Our Initial Scope
In our initial brief, FallCon wanted two designs: a FallCon33 design that acknowledged the disappointment of having to cancel the 2020 convention while still celebrating their yearly event and heritage, and a second design not specifically tied to a specific year that could be used on an ongoing basis.
The FallCon33 Design
Our discovery process involves banter, sketches, and attempts at humour as we try to come up with good ideas to get started with. This is often more daunting than it sounds, especially when you’re on a deadline. Having good ideas “on the clock” is a lot harder than having them occur to you at random times. It takes discipline as well as patience and faith with the process that the crap you initially start off with will eventually be good if you continue to put the work into it.
The real trick with the FallCon33 design is that we needed it to be a decent event logo without it being too detailed to work as a t-shirt.
We had a couple different ideas in sketch, at varying levels of refinement, but in the end we went with an idea that the good folks at FallCon had suggested: The idea of a series of meeples in a line, with one of the meeples having fallen down. At first, we weren’t certain if the idea would work well or not. It wasn’t until we moved past the sketch phase and into the illustration phase that ideas started to flow, and things started to come together. 3D meeples were rendered, staged, and coloured.
A comics-style swearing bubble was added to balance out the negative space above the fallen meeple, as well as emphasising the general feeling of 2020 as a year. A drop shadow was added to give the design a bit more depth, and to make the meeples feel more grounded (rather than just floating on a white background).
The final touch was figuring out how to include tagline, and the decision to make it look like the meeple had fallen into the tagline, knocking it about like a line of bowling pins. We rotated and twisted the lettering individually to try and make the placement of each letter look like it had been knocked there organically.
Once the concept was approved, we then adapted the design for print on a shirt. The colorful cheerful look of the FallCon33 design was one we wanted to maintain for the shirts, but it was still a bit too detailed. Every color used in the design increased the cost of the shirt print, so we needed to simplify it a bit more. We removed the drop shadow from below the meeples (which would not have worked on the dark shirt color FallCon had decided upon), and came up with a way to use the orange color already used in the fallen meeple to create the “splat” effect underneath it.
In the end, while clearly having differences, the shirt design still managed to convey the same look and feel as the web version.
FallCon Classic T-Shirt Design
For the second shirt, we had initially been thinking of just a large version of the new FallCon icon, but quickly decided that was too boring. Instead we wanted a vintage feel to capture the heritage and purpose for which FallCon had been created for all the way back in 1987. Initially, we played around with a tagline of “Helping people push wooden bits on cardboard since 1987” which was simply too long. We eventually settled on “Cards, Cardboard, and Community”, in conjunction with FallCon’s regular tagline, to try and express the magic of the convention as a community event, as well as the community-building that FallCon pursues throughout the year.