Computer Game Developers Conference. 1997

SYMMETRY. No symmetry here, but the symbols are clearly allude to some of the oldest, most basic computer games: Pong, Space War, and Pac Man.

INSPIRATION. Created for the Computer Games Developers Conference, being held this year April 25-29 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, near San Jose, California. Next year it will be henld May 2-7 at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California.

STORY. The Computer Game Developers Conference is my favorite conference. It was started by game designer Chris Crawford in the early 80s. Every year since it has grown substantially. Attendance is now many thousand. It still retains a whacky creative edge while addressing such diverse interesting issues as 3d modeling, online network performance, storytelling, user interface design, software prototyping and education. I like the conference because it is full of do-ers, not just commentators.
In the past I have talked at the conference on designing puzzle games. This year I hosted a roundtable discussion on Designing Online Puzzle Games.
I designed this logo in 1991 and it has been used ever since. Along with the Silicon Graphics logo, this is probably my most successful logo design. The design is playful but sophisticated, as befits the event. The four little symbols not only allude to computer games, they can be used as graphic devices in printed literature. The dots introduce an element of motion, and can be continued off the edge of the page on stationery. Originally I colored the letters pastel orange and blue, but the conference wisely changed the colors to red and blue, which are graphically stronger and easier to match.
One of the main considerations in designing this logo was to incorporate the entire name, not just the initials CGDC which conference attendees tend to use among themselves. I figured that the logo would often be seen by people not familiar with the event, for whom the initials would be meaningless. My inspiration was graphic designer and lettering magician Herb Lubalin, who often created logos on even longer names by playfully turning some of the letters (especially O's) into shapes.
The letter uses a heavily modified version of Herb Lubalin's typeface Avant Garde, which has an appropriate geometric cleanliness. I widened the T and other letters to improve letter spacing; without hand-tuning, Avant Garde has particularly poor spacing. In particular I widened the D quite a bit so it would not look strange stacked wih the initials C and G.
The trickiest part of the design is the way the dots interleave with the E and O of DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE. The spacing here determined the spacing of the other dots. Later this design was adapted to make a similar logo for the Computer Game Developers Association. Fortunately the same dot spacing words with the S of Association. If the second letter had been a T, not an S, the logo would have been in trouble!

Copyright 2000 Scott Kim.
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