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Visual Identity for International iGaming Brand

“BETO.com is seeking your services in creating a new look and feel for their Gaming Brand.” This was what one of our client’s emails read from last September when they came across my website after reading about my work for the Broncos.

It turned out that this project wasn’t too much different from other projects I’ve done before, except that the brief itself was way more complicated. I had no knowledge of how online gaming worked or experienced designing graphics for video game brands. Still, I accepted it anyway as part of my neverending search for creative challenges.

The company wanted me to create three sets of concepts with multiple designs per set — all within 30 days! They also provided detailed information on their existing branding to get started right away. This meant I needed to be creative while keeping things simple enough to meet deadlines.

Read on to get the entire story about this unusual project completed by me ūüôā

The story of an unusual design case for a gaming brand

When you’re given such an odd task, you need to start thinking about everything that may come up along the process. For instance, the brand name itself has several meanings (BETO), which led us to wonder if we should use them interchangeably throughout the entire campaign? Shouldn’t the colours reflect those names somehow? What kind of imagery would work best for each concept? And how can we make sure these ideas stay true to the original vision? All questions are worth considering, especially since there were only two weeks left until the deadline.

If anything goes wrong during final revisions, there will likely be problems communicating back to the client. To avoid confusion, having clear guidelines from the beginning helps immensely.beto-com-logo-tm-gmb-4-3

How I designed a logo for an international brand

Once I got past the first hurdle, I knew the next challenge wouldn’t be easy either. My client wanted 3 separate concepts based on their current logo. But instead of just using the same colour palette, the final concepts followed completely different themes. We decided to go with red, white, and grey as base colours. These colours have been used prominently over the years at slot machine manufacturers including International Game Technology (IGT), Bally Technologies, and Scientific Games Corporation. And these colours are also often used on casino chips (the play money used at land-based casinos)

We discussed various ways these colours might relate to BETO’s long history of letting regular players experience online slots without spending real money (these are so-called demo-slot machines). One of the early versions included a twisted chip representing the three primary colours. However, the team felt this didn’t fit well into today’s market where players want something more modern. A skewed chip seemed outdated compared to the rest of the industry. So we opted for a series of circles around a central point instead of as this was a closer match to a casino chip.

After getting feedback from my client, I went ahead and sketched out a few options. Since they liked the idea of taking elements from the old logo, I thought showing its evolution would be interesting. To do this, I placed a white circle inside every coloured circle. In the middle, I added small card-based symbols represented as the core. By doing this, I was able to show the progression without cluttering the image. From here, I sent over five variations of each concept and asked for comments/feedback. After receiving positive responses, I then chose the strongest version and moved forward with developing it further.

inspiration for the logo

I made notes of thoughts, sketches, etc., onto sticky notes to keep track of time. Then once I had finalized the concepts, I organized them into folders on Google Drive. Using a tool called Canva allowed me to design full-colour layouts very quickly. With the help of Photoshop Elements 12, I cut out shapes and letters from photos and illustrations already found on Pinterest. Once I finished cutting out images, I uploaded them into Adobe Illustrator, where I adjusted and modified them according to client specifications.

In addition to sharing assets easily, I love the fact that this program allows you to change font sizes on individual objects. Doing this helped tremendously in making text easier to read on mobile devices. If you don’t know how to do that yet, check out our guide to optimizing web pages for mobile screens.

The initial idea of the spinning casino chip

casino chip was inspirationFrom the moment I saw the actual physical chips, I knew I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Their shape reminded me of coins. There’s a hole in the centre surrounded by raised ridges. As soon as I put together a rough sketch of what I envisioned, I knew it was perfect.

But there was still one thing missing…the background texture. When looking at real casino chips, you’ll notice that none of them actually have a solid surface behind them. Instead, they usually feature a patterned backing material.

So, I searched through reference files for textures similar to what I was trying to achieve. Luckily, I still found something suitable. It featured playing card symbols. I settled on a final design after tweaking colours, adding shadows, and adjusting contrast.

Many tutorials show how to recreate the effect yourself for anyone who wants to add custom backgrounds to their own creations. You can find the links under the Resources section.

 

How I created the brand identity

Now that we’d nailed down all aspects of the visuals, I began working on the words. The goal was to communicate the essence of the brand without going overboard. While it’s important to remember that many people associate certain colours with specific emotions, the overall message needs to speak for itself.

