• Mark Hannafin

Logo Design & Naughty Dog

For those of you who know ‘Naughty Dog’ and what they represent you know that we’re talking a about a top brand in the world of gaming. For gamers the mention of the name ‘Naughty Dog’ springs into life a conversation of ‘what’s your favourite?’ and arguments about which game was the best. With a number of amazing games that span several generations, there is plenty to talk about.

So what is your favourite ‘Naughty Dog’ game?

For me it has to be ‘Jak 3’. Now I know it’s no easy decision to make between ‘Crash’, ‘Uncharted’ and ‘The Last of Us’; it’s hard to choose just one. My choice is made simply because of the number of hours of fun I have had playing this game and indeed playing the entire ‘Jak’ collection. ‘Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy’ was one of the first games I owned on the PlayStation 2 and I loved it. So many good memories. Now, years later, I eagerly await the release of ‘The Last of Us 2’, which, all going well, is coming out in 2019 at some point.

However, the company wasn’t always known as ‘Naughty Dog’. Founded by Andrew Gavin and Jason Rubin in 1984 the company was originally named ‘JAM Software’ aka: Jason and Andy’s Magic. Looking at the logo above it is easy to see that no designer was involved. Still, though somewhat crude and made by two teenagers, the logo certainly represents the gaming industry; especially if you consider the time it was made in. A pixelated form, whether intentional or not, is just how video games of that era looked. The bright colours and the flat landscape under the text is also another representation of the flat 2D style of years gone by.

The pair wanted a name that would stand out. Shortly after, in 1989, the company name was changed to ‘Naughty Dog Software’. A number of logo combinations were tried and tested. First, a bold looking logo of blue, gold and brown with a dog wearing glasses at the centre was used. It had a very angular form with lots going inside. After this they dropped the ‘software’ from the name and went with ‘Naughty Dog’ in a very angry looking font which befits the name. On-top of the ‘N’ sits a halo and a devil tail at the base of the ‘Y’ gives a devilish feel to the image.

All of these changes eventually lead to the logo design of today, a clean, sleek-looking logo with only three colours. This logo uses black and white text with a red paw print separating the two words. The previous logo with the halo and devil tail portrayed a sense of both good and bad characteristics. This kind of imagery is again used in their latest logo. The word ‘Naughty’ is written in in white text with a black background and the word ‘Dog’ is written in black text with a white background. The logo symbol of a red paw depicts a sense of excitement, something that the games certainly have in abundance. This is a well-designed logo with the company and industry in mind. ‘Naughty Dog’ have been at the forefront of game development over the last few decades. They have dared to do something different in an industry where change is largely met with criticism; this is evident where other developers recreate the same games again and again.

The logo itself provides a sense of adventure. The paw of a dog is representative of the wild, of a world yet to be discovered, with you, the player, at the centre of the action. The logo does an excellent job, fitting the bill of one of the most successful game developers in the industry, bringing us on adventure after adventure. The logo, although simple, describes Naughty Dog. In every way it creates an experience for the viewer and now everyone who knows the brand has come to recognise that stunning visuals, excitement and adventure are right around the corner.

Thanks for reading. I wish you every success in life, design and gaming,