Gaslamp Games Website Design

Gaslamp Games needs a website and branding redesign. This is the story of that design.

Gaslamp as a brand implies a couple obvious themes: steampunk and Victorian.

A couple days ago I was out at a restaurant; the interior decoration was all black, dark gray, and deep red. They had this particular wallpaper on one wall that was quite exceptional, a slightly lighter black Victorian paisley design on a darker black background. I started with that idea for the background and drew a tentacular paisley-looking sort of pattern:

From there I built a dark layout based on the old Gaslamp website design. The logo I used is a reduced version of the old logo (originally drawn in a fit of inspiration over a year ago). I redid the text banner a few weeks ago using a lovely font made by Jason Creed, and was sure to give the small fakecaps the same font weight as the large G’s. The font is almost art deco, which is a bit out of period, but I think something simpler and modern is preferable to an overly flamboyant Victorian font. The logo definitely needs work, but it’s actually turned out to be somewhat difficult to pull something off that feels as good as the old logo, so it’ll take some more time — Deliver now, revise later!

So this is Gaslamp Dark, going for the brown & black id Software look.

Or as Dan put it, “it looks like a Tool fanpage” and something else about how it belongs in an angsty teenager’s bedroom. I concede that the look is not especially professional if you’re not a dark 90’s independent game developer.

So, let’s try something else. Go light, professional, contemporary. More EA Games than id. Okay.


But then it looks a bit boring. Are we really that clean-cut? Plus, the dark logo and text don’t particularly fit with the lighter background. They’d have to be redone, and done a lot lighter; perhaps too much lighter. At this point I sent off the dark version and slept on it.

Dan again came up with a good way of putting things: We’re neither id nor EA, more like we want to be a kinda quirky midground of game design, more like Valve. (I should note here that for someone who generally hates everything, I have a huge soft spot for Valve’s work.) With middle-gray/brown/beige midtones, their site is something subtler. I like it.

I went for a middle sepia tone color range, made the background pattern a bit stronger so it’s visible on more systems (everything is darker on the MacTop). Highlights are brass and gold for that steampunk touch, and there’s just a hint of an aristocratic purple (to act as an accent) in the background of the footer. I switched the position of the logo and text banner so that in scanning the page a viewer’s eyes can read the company name then rest on the icon at the end.

The header is black to let the sepia tone gradient on the text and the Gaslamp logo stand out. The content panel is recessed for depth in contrast with the floating header and footer. Internal content panes may use yet more shades of brown, maybe different borders. As we add content, I’ll do a lot more pixeled steampunky doodads to give some nice flavor and set everything with proper emphasis — spacers, borders, trim, bullets.

There will be cogs.

Click for full size.

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