View Full Version : Perhaps not a map, but a Request/Opportunity Nonetheless!

The Cartographist
05-19-2008, 05:51 PM
Assorted Cartographers, Artists, and Others.

I am announcing an illustration request / challenge / contest of sorts. My (very) small company, The Fantasy Cartographic, is putting out a pdf rpg product in the next several weeks; the product will be the first in a series of products. For a variety of reasons, we haven’t designed a logo for the product line yet. This request / contest is my means of obtaining a suitable logo.

Pertinent information is as follows:

Deadline: 01 June 2008 (Yikes, it’s a tight one.)
Image Size: 300dpi. Six inches by X inches. (X is between 2.5 and 5. It’s up to you to make the logo work to your artistic style.)
File Type: Preferred PNG

I’ve attached a jpg with a rough sketch to serve as a starting point. But you do NOT need to use this at all in your entry; it merely serves to show one possible idea.

Yes, you read it correctly, the title of the product line is “Points of Light”.

Artistic guidance: What I am looking for is the words “Points of Light” in a font of your choosing floating just above a map on parchment. (Very similar in style to the map in the logo of the Cartographer’s Guild.) Except, most of the map is blackened, smudged, unreadable. Only in a few (2-3) small places is there a spot where the black doesn’t cover the map. In those places (each surrounding a city or town – a bright, perhaps even glowing, circle on the map), the “original” color of the map shows through in bright vibrant colors—forest greens, river blues, hills, etc. [The effect that I am looking for with the black over the map contrasting to where the black is not is similar to the Sistine chapel, before restoration and after restoration, except the dark is much darker than the Sistine before restoration. The items on the map can just barely be seen under the smudge.] The geography is completely up to the artist, as it will not have any bearing on the product content. The entire logo should be surrounded by a slight shadow so that it stands off the cover.

Some other guidance: Although I depict the map as a 3D scroll, this is NOT a requirement; if your artistic sense says otherwise, don’t make it 3D. The words do NOT have to be arranged in this manner over the map; if you think it looks better horizontal or vertical or some other arrangement, go for it. The words can be completely surrounded by the map or can hang over its edges—again, up to you.

Okay, so, how is this like a challenge? Anyone who attempts this endeavor is free to post WIPs, and I will offer further guidance, advice, clarification throughout.

How is this like a contest? Well, the winner, to be chosen by me, on or about June 2nd, will get the following for their troubles:
- $15 USD.
- Artistic credit, by name, in the product.
- A free copy of the product, which will retail for somewhere between $5 - 6 on RPGNow.com.
- A residual (amount yet to be determined, probably on the order of $0.12 to $0.20 USD) for every item that is sold with this logo on its cover. We have plans for at least 4 products that will bear this logo and perhaps several more.

Why am I doing this in this format? Because in my seven months of membership here, I am continually amazed by the quality of artists/cartographers here. What better place to seek a logo? And because someone might come up with a better vision than the vague one floating in my head.

Finally, I may have a few similar request / challenge / contests in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled!

05-19-2008, 06:17 PM
Looks exciting! I may have a go (if I can find the time!) The CG is wonderful but it doesn't half swallow up your life! (in a good way)....well not if you speak to my wife...

05-21-2008, 11:40 PM
Well, I had some time to kill while the kids swam, and the laptop, so I thought I would get the logo going.
It is a mixture of Leveller for the heightfield ,used to flatten everything below a set height for the map, Leveller's scan line renderer, 3 images with the light source in 3 different locations, and some Photoshop work (which is not my best ability).
Hopefully this gets the ball rolling, as I am sure there are many more, more talented Cartographers here

The Cartographist
05-22-2008, 05:08 PM
SeerBlue - Thanks for being the first to dip your toe into the water. I appreciate you taking the time, and I hope that I can offer some thoughts to steer you (and others) to completion.

