon logo featuring a soldier in military gear (machine gun and cigar firmly in teeth, of course) was created for a military gamer who wanted a custom logo for his online identity.
The client approached me with simple, candid project details: “I’m a black guy who games online with a bunch of white guys”, and with a nod to the Token cartoon character from South Park, his gamer name was created. And he wanted a cartoon logo to match.
I knew from the start I wanted to include actual tokens in the logo, which with the military theme I thought had a fun “spoils of war” angle, not to mention general gaming use of tokens — checkers, anyone? the play on words was a third layer of meaning in the illustration. Piles of gold tokens with spend machine gun shell casings came to mind.
Of course the character had to be a burly man of African-American heritage, and military gear was a must. In particular, the client requested the hi-tech “Call Of Duty” approach to the helmet gear and gadgets — cameras, scopes and so on.
With intended use as an avatar, it was important this logo worked well at smaller sizes (which is ideal for logos in general). But that meant making the details like the war gadgets nice and “chunky” so they read well, but still had the detail necessary to get the gag across.
The stogie in the jaw was a trope that couldn’t be passed up.
My initial sketches were a bit off the mark. The full body made the character details too small, and the client wanted him to be more of a tough guy than a lunatic — although he did ask for a wild looking character to begin.
I had some ideas for including a Ranger shield as the background, but again all these details ended up making the artwork more cluttered and less ideal for a logo. And definitely no good for an avatar image. Those need to be compact and clear.
The client loved the final logo artwork, as do I. It was one of those projects where the client benefitted from setting the artist in a direction, and letting him go and dig into the project as if it were his own. That’s the secret to getting a superb logo out of an artist.