The Birth of Pixel Shogun

Hi, and welcome to Pixel Shogun!

I’m Chris, and I’ve been a freelance graphic designer on and off for the past decade (a little more off than on, if I’m being honest). I recently decided to start taking my business more seriously though, and an important first step was rebooting my brand — I’d been calling myself Spectre Graphics since I started, but it was something that just kind of happened. The identity wasn’t really planned or thought-out, and I don’t find that the name lends itself to much of a visual identity. What the heck does a spectre look like, anyway?

Pac Ghost
“I’m not a very strong brand identity.”

Problems like that are often fun challenges that help you grow as a designer… and other times, they’re a sign that you’ve gone down the wrong path. I decided it was the latter in this case, so I started brainstorming and looking around for options. My first plan was to call my new effort Dart Frog, because they’re fascinating animals that come in an incredible variety of colors. It was a strong concept with a lot of personality and it implied its own designs… but the name was already in use by another studio. I probably could have pushed ahead with it anyway, but I thought it best not to compete for identity, especially against a larger and more established team.

Dart Frog Concept Contact Sheet
Original concept sheet for Dart Frog. Cute, right? Click for more information about that project.

I briefly toyed with procyon after that (the genus of raccoons, another animal I’ve always liked). I mocked-up a few designs, but as cool as the name sounds, it doesn’t mean anything to most people, nor was I pleased with where my designs were going.

Studio Procyon Logo Concepts 2016-04-26
“What’s a procyon? And what are those diamonds?”

My next idea was Silicon Helix, which I experimented with for a few weeks. The name seemed a little too serious though, and worse, it wasn’t inspiring me visually. I’m sure there are a ton of creative things that can be done with a helix, but they’re shapes that work best in three dimensions, while current logo trends lean strongly on two. It also just didn’t seem to be me.

Yeah, this just wasn't working for me at all. :(
Yeah, this just wasn’t working for me at all. 😦

I had to ask who the heck am I? Well, I’m a silly person who likes things that are campy and cool, and I wanted a concept that embodied those parts of my personality while simultaneously conjuring its own imagery.

Come on... you'd be a little silly too if you had a face like this.
Hey, you’d be a little silly too if you had a face like this.

Then a week or two back, I remembered an old idea from years ago: when I was first getting into digital design, I really want to start a tutorial site called Pixel Shogun. I’ve been in love with Japanese history and culture since I was very small, and it was just a fun, exciting name. The tutorial site never got past the suggestion phase, but I can still vividly remember what I wanted it to look like.

I did a quick check online that night and discovered that nobody was currently using either the name or the URL. Frankly, it’s rare to find a two-word address that isn’t occupied, and I took this as a very good omen. I immediately started playing around with logo concepts and banner art.

Pixel Shogun logo concepts. Click for more information about this project.

I drank loads of coffee and experimented over the next few days, testing out different ideas and trying to figure out what spoke to me. The process was fun and fast, which is usually a good indicator that you’re on to something. After a bit of contemplation and refinement, I finally arrived at my new logo!

Pixel Shogun Logo

It took another few days to build the site using the wonderfully easy tools provided by WordPress, and voila! Welcome to Pixel Shogun, my new home on the internet. I’m proud to announce that I’m now open for business, ready and waiting to provide you with bright and shiny graphics to help bring your own dreams to life.

Take a stroll around the site and you’ll find a portfolio chocked full of projects with notes about the process behind them, and in the coming weeks, expect to see yet more of my pics as well as tutorials covering various tools, techniques, and other graphic design goodness.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure, and if you need any kind of graphics work (seriously… anything at all), be sure to drop me a line.




2 thoughts on “The Birth of Pixel Shogun

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