My first thought is that I did NOT do a good job of explaining of what I was looking for. So let me first clarify some of what I said and then offer some thoughts on your map.

I stated that I want "the words “Points of Light” in a font of your choosing floating just above a map on parchment." I didn't mean above the map in the image of the logo itself but actually over top of the map so that the map is behind the words. The text is just as important to the logo as the image of the map behind it. [More on the text below.]

I think in my discussion of 3D, I clouded the picture a bit. When I was talking about 3D, I was referring to the image of the scroll in the sample logo that I provided; I was NOT referring to the map itself. The map I want to be in a hand-drawn style. Whether the parchment that it appears on is made to look 3D or not is up to the artist.

The text is important, as is its appearance. What I'm trying to say is that the map is merely the background behind the text; the text has to be large and easily readable.

Based on the importance of the text, I think that I'm going to alter the challenge slightly. If one entry has a fantastic map whereas a second entry has an interesting/well-designed/cool font, I might request taking the font from one and combining it with the map from another. This means that there would be two winners. If that occurs, the financial "prize" will be split evenly between the two, whereas they will share credit and each receive a copy of the product.

SeerBlue, the one other specific thought about your entry is that the effect you used was one of spot lights shining down on the map. I want a look where the contrast is due to the map itself and not the lighting over the map (if that makes sense). The effect should be almost that the map was in a fire and it is charred almost beyond use except for two or three spots surrounding cities/towns depicted by a bright circle. Or perhaps that dark ink has been smeared on the map everywhere except for right around these two or three "points of light" (which refers to the city or town).

I hope these clarifications help you and everyone else thinking about taking a stab.

05-22-2008, 08:38 PM
Is this heading in the right direction ? Where do I need to take this now ?

Is the idea that you don't want the light flare ?

The Cartographist
05-23-2008, 04:47 AM
Redrobes – You are a machine! (A high compliment indeed!) YES, this is heading in the right direction. [Unfortunately, I’m at work right now and my system doesn’t seem to allow me to view a full-size version, only the thumbnail—hopefully that will not affect my comments.]

First, I love the shape of the scroll. I think that it is almost perfect--could it lengthened slightly in the horizontal to make the overall logo a little more rectangular?

On to some specific critiques:
- I like the glowing “points”, but you could make them a little less bright? The glare that they’re throwing off looks really good, but I don’t want them quite so bright.
- Can you make the colors of the lands around the points brighter? I don’t want them to be garish or fluorescent, but I do want them to stand out.
- I really want the areas of ‘illuminated’ land to be separated by the blackness that surrounds them. In other words, rather than one large area with three points, three smaller areas each with its own point. Obviously, the placement of those points will affect the title text that you overlay above the scroll (or vice versa).
- The coloring of the scroll itself requires a couple of comments:
First, could you make the general color more of a tan parchment color, including the back of the scroll. Currently, it is a bit too gray.
Second, could you also make the “blackness” that covers the map on the scroll more black. I think that it doesn’t have to cover the entire front of the scroll, specifically the edges, but should cover almost all of it except for the ‘illuminated’ lands.
Third, the pattern on the scroll is a bit regular. Is there any way to make it less so? (Although this issue might go away entirely when you blacken the black.)

I think that I may have some more minor bits and pieces, but that’s mostly it. Really, really nice.

05-23-2008, 03:02 PM
Is this getting warmer ?

05-24-2008, 02:00 PM
here is a more refined render, it is done in sketchup,SkIndigo, Indigo, and PS.
Hopefully, it is closer to what you want, though I don't think it is really the quality you need.Hand drawn maps and PS are something I need alot of practice with. I posted it mostly to show what can be done with the apps listed above, and perhaps to get some others to give those programs a go.
The nice thing about this route is that once the SKP file is made, the font can be changed, the image changed,Textures changed, and the whole thing rerendered in Sketchup/indigo.
And all the programs are free, Sketchup6, SkIndigo plugin, Indigo renderer, and a few ruby scripts which make creating scrolls easier.
So if your itching to make a logo, and try out some new apps, give them a try.

