limited production :: hand crafted :: high performance :: rechargeable :: premium flashlights

This is my blog about creating a startup LED flashlight business. I'm a designer, fabricator, and strategist and I'm passionate about making ideas real. I believe that products are about people, that they should be built to last, deliver real value, and that we need to do a better job than we have in the recent past.

Most of my career has been contract or freelance work and I've crafted products and strategies for both big international companies and startups. I also used to work in the "industry" fabricating special effects for film and TV, along with the occasional hot rod. Bottom line, I love making things.

I'm starting this blog so you can follow along, from day one, and see what it's like to start a business, or fail in the process. Only time will tell, but I hope you find this interesting enough to stay tuned, comment, link, like, tweet, and (most importantly) participate in turning this idea into something tangible and valuable.

For a good place to get started with general info about who, what, why, etc., check out the "Stickies" on the left side of the page. Thanks for stopping by and please don't hesitate to ask questions and get involved!

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Friday, May 25, 2012

New Prometheus Lights Logo! (again)

Hopefully I'm one step closer to having a satisfactory logo! It seems kind of crazy to keep iterating the brand identity...but the company is so new I don't really have one :) One of the advantages in starting from scratch right?

So, my new banner is at the top! What do you think? I ran a poll here on the blog and on Candlepower Forums as well. My old logo actually won both polls by a small margin. I'm not a (certified) scientist but I suspect there is some sort of bias towards things you are more familiar with :) Also interesting, most people who actually wrote a text comment were in favor of the new logo...but the majority of votes were in favor of the old. Not sure what insight to take away from that.

A few people asked me to provide some explanation on the "what" any "why" of the new mark, so if you are into, that please read on after the jump!
My biggest challenge was creating a mark that could be applied to any surface, with any method. The tricky part was making something that can be stamped like my maker's mark and also CNC engraved. That essentially needs to be an outline. I also wanted to be able to print, embroider, or even stencil with spray paint.

So, my big plan is actually to use TWO different logos. I know, crazy right?! I'm sure some brand people will freak out about this, but stick with me for a sec.

I think this works because the outline logo will only be used on small parts when it is metal stamped or CNC machined. At that small scale, the shape still "reads" the same...that's my hope at least.


I always like to design from an inspiration, as opposed to just "making something up." The inspiration for this form is based on the Japanese kamon, or family crest, that is displayed on items of importance and at special ceremonies. They are monochromatic...wait for it...because they are often printed on a variety of materials including fabric, paper, wood, and steel.

The lower right kamon is the logo for my favorite local sushi place :) 
I started with a hexagon shape to mirror the metal-core circuit board that my LEDs are mounted to (below). Coincidentally, the circle shaped + hexagonal arrangement of the lower left kamon (above) represents the stars. Since light comes from our own star, the sun, I thought that was appropriate as well.

MCPCB (Metal Core Printed Circuit Board)
I wen't through quite a few variations on this theme. The first iteration was loosely based on the cherry blossom like the image below.

A traditional cherry blossom Kamon

The cherry blossom has five petals, not six, so I modified it slightly by adding a petal and changing some of the details. I enlarged the center circle to better represent the massing of the LED mounted to the MCPCB (below). I really like this variant and would love to use it some's just a little to literal for a flashlight company. I wanted to head in a direction that was a little more bold and a little more abstract.

My version of a "six petal" cherry blossom
There are thousands of kamon. I got a book with over 4,000 examples and SO many traditional kamon are used in part, or in whole, for modern brand logos...and not just for Japanese companies. Montblanc for example...a direct lift of a kamon. Those weird symbols on the cover of the "Complete Led Zeppelin" album? kamon.

All three images (to the right of ZoSo) are exact representations of existing kamon
You can imagine with over 4,000 recorded examples they covered just about every possible combination. I started to tinker with the hexagon. A few variations are below. You can also see another version of the previous "torch" concept.

Randomly, I decided to invert the hexagon colors and ended up with the bottom right image. I thought that was starting to look pretty bold and iconic.

Newer kamon tend to be inside of a circle, but earlier kamon were free floating. I started to play around with this idea. I thought both versions (center and right) were looking pretty cool so I sent of an email to Infinity Stamps to get feedback from one of their engineers. He said, "we can do the mark on the right if you eliminate the center dot." The thing with design is...once you start thinking about how to actually implement something you don't always end up with exactly what you want.

It actually looks pretty good with no center! However, I printed this at various scales and it just doesn't "read" very well. So, what if we go back to the solid version?

With a little bolder font this is looking (to me) pretty sharp. Now which one do I choose? Well, if you go back to my original requirements for marking, the only one that can be stamped or CNC engraved is the outline version. However, the outline version doesn't look good when printed on paper in smaller sizes. I was stumped until I had the crazy idea to just use both marks interchangeably.

Crazy? We'll see. I just got my stamp in the mail yesterday and haven't marked a light yet. I should have some lights stamped in a couple days! First I need to make a fixture to hold the stamp and the flashlight head in the correct orientation. To the shop! 


  1. Very interesting read...thanks for sharing your evolutionary thoughts with us. Very nice and sharp logo and should work well with your graphics and products.

  2. I have to say, the stamped version looks good. Thanks for the walk through on it's history!