FTFY Friday: The Nerd Mafia

The Nerd Mafia is (or was) a group of nerds from Toronto and the surrounding areas that would gather for pub nights and other nerdy things. I think. I don’t know, I never went. I wish I had though.

I was invited to join the group back in my webcomic days, several times. I can’t think of any good reason why I didn’t go. It looks like I missed out on some pretty fun times. When I finally pulled my head out of my butt and went looking to see when the next event was I discovered they were on hiatus.

One thing I can say though, is that the logo always bothered me. A lot of logos bother me, because there’s a spectrum of good and bad design. And there’s a lot of logos that I think fall somewhere on the ‘bad’ part of the spectrum. There are elements to this logo that would’ve been strong, but it’s really just a mishmash of elements that don’t fit together. I’m assuming some amount of clip art is involved in it.

Nerd Mafia Original

So, while I wait for them to return from hiatus, I thought I’d take a crack at creating some alternatives to the logo. Who knows, maybe one of the organizers will see this, want to use the logo, and that’ll get the thing up and running again. Wishful thinking, I know.

Nerd Mafia 8-bit

Nerd Mafia FTFY 8-Bit

For the first option, I wanted to stay close the original concept. The fedora is supposed to evoke the ‘mafia’, and the horn rimmed glasses meant to be a nod to the ‘nerd’. I think part of what bothered me about the original one was the angle. The looking from above, forty-five degree angle just screams clip art. I also discarded the d20. While I understand that dice rolling is a pretty recognizable nerd trope, it seemed like unnecessary additional iconography. In the original, it’s cluttering. What I did instead here was go 8-bit on the design, and flattened it out.

It’s not a strong option, but it is better.

Nerd Mafia Noir


Second option, I wanted to extrapolate on a nerdy mafioso theme, and go a little more of the illustrative route. I’ll admit, this design is inspired by (and kind of rips off) a design I love from a flash game developer, Con Artist Games. One of the versions they used for a warfare game always caught my eye, and the noir feel of it is what drove this design.

I’ve now taken the mafia aspect a little further, but putting a full on gangster into the logo. Except he’s a robot. I was looking at Scout Stormtroopers and Cylons for inspiration. Oh, and Clamps. I still included the taped glasses motif, the fedora, and added in a Nerf inspired Tommy Gun.

Nerd Mafia Arcade


The last option I put together is inspired by arcade games. I think this is the strongest options\, because there’s versatility in a wordmark logo that you can’t get with an icon logo or an illustrative logo. Wordmarks are much easier to build a logo system on. What that means is that different iconography could be added to this one for theming. That d20 could be re-introduced for a tabletop themed night. An 8-bit dinosaur for a monster movie theme. So on and so forth.

Which one’s your favourite?

Give me some feedback!