The logo is without doubt one of the most powerful tool to sell a game, but to make one you'll need patience, time, and knowledge about graphism. I will show you the progression of the logo of Arrow Time, made with no particular graphic skills, just some basic understanding of the tools. This is not a tutorial, just the process we used.
NB : If you are not a professional graphist, you will struggle with professional tools because you probably haven't used these tools long enough to master them. But you're lucky, there is a lot of great tutorial for Gimp, Photoshop and any tools you want to use (except paint, please don't do this).
First step : The font
Every game has a name around you want to communicate. The first step is to choose a font suiting your needs. Do you need a cartoon font? a sci-fi font? Even if you plan to make your own font, don't start from scratch, find a base for your font. Dafont is a great website with tons of free fonts!
Personnal advice : pick at least 3/4 fonts and never use 100% saturated colors. Don't pick a pure white or a pure black for example.
Second step : Tell a story
The font and the name of your game already tell something. But it's not enough, you need more than just the basic setup right?!
No big change here, we just wanted to emphasis the cartoonish style with a border.
Text alone is a bit boring so we added a new element :
The arrow is a simple screenshot of our 3D model, nothing else!
And just by asking myself: "what can I do with this" came the first idea :
Personnal advice : duplicate your layers and try things, tweak parameters. Share your work.
Third step : Make more propositions
My way to do this is to duplicate everything at every step. I can then start from an interesting step and bring new ideas without destroying the previous work.
We liked the idea of slicing the text without destroying the lisibility but "TIME" was too poor for us.
Here again we liked the exploding text effect but something seemed wrong : We don't know why/where the arrow disappears and the visible part of it is lacking something. The contrast between the cartoonish text and the arrow annoys us.
Nothing is sealed. Gather informations from others
I was actually thinking that the text needed a border. In fact, absolutly not. The following tests are close to our current logo and the result is inspired by our day-by-day living experience.
BE CAREFUL : This is a title, it should be clean even with details. So the objective now is to "finish" the logo without overloading it. Try to zoom-in / zoom-out as often as you can. Some details can ruined your images when zoomed.
Here I added the last part of the arrow, better split effects and some impaled arrows.
As the blue to dark-blue gradient background reminded us some subaquatic movies, we tried other backgrounds :
We love this one but the colours have definetly no meaning for our game.
This one is the current logo. It may changes a bit but the biggest part is done!
ps: I inverted the background gradient and it removed the subaquatic effect. It's magic.
Which one do you prefer ?