Clavier Franskaya
Franskaya's music now featured on CBC Music!

The story of the creation of a musician's logo by a self-made graphic designer

On the day of the release of my very first single, in january 2015, I already had a logo. I had been thinking about it for some time already. It’s my girlfriend at the time, designer endowed with many other talents, who had designed my first logo, based on still vague ideas.

"I have that hat on the head all the time... a cd, a record, these things are round... I would like something that looks like the logo of Aphex Twin; something alike... I'd like my music to be on the upfront, not myself. I will never be as "big" as them, but I love my privacy, just like Daft Punk, or like DeadMouse."

Apex Twin's Logo

The Aphex Twin's logo was what I had in head at the very beginning.

DeadMou5's logo and its resemblance to Disney's Mickey Mouse


The Deadmou5's logo, playful as is music, was very likely inspired by Mickey Mouse. In a world of sampled music everywhere around, the analogy to the jealous copyright protection kept by Disney over his mouse seems obvious. A perfect logo, simple, refined et recognizable by anyone, either in 2d or 3d versions.

3D version of DeadMou5's logo by Shamrok3


In the weeks that followed, she did some tries. It's with some dough for architectural models that she pulled a mini statuette of my head, here photographed and retouched in Photoshop and GIMP:

The very first Franskaya's logo by Danielle Bouchard, Interior Designer.

I started using that icon everywhere during the following eight or nine months. In Quebec, following the protests of the Red Sqares, a new law prohibits wearing a mask in the street... I liked the idea of "seditious" or "protest" coming along with a character with no face. And the statuette had a vague resemblance with me, which was funny.

In august 2015, I came accross the Twitter account of a band where every members were wearing a bandana to cover their face, just like Far West Cowboys. The picture was so ugly! Unfortunately, I can't find them to show you. I had my first doubt about my logo seing them dressed like desperados. Definitely, I didn't liked the idea of banditry associated with masking someone's face with a bandana. Franskaya can be quite original and even bizarre perhaps sometimes, but certainly not an offender.

Scream, the movie

The mask in the movie Scream. Source:

Afterwards, I came accross a similar picture. It's at this point that the disgust of my own logo came to me. I wanted to communicate «playful» and «anonymity» at a time. But another signification, undesirable, was slipping through inadvertently. No. It wasn't doing the job anymore.

I felt the urge to create another one, different, catchy, simple, and cool. But what a mandate for a musician!

Then I started searching the net, looking for ideas. Pinterest have been a very precious ressource. By the way, this social network is very friendly-user and fun. You can archive and organize image collections for future reference. Thus, easily find sources of inspiration.

I had found the logo of «The After Eight Show» very original. It's a surrealist image created with a technique similar to «double-exposure» in photography. A hand holds a light that turns out to be the brain of the head which one sees the profile. I personally would have removed the hair, but this is just a personal taste.

The after eight show

The After Eight Show. Source:

I have seen several very inspiring images in Pinterest. Including this footprint that infuse its message with all the strength of his brandished fist:

Honor: those who stepped Forward when others were thinking backwards.


Or this very evocative female profile!

Musical notes coming out of the head of a female profile


Here! Another profile ! Double this time!!

Two profiles


I love the clean lines in the illustration of these cats silhouettes. Another profile!

Sleek silhouettes of two cats


What movement in this one!



Or in this one!


But how exactly does one get himself involved in the design of a logo, from scratch, when not a professional graphic designer? I had indeed developed some skills in drawing during my childhood and my youth, and I had drawn a lot, to kill time, during the long quiet hours of summer 99 spent as a park warden in Saguenay, without TV or internet ... and an AM/FM radio that worked only with great rations of fuel... therefore, it was rarely turned on.

Although not very edifying, here is an example:

Kriss de Valnor drawings by Franskaya

Kriss de Valnor is a foreground character in the comics Thorgal.

Well, I must say, I had also played a bit with Photoshop and Gimp in the past, and already knew a few tricks. Nothing anyone can't learn by himself after a few tutorials and some practice.