The Cartographist
05-25-2008, 10:28 AM
Redrobes – Yes. Getting warmer – the change to the texture of the scroll helps a lot. I would like the general color of the scroll to be a lighter tan/parchment color.

With respect to the “blackness” covering most of the map, I want it to be darker, inkier. Actually, very similar to what SeerBlue did with his second take on it.

The Cartographist
05-25-2008, 10:34 AM
I had made up a brief example—three images. First is the map, unblackened. Second is a black shadow. Third is the final map with shadow. However, I did this before seeing SeerBlue’s second take. The way he handled the black is better looking to my eye than my feeble GIMP-fuzzy-brush attempt.

05-25-2008, 10:41 AM
I dont think I am following this. You want the scroll to be lighter but the blackness darker. You want all of the scroll covered with darkness except the lit points and you want the lit bits of the map to be stronger coloured up to but not including garish / neon colours.

So I get the back of the map - thats tan.

The front is all very dark / black except the lit points ? And the lit points should be tan or coloured ?

Are you able to provide a sample of colours representing what you want especially w.r.t the map towns after being lit ?

Edit -- Ahh crossed posts again... so the tan bit for the towns ? Is the tan just on the back then ?

The Cartographist
05-25-2008, 10:43 AM
Redrobes - You're not getting it, because, as I read back, I see that I'm not explaining it very well. I'll try again once I'm able to hush a (just started) crying baby.

05-25-2008, 11:52 AM
To do the smudges/inky blackness that covers most of the map I used an improved clouds plugin in from CWeids terragen site, it gives alot more control over the creation of clouds than the PS render clouds. It is linked, under free downloads on the left, at this site http://cwied.com/Terragen/ Then it was just dry media brushes to do staining/scratches on different layers. SeerBlue

05-25-2008, 02:11 PM
Am I understanding this that you want a standard light tan parchment as the base. Over which will be draw a map. Overwich will be stains, burn marks, etc so that only a few small parts of the whole remain visiable. The parts that are burned/stained/etc are so badly messed up as to totally obscure anything below. Over top of all of this is some nice font with your "points of light" text.


The Cartographist
05-25-2008, 05:26 PM
Redrobes - Ran out of time today. I'll try to get more clarification tomorrow.

jfrazierjr - That pretty much covers it.

05-25-2008, 08:30 PM
Right direction ? The shape of the black can change pretty easily.
If not then I could give Seer my parchment model and he can take it to completion if you like.

05-25-2008, 08:51 PM
I think what he is looking for is more along the lines of a normal parchment style map, but with the "surface" where the map color/symbols are located would be stained as to be unreadable. My first thought when playing with this was to create somewhat of a rough map and then use the burn tool to "erase" portions until I had the "points of light". That seems to be my understanding based on his comments to my last post. By black, I take it to mean obscured from viewing what's underneath as opposed to litterally black.


05-25-2008, 09:24 PM
What I did was take a map I had together and then added layers of noise and smudges in PS, using overlay for the most part with textile brushes, on the map itself. And then after rendering it on the scroll in indigo I did some touch up, mostly because I did not see the opacity setting in Sketch up is about 75% by default, until after I rendered it, and the scroll itself needed smudging as the sketchup texture was too clean.
I guess the idea I got was that the map was painted on the scroll, and for some reason I pictured a sneak thief with grubby hands coveting it, so the map itself became marred/scuffed,dirtied more than the surrounding scroll.

So, feasibly, some one with an awesome 3d scroll image, and some one with a spot on map, could use PS/gimp to merge the 2....then it is down to the text font.
I should have continued drawing crayon maps on brown paper bags when I was a kid,,,,I would be a lot further along now.


