Hello there, fellow PAX Community Discordian. It’s gfx here to bring you a pretty important and lengthy post regarding some design aspects of the PCD’s future. Most people aren’t fans of reading a huge wall of text, so I will also include a TL;DR at the bottom, but it would be great if you could stick with me for a few minutes of your time!
There’s a spoiler in #announcements that, if you want the intended reveal experience, you shouldn’t click until you finish this post (or the TL;DR).
I’m going to walk you through a bit of history before getting into the announcement itself. It’ll be a fun build-up, especially for those who have been with the server for a while as you’ll be able to see some interesting progression. As you read more and more, you may guess where things are heading, but regardless, I still hope it’s a fun little trip. Once again, if you don’t care about any of that, feel free to go straight to the TL;DR. I do warn, this post is a bit lengthy.
June 2017. The early beginnings of the PCD. The server began, as stated, in June that year. I believe I came along and joined very early July (as far as memory can serve), about 1 to 2 weeks into the server’s life. Why does that matter? Well, only soon after, this little fella was created:
If you’ve only seen this as the icon of the server but don’t know much else, this is Paxter. He has essentially become our logo, mascot,
lord and savior. He was designed with one main thing in mind: represent each PAX event in a fun and playful way. I feel that what we created as a community (since there was plenty of input at the time) was something fun and iconic for the server. As mentioned, though, there was lots of input. This was not the first design of what came to be ‘Paxter’. Time to share a little more history.
I don’t believe I’ve publically shared this, but I could be wrong. Keep in mind, not every step of this chart was shown to the community. A good half of these were simply back-end iterations of trial and error, seeing what would and wouldn’t work. Fun fact: the only reason Paxter has a mouth is due to received feedback that stated the hands mixed with the controller (pre-Switch) looked like some misshaped ball-gag. Ain’t that nice? Anyways, eventually the community, Andeh, and myself were satisfied with how Paxter had turned out, and the rest was history…
Until recently, of course.
August 2019. After contemplating with myself for a bit, I decided that Paxter’s design could definitely be better. There were a few key things I initially wanted to simply tighten up, so that’s what I began to work on. The main thing that stuck out to me for a while had been the headphones. Even from the beginning, they felt a little ‘wonky’. Originally I had thought this was fine, as it was (arguably) working with the rest of the design; however, when our other designer, CMYKMatter, stated some of the issues with them, it became more apparent how odd they really were.
Later in the month, I decided to take a stab at fixing the headphones alone. During this process I faced two challenges: (1) trying to change a design in a vector-based environment that wasn’t originally designed in one, and (2) trying to make the headphones look more like normal headphones, but not clash with the overall “cartoony” feel of the logo. And I am proud to say that after a few hours of hard work… none of it paid off! Let me show you one of the iterations:
On the left, you’ll see the headphones in a static position, and on the right is the headphones “formed” to Paxter. During this design process, it occurred to me that making normal headphones look normal on Paxter was going to be much more difficult due to how he is designed. At that point, the next thought was basically: “do we throw out Paxter and start from scratch?”
And the answer to that was no. But also yes? But definitely no as well. But… maybe? It was an interesting thing to figure out, but in the end, there was a new goal in mind. That goal was not to ditch Paxter and design a new logo. He has become a staple of this community we’ve all come together to form. Instead, I felt the goal was to ditch Paxter and design a better Paxter. One that held on to the same interesting and more iconic characteristics of the current logo, while ditching its underlying (and more obvious) issues.
Side note: just to list a few issues off to you from a design perspective so you don’t think it was all because the headphones were “a little too wonky”, there are also issues with:
- Uniqueness; still using Discord’s Clyde as a rough (but still noticeable) base
- Design modularity (i.e. not very versatile to be wearing/holding/doing many other things)
- Visual clarity, primarily at small sizes
And a more personal opinionated critique: it didn’t have a very “modern” feel to me. Needless to say, between all of this, I felt I could do better now. And with that, I worked towards building a new, but hopefully familiar Paxter. One that I hoped the community would like, or at least come to like, a lot more. So come early September, over the course of several days, with a good amount of hours put into refining lines, adding several initial design options, and of course getting some helpful opinions and critiques from our other designer, Paxter “2.0” was born.
At this point, you can reveal the spoiler image in the Discord server.
So, all I will say about the new design at this point is as followed: I am very proud of how it came out, and I believe it to be a huge improvement over current Paxter. I know many of you may be unhappy or unsure about it at first because it is a change, but things can’t and shouldn’t always stay the same. I believe most of you will come to like the new design as I feel it has much more character to it, as well as many more possibilities.
While this guy won’t be debuting on the server till after PAX Aus and on merch or things of the sort until the end of 2019/early 2020, we’ve decided to give you this preview of him to hopefully get you acclimated with what is to come. We will be showing off what is coming and what is possible with new and improved Paxter in the weeks to come. But for now, thank you very much for reading this if you stuck around, and as always, thank you for your continued support of the PAX Community Discord.
TL;DR – Paxter, our Discord server’s logo/mascot, has had his share of design flaws. While he has been a great visual representation of the community, both with the colors of each PAX event to the fun and joyful nature of the character, his design has, as of late, brought me to try and fix some of his flaws. After realizing that fixes to the logo’s minor issues were hindered by greater underlying issues, a redesign was instead prepared. Paxter has been redesigned from the ground up to maintain the same spirit, but have fewer issues and become more iconic and versatile.
You should now reveal the spoiler image in the server.
The day after this post goes live, new Paxter will not be hidden behind spoiler warnings and a “reveal schedule” will be posted. We have a few things to show you and some finalizing before we’re ready to roll him out, so stay tuned for that and keep an eye out Tuesday afternoon for that, as it will likely be a silent announcement with no ping. Whether you read the entire post (which ended up being longer than expected) or just scrolled to the TL;DR, thank you for taking the time to stay updated with the server.
All the best,
Location: Long Island, NY