But well, how do one gets started to design a logo? After hours on Pinterest, I went to the Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec (BANQ). The book which caught my attention was "100 ideas that have transformed the graphics" by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne.

100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, book by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne


I still wanted something anonymous. My intention was to try to avoid putting my picture inset on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. No selphies. Or at least as few as possible…

The idea of a pictogram in black and white seemed very appealing to me, such as those designed by Otl Aicher for the 1972 Munich Olympics:

The sleek and purified logos of Otl Aicher for the 1972 Olympics

I appreciate the simplicity, the "stripped" aspect of these icons

I like abstract art, Futurism, Cubism, but especially Surrealism. In particular these images of Salvador Dali that hides other images. In fact, I love the surprise effect that loom in surrealism, like in this image of Eugenia Loli:

Surrealist image by Eugenia Loli

What imagination!

What strikes are these unexpected connotations, like the idea of modesty, which Magritte expresses in this way:

Surrealist oil on canvas by René Magritte

What a genius!

Head full of hundred of ideas, I got to work with Gimp, a free image editing software similar to Photoshop.

My profile, once cut and placed mirror, gave this:

First Draft for the logo of Franskaya

Amateur but interesting! It was like a candle. Or a pawn. A pawn in society, a pawn in the ocean of world music... I liked the outline. But it was not quite that. I was not there yet.

I made that sketch later, one evening:

A sketch for logo of Franskaya

(teach your children how to draw, good God, it will serve them well, one day!)

I wanted it to represent the uppercase "F" of "Franskaya". And append the 'r' to it, and so on. The idea of mirrored profile was almost maintained, with this nose on right, who played the role of the central transverse lug of the "F". Awesome! I had something, finally!

All sorts of ideas sprang into my mind while I amused myself in the software to get this:

The new Franskaya's logo


The «F» was almost maintained, at least vaguely mentioned. The idea of pawn, too, was almost maintained with the mirrored duplicated profile. The outline was imperfect, like my music; like myself. Like in surrealism, one can see many different things simultenaously in this image, and this multiplicity is quite pleasing to my eye.

One thing you immediately see is that little cosmonaut, rather childlike, funny, which like Deadmou5 and Mickey Mouse, is there to remind me every day that I do music for fun. It should never be a chore! This little guy looking like an astronaut was very congruent with my audience, 97 "fans" on Deezer at the time composed of a majority of teenagers. Besides, it seemed apparently kinda dancing, leaning a bit backwards like it is.

A cosmonaut explore, just like I do with my futurist sounds and my surrealist synths! In addition, there is this idea of science-fiction, my favorite literary style. (I have published a short SF story in Solaris in 2012).

The second perception: my profile , turned toward the left whole . Representative of certain aspects of my personality like being sage and conformist . Bordered by an aura , for not having the choice of radiate publicly in order to make his music heard in the world, despite his desire of anonymity. The face turned to the left, it's my gaze fixed on the past , which warrants the Future . The other profile, turned to the right, represent my interest in technology and geek stuff and indeed the future... and maybe a bit Alien . The right profile is truncated, representing the other side of me, creative and somehow a bit freak. Finally, you may have noticed also that the visor of the cosmonaut become the beautiful all round brain enlightened , of the profile. Those ideas that shines. That music that you lights you.

Finally, on the top of the head, the small piece that exceeds can be seen as a twisted Radio Antenna of the cosmonaut gear, or as a strand of hair for the profile, symbolizing a touch of madness.

Finally, this logo meets several requirements: it works well in all formats, especially very small ones, which is well suited for internet publications (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook ...) It is catchy. It can be identified very quickly, like Deadmou5 mouse.

It is not perfect! Other versions will come!

That's it! I hope this foray into my creative process will give you some ideas for your own projects!

Thanks! Vive la musique! Good creation to you!

Notice: Home-made translation from french. If you notice anything that could improve the english quality of this article, please contact me at the email address below, or thru Twitter.

TAGS: #Franskaya #illustration #logo #graphic #graphicdesign #icon #ideogram #music #electro #creativity #story

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