Trying to find inspiration for a logo for CODEWORD, and I seem to have become the Rupert Giles of Concentric Circles.

I've already blown through my budget for paying actual designers to do this, and we didn't really get anywhere, so I guess I'm on my own.

Maybe I want an alchemical symbol for a nonexistent element. For a while I thought I wanted a schematic of an Enigma rotor, but those end up just looking like gears or circuit diagrams.

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49 Responses:

  1. Owen says:

    How about a decoder ring?

  2. jwz says:

    I want the CODEWORD logo to be a glyph without any letters or text on it. I like non-verbal icons, icons that do not have an obvious corresponding set of phonemes. Icons that are abstract enough to be not directly and obviously representational of some well-known physical object. Simple enough to be recognizable at small, monochrome sizes. Cool enough to be a tattoo.

    It doesn't need to be influenced by the existing DNA Lounge logo, and in fact, distancing the two is why I'm leaning against gear-like things. I want it to be its own thing. However, the two of them are often going to be presented near each other on promo materials, so it'd be good if they don't clash too badly.

    Simple, right?

    • Ryan says:

      The dials of this 16th century French cipher machine [0] have always struck me as distinctive, and the main dial especially seems like it could meet your criteria if just the center bits were rendered.

      [0] Cipher machine (Wikipedia)

    • I was going to point you towards an interesting ad I saw on the Dismaland article, but then you said "I'm leaning against gear-like things". So in the spirit of Anti-useful Internet Answers to Jamie, how about something based on this:

    • Chas. Owens says:

      I know you don't want letters (or to hark back to the DNA logo), but scytales are pretty nifty and a vertical hexagon with the paper tape in the process of spiraling around it decrypting to CODEWORD on the facet facing the viewer would be cool.

    • Paul N says:

      It may be too phenenometic, but I was thinking of a speech bubble with a key in it. Here is a quick mockup. The speech bubble has square corners so it looks more robotic.

      This also may be too much like the DNA Lounge logo for your liking. Fortunately this is not a lazyweb post.

  3. UnlikelyLass says:

    And where did you get a time hole map???

  4. Name says:

    Hi jwz,

    Dying to know which are some of those books you have lying open there.


    • jwz says:

      That would be telling, but let's see who can figure it out.

    • LS says:

      The big one with the red ribbon marker is Luigi Seraphini's "Codex Seraphinianus", which is a really cool book (try a google image search).

    • 205guy says:

      I bet the top one is a set of blueprints from the Long Now clock. And bottom-left might be a Mœbius strip.

  5. Owen W. says:

    Careful, keep down this path and you'll end up redesigning the new Pepsi logo.

  6. Not Frank says:

    Perhaps draw on sigil magic, without the empowering step. The Sparean sigils the modern chaos magicians are fond of will be too letter-like for your desired result, I think, but something like this might work. Or provide artistic inspiration.

  7. Ray says:

    Eyes peering out a speakeasy door?

    Stylized RC4/DES/AES iteration diagram?

    Briefcase chained to a hand?

  8. parx says:

    The word "codeword" in the context of bars made me think of speakeasies. So here's a pictogram of a speakeasy door with the slot open: <img;><svg fill='white' xmlns='' height='320' width='510' version='1.1' viewBox='0 0 102 64'><defs><pattern id='p' width='4' patternUnits='userSpaceOnUse' height='4'><rect height='4' width='4' fill='white'/><rect height='2' width='2' y='2' x='2' fill='black'/><rect height='2' width='2' fill='black'/></pattern></defs><rect width='102' height='64' fill='white'/><g transform='translate(-1,0)'><rect height='12' width='73' y='15' x='63' fill='url(%23p)'/><path d='m63,15,0,12,1,0,0-12-1,0' fill='black'/></g><path d='m15,27,72,0,0-12-72,0zm-15-15,102,0,0,64-102,0z' fill='white'/><g stroke-width='2' stroke='black' fill='none'><rect height='12' width='72' y='15' x='15'/><rect height='62' width='100' y='1' x='1'/><rect height='22' width='72' y='41' x='15' fill='black'/></g></svg>"/>
    I hope it will be displayed properly. A favicon version I made looks quite recognizable.

  9. I've always been a fan of the 45 RPM spacer, but that's probably too obvious for this. Maybe a modified version tho? Like, add claws?

  10. Pavel Lishin says:

    Is that the Voynich manuscript?

  11. Simplified circular slide-rule marked with icons for cocktails, music, mushroom clouds.

  12. jwz says:

    Chuck D:

    When it came to be around that potential time of making logos, I wanted to make something that understood what a logo could do, you know? Look at the Rolling Stones. The tongue and the lips say it all without you looking at the font. I wanted to be able to make something that detaches. I don’t think there’s too many logos out there that don’t deal with a font, that you can detach and know what it is. Wu-Tang is still the W, but that kinda comes close. But Public Enemy… no font whatsoever. Circle with a man, you know what it is.

  13. jwz says:

    I like these, but they read too much as gears:

    Maybe like this but much, much simpler, and much, much less Dungeons and Dragons:

    Maybe like this but less likely to make O.T.O. wankers want to talk to me:

    Chevron seven locked:

    • Paul N says:

      Who says you need to include the whole rotor in the logo? Including only a portion by zooming in would make the logo less circular and thus less likely to read like a gear.

    • Jake Nelson says:

      What comes to mind for me from that is something like this (quick rough):

      (The dots are placeholders for shapes of some kind, possibly something rectangular, but circles could work. If you did want to incorporate the name into the logo for some uses, putting the letters in the circles would work)

      The letter psi represents/is used for a lot of possibly-relevant-to-your-interests concepts: wave functions in quantum mechanics, the positional states of a qubit in a quantum computer, psionics/ESP, pharmacology and/or pharmacy, the psi-function (return value of a program) in computability theory, etc, etc...

      Anyway, it's what occurred to me, and it's simple-ish.

      • Jake Nelson says:

        I'd think a combination-lock dial, minus numbers, would be a useful thing, but without the right context, it evokes speedometer/tachometer more than I'd like.
        Seems like there should be a way to combine it with an iris, also, but it eludes me.

        • Jake Nelson says:

          Last one for now: combination dial, psi, Braille for CODE WORD:

          Not quite what you've asked for, but maybe it'll help with ideas?

    • Neal C says:

      Apropos to Stargate glyphs, this Stargatesque astrolabe might be of interest, it looks like it might be a fancy cypher tool...

  14. crowding says:

    Rotary encoder tracks:

  15. Doug Orleans says:

    Perhaps these will help inspire:

    New astrological symbols:

    New alchemical symbols:

  16. apfrod says:

    i just knocked this up:

    i'd expect you to space the notches to actually encode 'codeword' in some way of course :)

  17. I thought of you when I saw this "bespoke speakeasy-esque peephole for the lab": (from this distillery profile, which you've probably already seen)

  18. jwz says:

    Maybe I should just use cons cells.