New season, new look: The evolution of the Girly Geek Blog

I don’t know if I’ve ever told the story of my very first logo for the Girly Geek Blog. Back before the coffee mug, before the various iterations of fancy typography, before the attempt at drawing a set of controller buttons within a leafy frame, there was a cute little bird with a speech bubble containing a controller.

It actually doesn’t exist anywhere anymore, not even on the Wayback Machine or the extensive history of the Canva account I was using at the time. I tried finding it, for what it’s worth.

It never made it onto the site, though, for two reasons:

  1. I was too worried about copyright infringement because I had used a stock illustration for the bird
  2. I have never really had a talent for drawing, so I couldn’t create my own bird

So I made one that I knew would be fine, and carried on.

That left a little bit of a gap in me, though. I always wanted to try and create something passably creative and all my own for this blog, which is why it’s been through a few iterations over the years. As I learn new techniques and styles, the first thing I want to do is try them on for size here.

I don’t think I ever felt truly satisfied with something until now, and it’s all thanks to Shane’s stream.

Designing an entirely unique logo

A few months ago, I shared Shane’s story about men’s mental health and how he was working on a stream to raise awareness of the fact that mental health is a serious issue that affects everyone, even if we don’t see it. I wanted to help, obviously, so I figured hey, I’ve spent a long time doing graphic and web design, maybe I can work on that.

At first, I tried doing my standard approach of lettering as a logo, but where that’s worked for me and my blog for so long, it felt lazy for his stream. I was stuck for a while on what to do instead, given my knowledge of the fact that I can’t draw to save my life, but the answer came to me as I was working on an animated overlay for him.

The secret was understanding that in Illustrator, I don’t need to be able to draw. I just have to be able to work with lines and dots, and it can help me with the rest. So after three days of figuring out those lines and dots, his stream’s logo underwent what I like to call an extreme logo makeover:

A new creative confidence—and a new look

I won’t lie, spending all that time and learning how to draw in a way I never could before gave me a new kind of confidence. I was sure that if I could make his logo happen, I could do something similarly creative for mine and finally fill the gap I’d felt for years, ever since that little bird.

After several iterations and some peer feedback because the early rounds definitely looked like 99, here’s where I ended up.

The graphic

Part of what I wanted to do with this design was create a double entendre. At first glance, it mostly looks like a closing set of quotation marks, which might seem random—but when you consider that this blog is where I share ideas, thoughts, and opinions in my own words, it makes a lot of sense.

When you look closer, it starts to take on the appearance of gg, the iconic sign-off—and the initials for the blog, conveniently enough. That actually wasn’t planned, believe it or not!

So in one little graphic, it points both to the nerdism present here, and the fact that it’s my own words.

The technique

This is where I had a lot of fun. The design of the logo itself is supposed to mimic blocks—specifically, Tetris blocks. At first it was just a fun design that I had seen and liked the look of, but as I worked with it, carefully arranging blocks into my design, it started to feel more and more like it was meant to be.

After all, how often do I talk about building things here? About housing glitches in Final Fantasy XIV, where you take set shapes and create something unexpected? About the wonders of Lego, either real or in-game?

And well, it set the stage for a second design—which you’ll see popping up soon.

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