I really like trains and everything train related. So it’s no wonder they feature regularly in my photography. I think one of my personal favourite Instagram posts is of a train in front of a beautiful sunset.
The colours are just beautiful, even though the ghosting from the HDR of my phone camera is a bit distracting. Another picture I really like is this one. It just really captures my imagination and I love the contrast between the city to the left and the forest to the right. But let me tell you a secret: The forest is only a thin sliver of trees between the endless sprawl of the city.
But why am I telling you this? It goes back to my last post about my website logo. Someone asked me how I chose the font for my name in my logo, and someone else suggested I try to play a bit with different fonts, but to be honest, I didn’t want to.
I didn’t want to because that font had become near and dear to my heart over hour-long journeys through the German rail network, or at least I thought so. Its name is literally rail script, so why should I have been mistaken? Alas, I was mistaken indeed: Bahnschrift was actually developed by Microsoft for their Windows UI and is at least rumoured to replace Segoe UI at some point. However, it is, in fact, a variant of the DIN 1451 standard I so closely associate with travelling.
At least I found the picture above, combining my beloved interests trains and cool typefaces. That helps in a moment of sadness about a lost writeup opportunity.
So what now? I might actually change the font in my logo. But I think I need to first finish a header image for my website. (The default WordPress one irks me a bit.) And then I might need to think about my logo from an entirely new perspective. Honestly, I think the typesetting doesn’t even work that well especially not if you reduce it down to the few pixels dedicated to it in the tabs of your browser, but I don’t know yet with what to replace it.
I think Squarespace lead me to the site of Logojoy. Sounds good. I need a logo and I want to have some joy. I entered my name, was asked a few questions, like the colour I’d prefer or what suggested logos I’d enjoy and got a result. But after I was asked to pay 20 US-$ for a low-resolution copy of my black name on dark grey backing. I was kind of disappointed. I clicked something and without much input, I had edited the logo and added a meaningless symbol. What a great addition! But still, that wasn’t something I was willing to pay 20 US-$ for.
I was determined to try myself, but how? I had had some brushes against Adobe’s creative cloud apps before, either because someone else was using them, or because I had searched for a creative app, but had then decided to use something cheaper. (Like when I chose to use the open source Audacity for a small audio-editing project instead of trying out Audition.) This time I decided to finally try an Adobe App (besides old trustworthy, but kind of crummy Acrobat Reader). I downloaded the trial install package, started the install process and went to make dinner.
I decided to fiddle a bit, but after a few unsuccessful tries with blue gradient leaves on a blue gradient background, that looked just weird. I decided to go for a square on square approach. I first tried to constrict myself to black and white and had planned to do a negative version, but It looked too empty. I decided to add a gradient.
Still, the space below my name looked empty. Not as empty as before, but still quite empty. Now, accustomed to the gradient tool. I wanted to try and make something that looked vaguely like space. I changed the gradient colours to blue hues and changed the gradient type from linear to circular to simulate the curvature of a nearby planet. I moved my name downwards so it would end up looking a bit like it was in orbit. But now there was still quite the white blue space. In essence, I hadn’t changed much but the colour of the void above or beyond my name. I needed to change something. So what could I possibly add? A space station? Too complex for my first try. I decided on something easier: stars. A boatload of stars.
After sharing the two designs with some friends on a discord server. The overwhelming majority was in favour of the space-design. But someone asked a question that made me think: “Is the background a specific constellation?”
This hadn’t even come to my mind. I had just placed a few random dots without much thought. But there was a specific constellation I liked. Cygnus. Cygnus, the swan.
I tried to recreate the constellation from memory first. I just pushed and pulled a few surrounding stars in the vague shape of Cygnus, but something was amiss.
I had recreated a mini void. Granted, space is mostly empty, but space is also vast and filled with thousands of stars. I had to change something. I mean, it wasn’t only factually incorrect. It was also just visually unappealing.
In the same step, I decided to finally get a real picture of Cygnus and retrace it, and it was worth it. To my woes, I had quite badly misjudged the angles and perceived distance of the swan’s tail.
At the end of this process, I’m quite chuffed with the work I was able to do in only a few hours. I have to thank the guinea pigs that gave their feedback. And I have to say I love Adobe’s Illustrator. It looks more pleasing and is to no one’s surprise way more intuitive than GIMP.
The two lone questions that remain, will I pay for a Creative Cloud subscription when my trial ends in two weeks and will the logo work on small scapes. I am quite sure what the answer to the first question will be, but I have my doubts with the second one.