One major concern for me was whether or not to include the word “gaming” in the tagline. Many designers believe that consumers won’t trust a business unless it includes this term. According to marketing professor Dr. David Reibstein, “there is little evidence explicitly linking product categories to emotion leads to greater sales.” On the contrary, research suggests otherwise.

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As someone who loves playing internet games myself, I understand why many people think it sounds weird. However, I wanted to convey that I’m passionate about them, so I kept the wording clean and subtle. So instead of incorporating a long tagline, we settle with the core word: BETO as the essence of the brand, like BET-ONLINE or BET-ON, conveying positive and forward motion and momentum.

Another decision was to directly incorporate the customer service number into the graphical outline. That said, not everyone has access to smartphones. Or maybe they simply prefer to call companies rather than send emails. Whatever works best for your audience, try incorporating it somewhere in the copy.

Finally, I gave myself a strict timeline. I knew I had less than two weeks to deliver this project. I needed to deliver high-quality artworks fast, even without sacrificing any creativity. Thankfully, I discovered an excellent resource for learning Adobe Illustrator shortcuts.

By utilizing these techniques, I managed to finish the project on schedule. And the outcome was exactly what we had hoped for. 

I learned a lot about the process. I definitely plan on doing more work for BETO‚ĄĘ if they allow me to in the future.

Creating a truly memorable brand requires careful planning, consideration for details, and plenty of trial & error. Don’t forget to ask lots of questions and take copious amounts of screenshots throughout the process. Also, consider asking for references from previous jobs. Most importantly, never give up hope. Good luck!

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Elysian Studios

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We’re getting ready to celebrate the big game, and cheer our Denver Broncos on to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory! ¬†What better way to add to the festivities than with handmade can coolers for the party?

For this easy tutorial, I have used all Martha Stewart craft paints and tools, which are readily available at Michael’s Arts and Crafts Stores. ¬†These were provided to me by Plaid paints for a campaign I worked on in 2012. ¬†You can see that post here.¬† All of the opinions expressed about the products are completely my own. ¬†I made three different styles of coolers, two in each style. The foam coolers are available at any craft store. I made each cooler unique by switching up the colors a bit, so each party guest can easily identify their beverage.

Let’s get craftin’!

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For the first style, which you can see in the front center of the title photograph, I used Martha Stewart’s Adhesive Stencils, the Foam Dauber Set, Satin Craft Paint in blue, white and two colors of the Coarse Glitter Paint. I found lots of inspiration for patterns on Pinterest. ¬†You can follow my Pinterest boards here.

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Place the letters on the cooler to spell out your saying. ¬†I really like these stencils because they give your project unique, uniform lettering and can be reused. ¬†I was short on the “O” for my saying, so I was able to easy move that letter around during painting.

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Pour the paint colors onto a disposable plate and use the small size dot of the dauber set to begin painting dots all around the stencils.

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Once you have dotted all of the colors around, peel off the stencils. ¬†Rinse them in water to clean and place back on their plastic film from the package. ¬†I thought I wanted the letters to be multi-colored, but you really couldn’t read them, so I ended up re-painting the letters in solid blue. ¬†Don’t let the paint get too dry before you lift off the stencil or the paint will come off with the stencil.

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For the second style, I used the same paints, but tried out the Martha Stewart Patterned Brush Set.  These coolers are on the left side of the title photo.

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I have mixed feelings about this brush set, and I’d love to hear from other crafters who may have used it. ¬†It looks fun and full of promise, but I found the results to be underwhelming. ¬†Using the brushes saves a bit of time because you get two or three lines per stroke. ¬†However, I found them hard to load paint onto the bristles, and they really didn’t give any more consistent lines or spacing than a single brush. ¬†In the end, I do like the bold, simple plaid pattern of this cooler.

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Using the largest two-stripe brush, first paint vertical stripes of blue and allow to dry.  I really like the Martha Stewart Satin Craft Paints, because they come in a beautiful array of colors, give nice even coverage, and dry pretty quickly.  Since I had to quickly paint over my first layer for this pattern, however, I used a hair dryer to speed along the drying process!

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Next use the smaller two-stripe brush to paint horizontal stripes in white all around the cooler.  I also used the same method to paint a second cooler, but used the two glitter paints instead.

