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TASK: “Calling upon a retro influence, and appealing to a male and female demographic that crosses over several generations.”


I was approached to take on, not only the task of developing a new brand, but developing the name, and helping an organization make a new leap. Before the conception of ELEKTRIK DREAMS, the founding group came from a corporate background dealing with Cisco Systems, and also from an unexpected background in Flea-Market VHS and Yesteryear video game collections and trades… This believe it or not, is not uncommon from where this rag-tag group of nostalgia lovers, and tech geeks hail from… Keeping it weird in Austin, TX.

The mission was quite the challenge… Make their transition from IT careers, to tech startup a new fun venture that retained their identity and principles, but also conveyed their fun identity to their online creative audience; in addition, visually still evoked their love for 80’s and early 90’s video game and tech ephemera and culture. My goal was to make sure we did not dive deep in the kitsch or cliche, and thus it was integral that I limit the cliche ephemera that we have grown accustom to when we recall the 80s and 90s. Therefore the goal to stay on track in keeping the visual narrative very very subtle, yet still be clever in how the message is provided through key styleguide elements.

After the research, discovery, and establishing the look & feel for the brand build out, was developing a name that coincided with the root values and identity elements. The name had to invite and evoke the unique and quirky style of the retro genre the client gravitated towards in their off-beat side venture… What better than to hearken back to our shared youth, and love for retro 80s/90s film, music, and gaming culture. This is always a plus, having a commonality as such with the client, and having the ability to visually and strategically translate the client’s needs to visual and tangible execution. The result in our brand naming process, concluded with a long lost film titled “Electric Dreams” from 1984; to our surprise we both summoned this film during our roundtable sessions and brainstorms — The film was very quirky, with a plot that actually still fits todays standards (shockingly the premise was almost similar to the Spike Jonze film “HER”). Overall, the details of this film, the way we both gravitated towards this film as inspiration just made sense; it fit the personalities of the founders, and the name seemed timeless. In efforts to polish the name, and make the name stand out, from a visual perspective and to lock in a proper domain name, I decided to spell “electric” phonetically the same, but from a visual perspective, it had to be different… The “C” was replaced with a “K” , with the intentions to make the full layout of the name and logotype stand out, and have the letterform emphasize the pronunciation — additionally upon layout and typesetting, it provided a much better balance when developing the full logo with wordmark.

The next step was to create an icon that has a retro flair, yet still seemed contemporary, and had the ability to serve as a well balanced logo-mark with a clean silhouette; all this and having the ability to work as a single color  dual color piece as well. Add to that, the ability to work and behave well in the many device and literature sizes, while conforming and standing out in all of the required marketing and brand environments. In conclusion, the end-result was an amalgamation of two letter-forms, being bridged by a literal image element of a lightning bolt, to emphasize the primary stand-out portion of the brand name. The branded styleguide and final identity developed, paid close attention to the accompaniment of proper typeface usage, and without getting too kitsch, utilized a color palette allowing for the brand to find balance, call upon its retro influence, and appeal to a male and female demographic that crosses over several generations.