05-26-2008, 12:43 AM
If it were me coming up with a logo I'd make sure its printable and not out of gamut. Is this for a print work or a PDF? Are you trying to keep print runs a simple option?

My design would have more of an in your face sort of shbang to help readers see it and remember it. I like the idea of a scroll area but I'd change each publication so something significant was below the logo.

This is what I'd do. The stars are rough and there's lots of tweeking possible but I think this would print well and you could scale it. btw 300 dpi 6" by 5" is pretty large.

http://wm23.inbox.com/thumbs/52_9fa74_269de819_oP.png.thumb (http://wm23.inbox.com/thumbs/51_9fa75_e5f1c51b_oP.png.thumb)

Depending on your presentation there are tweaks to do with cleaner outlines, illustrator and modified fonts. The design should compliment your page background images\paper also consider what you'd do if you used the logo in advertising.

The 'parchment area' can be expanded however much you like to hold a central graphic for each publication or a product number.


Thats how I would do it. PM me if you're interested.


05-26-2008, 12:00 PM
I definitely like Sigurd's idea about being able to change the graphic on the scroll for each edition. Match it to a map covered in the edition, or make a new map and parse out bits of it on the logo with each edition. SeerBlue

The Cartographist
05-26-2008, 12:36 PM
Redrobes - I'll repeat my comment from above - You are a Machine! YES. This is almost EXACTLY what I am looking for. I'll post a few more comments later on this evening. Thanks a lot.

05-26-2008, 01:30 PM
I like the changing background idea but i think you need something a bit more logo like in front3936

something i just threw together

05-26-2008, 02:01 PM
...This is almost EXACTLY what I am looking for.Ahh good, I was running around in circles a bit there. What I was thinking was that I use the points of light in the words "points of light" probably easier if I just show you. Now I know where were heading, ill render these again with some better quality and put something proper together. Its always easy to tweak it about a little.

Edit -- here you go with the alpha mask also.

05-26-2008, 03:48 PM
Very Pretty Redrobes!

Math, that looks slick.

05-26-2008, 04:29 PM
Ahh good, I was running around in circles a bit there. What I was thinking was that I use the points of light in the words "points of light" probably easier if I just show you. Now I know where were heading, ill render these again with some better quality and put something proper together. Its always easy to tweak it about a little.

Edit -- here you go with the alpha mask also.

I can't say that I like the black on the parchment that much, but then again, I'm not the customer.:D

However, the incorporation of the points of light into part of the font's lettering is truly a great piece of artistry! It's no wonder that you are able to do this for a living. Great job.

On a side note, I also like Sigurd's idea about having a product name(symbol?) incorporated into each design.

05-26-2008, 04:54 PM
I like Matthew's 'thrown together' work too - very slick indeed. Looks like a 3D app used there with the nice light flare.

I can't say that I like the black on the parchment that much, but then again, I'm not the customer.:D

However, the incorporation of the points of light into part of the font's lettering is truly a great piece of artistry! It's no wonder that you are able to do this for a living. Great job.

On a side note, I also like Sigurd's idea about having a product name(symbol?) incorporated into each design.I cant say it really rocks my boat this black parchment thing either. I can see where he is coming from with the idea tho.

I think the text and the light needs to be incorporated as either the text would have to be placed off of the scroll area or it has to go over the light points either of which is not very good. You could do what Seer has done and have the view much more acute and have the text hovering in 3D over the top which works but makes the parchment visually smaller.

I am a programmer for a living and I program my app in my sig as a side thing, which is where I have been entrusted with the title, but I would never be able to live off of it. I believe wholeheartedly that there are very few people indeed making a full time living exclusively off of RPG gaming material.

The Cartographist
05-26-2008, 05:52 PM
The "black parchment thing" is not quite where I want it but I may settle, RR, because I really like the general look of what you've done. The "black" on your latest (and the last few) looks to me like black tree bark or burned char. Really, I'd prefer neither of those, but more of just a black grime or ink covering the parchment.

