The making of a logo

We recently launched Hingst, a Matrix hosting Mastodon service. This is how the logo came to be.

As with most (read all) my projects they are in one way or another related to horses. The Matrix service was not an exception.

As I’m a fan of the Icelandic and old Scandinavian languages I quite early on I found the name Rimfaxe (or Hrymfaxe or Hrímfaxi depending on how you spell it), a name belonging to the horse from Norse mythology that drags Natt (Nótt, means night) over the sky. They symbolize the night, or can be said to bring night upon Earth. We also have Dag (means ”day”), who is dragged by the horse Skinfaxe. They symbolize the day.

A painting of Rimfaxe and Natt by Peter Nicolai Arbo
The Night, Peter Nicolai Arbo, 1887 (sauce, sauce2)

Rimfaxe was quite suiting for this Matrix project, and the domain name (rimfaxe.net) was to my surprise available(!), so I bought it.

Now the problem with choosing a name for a company, service or product is that it needs to be easy to spell, memorable and at least somewhat related to the idea. Rimfaxe has several spellings, and it’s not the easiest thing to remember. (It took me two days before I could remember what name I had chosen = not a good name). I had to choose something else.

So Rimfaxe was not a good choice, but I still felt like that horse was well suited as a mascot or similar for the service. After some (many) hours of thinking and debating over several other candidates I thought, ”why not just go even simpler?”. And that is just what I did.

So what is Rimfaxe? A horse. Great. Let’s see if that works.

Do you know how many domain names are available for an easy-to-spell generic English word? None. Out with that idea through the window.

Instead I thought, so what is Rimfaxe more? A site I found said he’s a stallion. Is stallion available as a domain name? Nope. Is it easy to spell? Not really. But what’s the Swedish word for stallion? It’s hingst. Is it short? Yes. Easy to spell and remember? Sort of (for Swedes at least). And was hingst available as a domain name? Oh yes it was. Not long after I was in possession of another bunch of domain names (I have too many).

Now the logo had to be designed.

I wanted to keep the idea of a horse that brings shade or darkness to something, so I quickly made a pencil sketch of a horse ”flying” in the sky above Earth.

1. Two minute pencil sketch.

This was the only sketch I made. I went for this design right away.

A few days later I opened Krita and began the work of transforming it to digital form. I just painted it over, and then adjusted body parts and added some ”fluid motion” to it. The rest was mostly detail work and finishing touches to make it look more ”smooth”. At the end I removed the circle I used as a guide as well as the ”spikes” (I have no idea what they are called in English, you know, these things) and coloured the background white.

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This part of the process took a few hours. I experimented with different colouring, but found that just pure black and white worked the best.

That’s it. It’s done!

And that was the story of how Rimfaxe turned into a logo for Hingst!

Note: The logo and process pics are not released under the Creative Commons license.

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