View Full Version : Nerdy design input

04-17-2015, 02:03 AM
Hey, mostly lurker calling all nerds to action!

I am a mostly trained (long story) jeweller. I want to focus on gamer/nerd/geek culture, possibly even become a supplier for cosplay jewellery, doing bespoke stuff.
I have a local tabletop gaming store willing to sell my products, but he wants to start small and targeted. I completely understand and am overjoyed he has a head for test marketing and general business planning. This does mean I need some generic, broad appeal ideas to start with (the customers may have no interest in jewellery at all).

I have a few ideas (Dresden's shield bracelet/pentacle, a silhouette of a D20's facets to create a web-like pattern, alchemical symbols for FMA, etc) but I feel I am missing that spark that will start the fandom forest-fire. I'm looking for something easily recognisable from any fandom. If would make you squee to find it in a store that is something I'd like to make.
No idea is bad, links to specific quotations or images would be amazing, but I can use google, I'm a big boy.

It is easiest for me to replicate silhouettes/graphic images or specific patterns/symbols. There are other possible guidelines, but I want this to be more of a spit-balling session than a design document. I'm not going to presume you know about metalwork, the limits of my own skill or what it practically feasible. Maybe down the road I can make your whatsit and make somebody smile and feel fuzzy inside.
I am serious when I say there are no bad ideas (unless they are copyrighted; I do NOT want the store owner to get an angry phone call from Wizards of the Coast/Blizzard/Disney).

I appreciate any and all help, and I apologise if I have misposted or am being inappropriate (I'm not very good at this whole 'reaching out' stuff).
It may seem vague and rambling, but I don't want to discount any fandoms, and there are a LOT of them.
Mods, you are fully welcome to move or delete this post if you see fit :angel:

04-17-2015, 01:50 PM
People seem to love Legend of Zelda symbols. I don't know much about it but I have seen a lot of merchandise with the triangle symbol or the hawk on it.

What about comic book character symbols? They are easily recognizable. I'd like to see more Batwoman stuff myself.

04-17-2015, 02:20 PM
As Ana said - the Triforce symbol is a no-brainer. Ditto the mushroom from Super Mario. Those are close enough to being generic that making up your own variant MIGHT be acceptable, but -- well, if you know of any professionals in the field, ask them first.

For comics, things like the Batman or Superman symbols might work -- but, as with any such designs, keep in mind that many of these are Trademarked, so use at your own risk. Comic companies are know for being litigious.

04-17-2015, 03:21 PM
I know for myself the big draw for buying stuff is unique AND functional as something other than "shiny".

so that being said, I know lovecraftian mythos is hot is some geeky subcultures(and recognizable), you said silhouettes are easier, how about a life or mana counter pendant of cthulu. you make the silhouette of either his head or full body and have a number disk behind cutout eyes OR numbered holes in the tentacles with a clip on bead. (something like this (http://guideimg.alibaba.com/images/shop/71/08/14/2/believe-beads-x1-dice-silver-plated-clip-on-charm-will-fit-thomas-sabo-type-bracelets_2984132.jpg) but with normal 6 sided die beads, you could have different colors for magic, llife, mana etc.), the shape could be anything really(just used the old ones because of tentacles/recognition), sword(using the hilt guards to hold other charms)

04-17-2015, 08:46 PM
I like the ideas, especially functional ones (I need to work on my knowledge of mechanics to create an elegant AND functional design that isn't just available in cardboard for twice the size and a tenth of the price). As it stands, I've thought about how to create impactful chromatic dragons, but need to refine the idea.
I will likely go for the religious symbols of Dungeons and Dragons (Pelor, etc) but I need to ensure I can faithfully represent the [un]holy symbols (great for clerical cosplay or maybe a larp event as 'evidance' of the darker followings). These will not be able to be advertised, as I'm sure wizards of the coast has an eye out, but regardless of if you recognise exactly where you know it from, the symbols have a good enough design to just be thought of as generic 'cool' symbols.
I've had the ideas of weapons before, but not the mushrooms etc. I may produce them as charms down the line (simple, easily replicable, etc) but I'd need to establish myself in the shop before making impluse buy items, as they would only be a few euro each, including the enamel paint or chemicals needed to create the patinas.

I'm going to stay clear of clear copyright territorial borders until I get people asking for it (then it will be contracted work and the store is not liable). It's a shame, as one of the first things I thought if was the lantern corps rings. I also thought of the Hyrule family crest, as it is so recognizable... but that is a double edged sword as it cannot be advertised because of that, and you'd have to be a pretty big fan to want it hanging about your neck or on a bangle.

I I do manage to get a foot in the door I may make some "display" items to enhance the tableau, they won't be sold at all. Nope, not ever..... don't even ask.What, the price tag, that's an ESTIMATE for work of a similar caliber....

Thanks so much for the replies. I'd even just like to hear what fandoms you all partake in, maybe there are ones I don't know of and can research myself :)

04-17-2015, 11:01 PM
Maybe some Star Wars stuff, with the new movie coming out this year? Rebel and Empire symbols maybe. And the new season of A Game of Thrones is starting here, so maybe the sigils of the more popular houses would be something to consider.

04-17-2015, 11:14 PM
I like the chromatic dragons idea -- it simplifies things, as you already know (by definition) what colors to use, and how a given race's general attitude might be (sneaky or haughty or confident or aggressive, et al). Jem dragons might be a nice set to look into, as well, depending on your materials available. In either case, you could realistically use a tiny costume "gem" for the eye(s). Pseudodragons might be worth looking up, as well, if you don't mind doing something "cutesy"

Better yet, the idea of "dragons of a given color" is a bit hard to copyright; just look at official designs to ensure that poses you pick don't resemble them too closely, I suppose. That, and don't actually *call* them by their D&D names, just use something safer such as "Dragon - aspect" (e.g. "Dragon - Swamp Lurker" rather than Black Dragon) etc

PS I like the LFG avatar!

Ironclad Alibi
04-18-2015, 12:45 AM
Don't overlook the non-fantasy wargamers. How about a few hexagonal shapes inscribed with silhouettes of military equipment like tanks, planes, ships, cannons, etc. These could used for rings, pins, pendants, etc. Colors could vary depending on the nationality of the item depicted.

04-21-2015, 06:47 AM
Star Trek badges of various sorts are cool. How about doing the Bajoran combadge/holy insignia shape? Or doing Bajoran style earrings? Maybe little starships?

04-22-2015, 10:57 AM
how about classic computer game characters like pacman or space invaders.

04-22-2015, 03:30 PM
How about TARDIS or Seal of Rassilon badges?