Designing a Killer Haunted Attraction Logo

Some creative and technical tips to get you started on the road to a world class horror brand image.
John Schwartz from Creature Builders explains the mix of elements that go into horror logo design.

Browse the web and you will see fantastic examples of haunted attraction logos. On well-known haunted house websites these are often presented as ornate illustrations surrounded by rich imagery of frightening experiences the audience can anticipate. When a well-executed logo is presented on an interesting story background the presentation looks amazing on a phone or a tablet. Consumers will likely first experience your haunt brand online before anywhere else. They will also be presented with a lot of other choices in the web search results competing for their attention. That is why investing the time in creating a dynamic logo and a strong web presence is so important. The vast majority of today’s horror logos match the quality of million dollar thrill rides found at national amusement parks. It is easy to see why; customers in both venues are looking to be scared silly for a time.

Hi-caliber haunted attraction logos are not made with simple words typed on a computer using a basic font (typeface). These are highly-stylized pieces of art that often combine typography, illustration, photography and digital manipulation. Hiring a designer to create a high-quality haunt logo is great first-step to branding yourself.

It is a safe assumption that if you own a haunted attraction, you want to be recognized, interest your patrons enough to visit, and excite them about the experience. That is what branding is all about in the marketing world. My experience as a creative professional has led me to believe in the following necessities regarding haunt logos.

Like musicians, every designer has a unique style that is identifiable if you look close enough at their work. Review a bunch of graphic resource sites; see what past work examples “speak to you.” My own design style is based on an appreciation for Holly wood horror posters.

Create your own haunt logo style. Pick an interesting color scheme use it for at least a season. You might be surprised how much typography and color factor in separating you from your nearest competition. It’s the reason Creature Builders started creating original custom horror fonts as the building blocks for logo designs.

The treatment of your haunt logo can entice and educate the customer to what they might experience such as the gore factor, back story, and historical timeline your actors are working within.

If your audience can’t read it, they won’t retain it. Think in terms of a looking at a ticket stub compared to viewing a 20 foot banner from the street at 30 MPH. Both need to easily catch attention and convey a clear message.

If you are interested in using your logo images beyond your website for banners, t-shirts, and other printed marketing items you will need to expand the project and request a little bit more from your designer.

While talking about the intricacies of desktop publishing is akin to watching grass grow for some of us, the goal here is to make sure you get what you pay for and don’t get stuck in a corner when you attempt to accomplish another branding project beyond your website. Below is a short logo usage and common format checklist. You can then decide which ones are needed for your haunt’s business plan. Your designer will recognize these requirements and should be helpful in providing all the right logo formats to accomplish your goals. These are the basics.

JPEG or PNG, RGB, 72 DPI used online and in kiosks screens.

ESP or Vector EPS, CMYK, 200-600 DPI used for posters and wide-format printing.

Vector EPS used for vinyl cut graphics and t-shirts.

Keep in mind that JPEG, PNG, and certain EPS formats (typically generated in a program like Adobe Photoshop) will lose resolution and clarity when they are enlarged; hence the use of Vector formats (Adobe Illustrator). A good example is when a designer hands you the logo file used on your website and you later send it to a postcard printer; you will run into some quality issues when the resolution falls short or you can’t place it correctly on a colored background. That’s the reality of graphics and the need for multiple files.
So there you have it. These are the fundamentals behind crafting a killer haunted attraction logo. You can visit anytime for inspiration and more useful nuggets of information. I would like to hear your thoughts and success stories on the topic as well.