The Skins Factory

A deeper look into the work of The Skins Factory

Project Spotlight

Designing a Video Game Brand Identity

In this post, we explore + share the process The Skins Factory went through designing the brand identity for an online game called Imperion by Travian Games.


Project Introduction

In 2009, The Skins Factory was approached by Travian Games to design the online game site and create a brand identity for their game Imperion. During the Discovery phase, we researched the core game assets via client-driven briefs & overviews and conducted interviews with stakeholders to establish a foundation on which to build the logo and subsequently the online game site.

About the Game

Imperion is an epic space building game from the makers of Travian (TravianGames). Players build up bases, construct fleets, research technology, colonize other planets, and fight for control of the galaxy. Players pick one of three races the Terrans, Xen, or Titans. Remember that last sentence as it played a strong role in designing the logo.

Designing the Typeface

Our Creative Director at the time, W. Bart, began designing a custom typeface that represented the essence of the combative & science fiction nature of the game. William designed numerous candidates for the Travian to choose from - each one more dangerous looking than the next. Use the arrows to navigate between the 8 custom typeface candidates we presented to Travian Games.


Establishing the Typeface Alloy Composition

Once the client selected the typeface (Style 6), William began designing the visual design language comps. While it appears the typeface was modeled & rendered using a 3D application, all versions were done as vectors with post-processing in Adobe Photoshop.

Six different materials based on metallic alloys were applied to the typeface. The deep alloy interior with sculpted bevel & sharp typeface carries over the danger & strength of the logo's symbol, a design you would expect from a game of combat. After a lengthy review, the client selected Style 4 (as shown below). To view the rejected comps. click or tap the arrows.


Designing the Emblem - Initial Vector Images

Our team focused on the dynamics of gameplay to steer the direction of the logo's design language. Imperion has three species fighting for domination over space. We created an iconic symbol of three blades influx to denote conflict that hover over a ring which symbolizes worlds. In some of the comps we used 3 colors that symbolize the 3 species to create visual symmetry between the logo and the game. There were multiple derivative candidates presented to the client. Each version presented in a stacked & horizontal format.


Establishing the Final Graphics

As we mentioned previously, the symbol was not modeled & rendered in a 3D application. William created the realistic lighting effects, battle-worn alloy texture, and deep beveled text in the post-processing Photoshop phase. It’s a testament to his design process. When we first approached him back in 2002, he was making a name for himself as the preeminent Kaleidoscope Mac theme designer. He was always ahead of the design curve, surpassing the visual design languages of the day.

Here’s an example of a port of his early work he did for The Skins Factory for our Hyperdesk Windows Theme application. The original design originated in the early 2000s - back when Windows XP was the dominant design template:


Omega | Hyperdesk Windows Theming Kit © Copyright. William Bart. All Rights Reserved

It’s no wonder Apple offered him a position (twice). He would go on to turn down Apple and stayed with us for over 16 years, designing some of the world’s best known skins and UIs. So it’s no surprise that when it came to designing the visual language for the logo, it was right on point. Here’s a look at the final results after Billy worked his magic…

Resolution: 5952 x 3660 Pixels
Format: TIFF Print + EPS Print + PSD + Vector Source
Style: 3D + 2D Negative White + Positive Black
Orientation: Stacked + Horizontal

Full Size.png

All Imperion Images © Copyright Travian Games GmbH. All Rights Reserved.