Another minor issue is that, in the latest, you've chosen a piece of the map that has buildings on it (I'm assuming that is what the red rectangles are) for the three visible portions of the map. Buildings aren't appropriate because it is supposed to be a regional scaled map. [The "point of light" should be a whole city or village on the map.]

I know that you've just picked a font to show me the general idea that you have, but your font is too "olde english-y" for my taste while mathuwm's font is too modern. I don't know if anyone knows what it is, but the font that is used in the Guild's logo is kinda nice. That font, in bold lettering, larger, would look pretty spiffy in my opinion.

Last thought: The areas of land that are visible are all perfectly round circles--is there any way to vary that just a bit so that they aren't perfectly round?

05-26-2008, 06:03 PM
The "black parchment thing" is not quite where I want it but I may settle, RR, because I really like the general look of what you've done. The "black" on your latest (and the last few) looks to me like black tree bark or burned char. Really, I'd prefer neither of those, but more of just a black grime or ink covering the parchment.

When you started talking about this, my mind went toward something in style like the edged of a recent post by TheRedEpic: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=19342&postcount=5

With the whole thing having the charredor stained look like the above's edges except the points of light. Is that the type of effect you are really going for?

Last thought: The areas of land that are visible are all perfectly round circles--is there any way to vary that just a bit so that they aren't perfectly round?

One a side note, what would you think about slightly blurred four pointed star instead of circles? Just an idea noodling in my brain as it goes with the title. Points of light tend to translate naturally into stars to me.

In any event, I look forward to seeing out this translates out. If I had some 3D skills, I would probably give it a go myself...


The Cartographist
05-26-2008, 06:11 PM
I haven't really gone into much detail about what the project is or why I am looking for what I am looking for. Maybe this will help clarify a bit.

In case anybody didn't know, "Points of Light" is the shorthand phrase for what Wizards of the Coast is saying is their implied setting with 4E DnD. They have said, "But one of the new key conceits about the D&D world is simply this: Civilized folk live in small, isolated points of light scattered across a big, dark, dangerous world. Most of the world is monster-haunted wilderness. The centers of civilization are few and far between, and the world isn’t carved up between nation-states that jealously enforce their borders. A few difficult and dangerous roads tenuously link neighboring cities together, but if you stray from them you quickly find yourself immersed in goblin-infested forests, haunted barrowfields, desolate hills and marshes, and monster-hunted badlands."

Additionally, the following comes straight from my project, further explaining the "darkness": "In any event, that Empire fell and darkness spread across the world. [Generally and throughout this supplement, this darkness is taken in the figurative sense, i.e. the replacement of law with chaos, of security with danger, of civilization with anarchy, however, the enterprising DM might choose to also take it literally, where the darkness is some magical or malevolent force that literally prevents daylight.] The exact nature of the darkness will not be touched upon in these pages, nor will its cause; this is to be determined by each individual DM for the sake of his campaign world."

My idea for the logo is that it include a map of the "world" [or a small region of it] and depict those points of light surrounded by the darkness. As above, the darkness can represent evil, chaos, or perhaps actual darkness. Perhaps clouds or inky blackness would best depict the idea.

Anyways, this may or may not help, but it gives a little of what I am hoping that the logo will achieve.

The Cartographist
05-26-2008, 06:13 PM
jfrazierjr - Yes, I think that it is. The Red Epic's edges are pretty sweet.

05-26-2008, 06:56 PM
Do you or anyone know the name of the font used for the CG title or would you like to pick one similar from here ?


I can make the black just plain black. I was using a burnt wood texture darkened as I thought that the blackness of the parchment was burnt areas but ink is basically plain jet black. I can make the map just trees, & rivers over ground no problem and I can make the spots not perfectly circular also - sorta splat type shapes I guess.

