The design process behind the new Figura Obscura logo

Behind the Scenes: Creating the Figura Obscura Logo

When figure fans begin receiving the latest Figura Obscura figure of the Headless Horseman, one of the things they will undoubtedly notice is the incredible new artwork featured on this deluxe package (see below). Amidst that artwork is something else that is new – the Figura Obscura logo. In this “Behind the Scenes” article, we will look at the creation of this new logo as well as the “Figura Obscura keys.”

Figura Obscura - Headless Horseman box featuring art from Nate Baertsch

The Beginning of Figura Obscura

The Figura Obscura line, which Four Horsemen Studios created as a way to release new figures and projects that didn’t cleanly fit into any of the existing “Legions” lines, debuted in December 2021 with the inaugural release of the Yuletide Demon – Krampus. Interestingly, if you look at the package for that original Krampus figure, you will not find the words “Figura Obscura” anywhere on it, nor will you see this new logo. This is because the name did not exist when that figure was produced!

Leading up to the surprise release of Krampus, the team at Four Horsemen Studios met to discuss exactly how this new figure would be rolled out and how it would be added to the company’s website. Since it was not a “Legion”, it did not belong on any of the existing pages, so a decision had to be made as to where to place this new figure from an organizational and marketing standpoint.

It is worth noting that, at this point, there was another figure besides Krampus already planned. In fact, the Headless Horseman was initially slated to be the first surprise figure drop! The timing ended up not working to get that figure out in time for Halloween 2021, so it was bumped back a year and Krampus became the first Figura Obscura release.

So while we needed a place to list Krampus on the website in the short term, we also knew we had at least one more surprise figure we wanted to do, and therefore we needed somewhere to organize these projects. We did not start out trying to create a whole new line, but that is what ended up happening! Cornboy suggested the name “Figura Obscura”, and a new Four Horsemen Studios line was born.

The Success of Figura Obscura

The reaction that we received with the release of the Krampus figure was incredible. Existing fans loved the surprise reveal and “in stock” figure sale, and we’ve heard from many new fans who have told us that their first (but certainly not their last) Four Horsemen Studio purchase was that Yuletide Demon! Right away we knew we had something special on our hands, and we began to get very excited for the possibilities that Figura Obscura opened up.

The Headless Horseman

From the start, we knew that we wanted to release the Headless Horsemen around Halloween, so in the months leading up to this launch Nate Baertsch started working on the incredible artwork that would be found on the packaging for this new figure. It was during this period that we began questioning whether or not we needed a logo for the Figura Obscura brand. Even though the Krampus figure’s box did not include that branding, we liked the idea of future releases carrying this name and brand as a way to tie them together.

After some initial brainstorming, Jeremy presented a quick sketch that combined the F and the O of the Figura Obscura name into a “rune like” symbol (see below). This idea was enough for Nate Baertsch to begin a further design exploration with, and soon a number of variations on this theme were presented for review and discussion.

  • Figura Obscura logo design process

A Team Process

During this process, there was a team from the studio involved offering feedback on the design. Below you can see the first round of options that were considered. From that first group, a trio of designs were selected and moved forward with further variations of each created (the second image below shows this). Every design process is different, and while we did plan to do a full logo for Figura Obscura, on this project we started with the “logo mark” first and planned to expand on that later.

  • Figura Obscura logo design process
  • Figura Obscura logo design process

Below you can see the direction of the logo mark that was decided on begin to be integrated into a full logo, which now also includes the “Figura Obscura” text. Here we are looking for the appropriate type treatment, but also something that pairs well with the logo mark we had worked on earlier.

  • Figura Obscura logo design process

There was quite a bit of back and forth at this point, but the right design just wasn’t breaking through, which is not uncommon for a design project like this one. After putting the project down for a few days, the team regrouped looking for the key to move the project forward. It turned out, that the key…was actually a key!

A Key Emerges

At one point in the design process, Nate sketched out a simple shape combining the F and the O and someone remarked that it “looks like a key.” That was all that was needed to provide a creative spark that helped invigorate the design team! The idea that the logo mark would be a key, and that these “keys” would unlock the secrets of Figura Obscura, got everyone very excited.

  • Figura Obscura logo design process
  • Figura Obscura logo design process

In short order Nate had a new series of design ideas to review. From that round came a few more adjustments and finally the design shown below – the final logo for Figura Obscura.

Figura Obscura logo

Seeing this logo fully realized, the next idea that came out of this process was to have the Figura Obscura “key” used as shown above for the standard instances of the logo - basically when we are referring to the line itself, but to redesign the key for every actual figure release. This would tie the look of the key itself into the character being unlocked in Figura Obscura. Since we were working on the Headless Horseman packaging at this time, Nate put together a variant of the key that incorporated a “pumpkin” into the design. This is the version that you will see on the packaging for The Headless Horseman, and which is also shown below.

Figura Obscura - Headless Horseman logo

Own the Figura Obscura Keys

Shortly after the idea was presented of having unique keys designed for each Figura Obscura, someone also suggested that it would be cool to actually produce real metal versions of the keys themselves. Everyone at the studio wholeheartedly agreed, and George set out to find a place to make the Figura Obscura keys a reality! Below we can see a digital rendering of the first of these key that will be produced – the standard Figura Obscura logo version. We will be producing a very limited number of these keys to see what the fan interest in them may be. If you want to start your very own collection of Figura Obscura metal keys, stay tuned for details on when this will be offered!

  • Figura Obscura logo design process
  • Figura Obscura logo design process

What Will We See in the Future?

With the release of the Headless Horseman, we are once again amazed and humbled at the incredible response from Legionnaires and the action figure collecting community as a whole. What will the keys of Figura Obscura unlock next? That remains a secret, but we can tell you that this line is just getting started, and that the mysteries of Figura Obscura will emerge again when you least expect it. Watch out, and remain vigilant…for Figura Obscura shall return.

Published on 10.05.22

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