Design Process: As Clouds Break Logo
October 31st, 2012

This blog post will look at the process behind my design for As Clouds Break’s logo. You can check it out in my portfolio here.

In September I spent some time creating a logo for christian metal band ‘As Clouds Break’. Their name comes from a passage in The Bible; Matthew 24:30, which talks about the Son of Man (Jesus) coming to earth on “clouds of glory”. Some translations of this passage refer to the clouds breaking as he appears.

I started by looking into Christian mythology and symbolism. Reading into Matthew 24:30, I didn’t really find anything that grabbed me – I looked at breaking the logo up and presenting it in a fragmented way to try to replicate ‘breaking’ clouds, but in most cases this was quite boring and usually illegible.

During some further reading I found this on Wikipedia:

IH Monograph
“The initials of the name of Jesus in Greek, iota (Ι) and eta (Η), sometime superimposed one on the other, or their numeric value 18, was a well known and very early way to represent Christ. This symbol was already explained in the Epistle of Barnabas and by Clement of Alexandria.”

and this:

IX Monograph
“An early form of the monogram of Christ, found in early Christian ossuaries in Palestinia, was formed by superimposing the first (capital) letters of the Greek words for Jesus and Christ, i.e. iota Ι and chi Χ, so that this monogram means “Jesus Christ”. An other more complicated explanation of this monogram was given by Ireneaus and Pachomius: because the numeric value of iota is 10 and the chi is the initial of the word “Christ” (Greek: XPEIΣTOΣ) which has 8 letters, these early fathers calculate 888 ((10*8)*10+80+8) which was a number already known to represent Jesus, being the 888 the sum of the value of the letters of the name “Jesus” (Greek: IHΣΟΥΣ).”

Using this method, I followed the same idea for the band’s logo, using the greek translation of Cloud and Break: Cloud translates to κονιορτος, giving us κ (kappa); Break translates to διαφμη, giving us δ or Δ (delta).
I started working on a symbol combining the two symbols (below), but the band weren’t too keen on the idea so I moved on.

I also started working with the 888 mentioned in the description of the IX monograph:

I was asked to develop this last idea further:

I went back to research and found that my new symbol closely resembled the Trefoil:
“Trefoil (from Latin trifolium, “three-leaved plant”, French trèfle, Italian trifoglio, German Dreiblatt and Dreiblattbogen) is a graphic form composed of the outline of three overlapping rings used in architecture and Christian symbolism.”

“A trefoil combined with an equilateral triangle was also a moderately common symbol of the Christian Trinity during the late Middle Ages in some parts of Europe.”

After some further research I came across the triquetra:
“The symbol has been used by Christians as a sign of the Blessed Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), especially since the Celtic Revival of the 19th century. When modern designers began to display the triquetra as a stand-alone design, it recalled the three-leafed shamrock which was similarly offered as a Trinity symbol by Saint Patrick. Some have also suggested that the triquetra has a similarity to the Christian Ιχθυς symbol. The triquetra has been used extensively on Christian sculpture, vestments, book arts and stained glass. It has been used on the title page and binding of some editions of the New King James Version.”

I quite liked the weaved style of the triquetra – how it can be drawn with one line, so remade the 888 motif to replicate the style.

Doing this got rid of the quite feminine flower in the middle, transforming it into what looks more like a star or sun symbol which was more suitable (having the sun visible through the breaking clouds).
I then tried bringing the triangle into it similar to the trefoil, which I found worked well aesthetically.

I then spent some time experimenting with type and layout:

I experimented with some sans-serif style typefaces along with blackletter and styles based on the original Greek alphabet, but found that most of them were either barely legible or didn’t suit the elegance of the motif. I went with Contra, a ‘Roman’-style typeface and made minor adjustments myself.

I made some minor changes before adding texture to the logo; magenta shows before; cyan shows after.

I created a variety of textures by rolling lino printing ink onto cartridge paper, printing from a lino block onto paper, screwing up paper and printing onto it, scraping ink off with a knife, photographing the textures under differently lighting, and finally increasing contrast until the texture was monotone. The texture was applied to the final logo and can be seen below.

In February ’13, the band had the logo printed onto a banner.