05-27-2008, 12:06 AM

It sounds as though you are asking for two things

1. a logo: The simpler your logo is, the easier it is to remember

2. and an art/map element

also think of all the possible mediums where you might use your logo.

Black and White printed material

05-27-2008, 12:11 AM

upload a sample of the font you like and this site can often identify the font

i use this site all the time at work

05-27-2008, 06:08 AM
With Logos, it's often better to have them in vector format, so you can resize them without losing visual quality.

05-27-2008, 05:18 PM
too right

Vector is always preferable when printing logos

The Cartographist
05-27-2008, 05:21 PM
Redrobes - Went to dafont.com. Pretty sweet site; I actually downloaded about twenty free fonts for further use.

But I couldn't find one that jumped out at me. After much agonizing, I think that I'd like to see the text in either:
Dwarven Stonecraft from their Gothic Modern catalog (or)
VTC Belias Blade also from their Gothic Modern catalog

I'd rather not incorporate the points of light into the text as I want the text to appear as if it is floating "above" the map. That would then obviously control where the points are placed on the map so that the text does not hinder the view of them.

05-28-2008, 01:27 PM
Here's a sketch of a layout along the lines you have been suggesting.


The Cartographist
05-28-2008, 05:50 PM
torstan - looks like this little endeavor of mine has turned into a competition. It seems to me that yours was a relatively quick sketch. I'd LOVE to see a better executed try. From your posts elsewhere, you obviously have the talent--please give it a go.

The Cartographist
05-28-2008, 05:53 PM
All - I know that I've said from the beginning that I want the text to overlay the graphical element of the logo. Having reviewed over one hundred logos of just about everything in the last day or so, I've decided that the text can be above, below, around, or overlaying the image. I'm not going to limit what the entries may look like. I would ask, however, that you keep the text and image separate layers in your entry--I may choose to play around with the arrangement.

05-28-2008, 07:28 PM
Hi All, I have a little problem over here. My main PC has gone into meltdown so its all offline now from duff mobo or cpu or something. I think the data is safe but is inaccessible for a while until I can get it back up. All my CG stuff is on it including my challenge entry so I hope it all ok. So will have to duck out now unless you want to use the file already uploaded.

05-29-2008, 05:32 PM
Sorry, forgot to mention that the font used in the Guild title is called 'Colwell' I think it's from da font but if you google it, I'm sure you'll find a source.

05-30-2008, 06:09 AM
Ouch Redrobes. Hope you get it ll back okay. It's horrible when that happens.

I'll have a shot at putting together something less sketchy but I can't promise anything as time is a little tight for some real life stuff at the moment too.

05-30-2008, 07:44 AM
Another shot at this with a slightly modified layout. Any preferences for one over the other?


Different colour scheme as well for the darker parchment areas.

05-30-2008, 09:24 AM
Great work torstan. I personally like the first one with color more.


05-30-2008, 12:41 PM
Okay, here is a fairly complete version. I am going away tomorrow for 5 days so this will be the last WIP I have time to post. If there are any small modifications that people would like to see then I might have a chance to make them.

Hope this is something close!


The Cartographist
06-02-2008, 03:14 PM
All - Just wanted to give the thread a little bump. With Redrobes suffering computer problems and torstan out adventuring, I've been forced to hold-off making my decision.

BTW - I'd like to thank both of them and everyone else who commented in the thread.

Redrobes - How's that computer coming?

06-02-2008, 03:48 PM
Redrobes - How's that computer coming?HDD's in the closet wrapped in cooking foil. New mobo, cpu, ram cos old stuff didn't fit, new mouse as mobo hasn't got PS2 (sigh...), water cooler out cos different mounting bracket (double sigh...). Still got some soldering to do. Then after all of this there is software...(and by god if MS give me major grief over the cpu change I'm going to Linux cos I am not going to Vista). So heading in the right direction but I am a while away from being all up together like before.

06-04-2008, 05:20 PM
Back. Any comments on the latest WIP?