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Though I really love the sparkle of glitter, I had uneven results with the Martha Stewart Coarse Glitter Paint. ¬†The glitter is actually suspended in a clear binder, which is great because that prevents it from easily flaking off. ¬†However, the paint doesn’t apply easily and smoothly, as you can see in the image above. ¬†The paint kind of smooshes to the sides and the glitter is unevenly distributed. ¬†I found that with multiple coats I was able to achieve the results I was after.

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For fun, I decided to add some blue dots with the largest dot size in the dauber set.

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To finish this cooler, I added white dots in the medium size dauber from the set. I really love how easily I can get consistent dots in different sizes with this set!

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For the last style, I simply used the Satin Craft Paint and the Fine Tip Writer Nozzle Set.  This set lets you simply twist on a fine tipped nozzle to any of the Martha Stewart Craft Paints.  The paint bottle on the left is a Metallic Glass Paint, which already comes with a fine-tipped nozzle.

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I love how these tips allow you to quickly and easily create fine lines with any of the craft paints.  This finished cooler can be seen on the right side of the title photograph.  For this pattern, make three vertical lines in blue, about 1/2 inch apart, and then one vertical line in white, about 1/2 inch from the last blue line.  Continue with this pattern around the cooler.

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After you have completed the initial lines of the pattern, draw multiple diagonal lines within the borders of the vertical lines.  Alternate their directions so they form a chevron pattern.  Alternate two rows of blue lines and two rows of white lines.

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Here’s another look at the completed set:

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I am posting this shortly before the big game, but it really is a great craft to show team spirit for any sports team during any season!

We’re filling up our coolers with sodas and Colorado microbrew beers, like these from Tommyknocker Brewery in nearby Idaho Springs for our Super Bowl party, and we’ll use them for many more seasons to come!

GO BRONCOS!

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Introducing a new Elysian Studios | Elysian Studios

Saying “Goodbye” to the old

and “Hello” to the new…

I believe an art business should be a living, breathing endeavor that continually displays new growth.


Just as a tree reaches taller to the sky, with roots extending deeper into the ground so it may produce more luscious fruit, an art studio should show evidence of similar transformation and maturity.

Elysian Studios is growing through this type of change. ¬†Having launched this business in 2009, I’ve guided it through its infant stages, offering many different products and types of content to see what would provide the greatest value to my customers and to discover what I am most passionate about. ¬†As always, I am ever grateful to the people who have supported my efforts to pursue a career in the arts. ¬†Whether it’s been leaving a comment, buying beads, handmade jewelry, small note cards or a painting, I simply could not be here without you. ¬†I am incredibly excited to present to you the new changes I’ve been busy working on!

Introducing the new Elysian Studios logo:


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I have moved my website to a new provider, who has already demonstrated better service and more customized options for Elysian Studios. ¬†I am focusing the products offered by my studio to provide the best original art and service to my clients, so I’m saying goodbye to some of the products I have offered since Elysian Studios’ inception, most notably my handmade art jewelry. ¬†Though I thoroughly enjoy designing and creating jewelry, it requires a great deal of resources that distract me from my true passion…oil painting.

To document another milestone in Elysian Studios’ journey, here’s a screenshot of my previous website for posterity:

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Old www.ElysianStudiosArt.com website ©2013

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New www.ElysianStudiosArt.com website ©2014

For the time being, I will still have original paintings and art jewelry in the Elysian Studios Etsy Shop. Going forward, I will continue to offer prints and note cards in my Fine Art America Shop, and I am starting to collaborate with other companies to offer my art on custom products that are just perfect for unique gifts.  I am also excited to share that Elysian Studios will now be offering custom matting and framing services.  If you are buying a new piece of art or you have a treasured piece already in your collection, getting it displayed beautifully on the wall is very important!  My unique experience in custom framing allows me to offer custom, budget-friendly solutions, and I am excited to be offering this service to my clients.

Exploring new techniques, subjects and pushing my art in new directions will continue to be a passion of mine.  Writing about my inspirations, projects, events, and all things art-related will be the focus of my blog and email newsletter.

My blog will be relocating from blog.elysianstudiosart.com to elysianstudiosart.com/new-blog and will now be published directly on my website instead of through Blogger.   The old blog will remain here, because there are quite a few posts that continue to be popular, but the new blog will focus directly on fine art, art collecting, art history and my work.

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Exciting things are on the horizon for Elysian Studios!  Check out my new About Page, sign up for the Elysian Studios Newsletter, and connect with me on social media (links on the bottom of this page).