Burnt World Logo & Brand Identity Design

The Burnt World logo & identity design

Burnt World is the work, and monicker, of film-maker and video artist Mark Oughton. Burnt World strives to continually improve its work and collaborate with like minded artists. The inspiration for the name derives from the concept of destruction for the purposes of rebirth, much like the mythological Phoenix, and is inspired by the Hindu Goddess, Kali.

It was important that the new logo and brand identity design became a memorable representation of the quality and challenging content of his work. We needed something totally unique, different, timeless whilst also suggesting a growth towards a higher artistic ideal.

Pretty tricky. Best get started, then.

Delving Deep To The Core

In performing my research into Burnt World, I hit upon several key and powerful concepts that we could take influence from in the new Burnt World design.

The inspiration and concepts behind the new Burnt World design

Two of the concepts are pretty obvious. Kali’s Yantra is a geometric symbol giving an external representation of the goddess and all of her aspects. We could certainly take some inspiration from this symbol. The other obvious concept is the Phoenix, the mythical fiery bird that “has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again.” (From Wikipedia) This idea of the Phoenix is a key inspiration behind the artistic philosophy of Burnt World but what also struck me was that the symbolism provided by the Phoenix was twofold: as a creature of fire, research indicates that the idea of Fire commonly interpolates energy, passion and creativity. Useful ideas we could use in the new Burnt World design.

The other two concepts, or points of inspiration, need a little explaining. When exploring the goddess Kali and Hinduism, I discovered that the original Hindu texts, the Vedas, were originally written in a “dead” language: Sanskrit. When I started studying the alphabet and letterforms of Sanskrit, I knew that I had to incorporate their shape and letterform system into the identity somehow. I noted the common use of a stroke that is placed above each letter and how words were bound together and “hanging” from these long “overscores”.

The idea of “copyleft” is more of a reference to Burnt World’s anti-commercial stance on filmmaking. I also explored the Creative Commons symbols and other non-commercial license symbols. The circle enclosing a symbol was a common theme that I could incorporate into the new design.

As noted before, I tend to create mindmaps when doing research using mindmapping web apps. In the past it was Mindmeister, this time I used mind42.com. I shan’t be providing the mindmap I ended up with for Burnt World as, quite frankly, the image is massive.

Concise Construction

The first part of the new identity that I started to sketch then construct was the logomark.

Constructing the logo mark of the new Burnt World design

Drawing in the logomark of the new Burnt World design

The finished logomark of the new Burnt World design

You can clearly see the influence of the Kali Yantra in the design. I constructed and simplified the symbol quite heavily to just the core shapes that make the Yantra so recognisable. Inside the triangle resides the burning fire of passion and creativity so fundamental to the work of Burnt World, whilst also serving as a reference to the Phoenix and the idea rebirth from the old.

The design was set to a very strict gridding system as you can see and this was useful for the logomark. You’ll see why later.

When it came to developing the logotype, I had originally planned to design a custom-made simplified blackletter-style typeface incorporating that “overscore” commonly seen in Sanskrit letterforms. However, after far too much modding, fiddling and kerning I just wasn’t happy with that direction. Instead, I chanced upon a typeface that I felt perfectly complemented the feel required for the new Burnt World design: Romic Std.

The final logo design for the new Burnt World identity

It’s a classy and professional looking serif design but with a twist; the flicks here and there on the terminals and the leg of the ‘R’ lend a very “ethnical” feel to the overall design, which I felt fitted the personality of Burnt World beautifully.

How the logo design measures up

The logotype was then kerned and modded very slightly here and there, then blended into a Sanskrit-style “overscore”. The overall look of the logo design is that of class, professionalism, ethnic, artistic and spiritual.

The new Burnt World colour palette

For the colour palette, lots of warm and fiery hues are much in evidence, giving weight to this idea of creativity and passion.

The typography of the new Burnt World design

When selecting a primary brand typeface for the new Burnt World design, I really didn’t have to dive into the world of fonts for this one; my brain already had a pretty good idea of what would work beautifully. In this case, it was the Diavlo font by the very talented Jos Buivenga.

Demonstrating the typeface of the new Burnt World design

Diavlo has multiple advantages for the Burnt World brand: the beautifully sculpted letterforms of the typeface remind you of fire; the family is free; and as well as featuring many different weights, the font also supports a variety of languages and alphabets. Superb.

Blending It All Together

With these basic aspects of the new brand design in place, it was time to start combining them into a cohesive visual system.

The Burnt World business card design

You’ll note the subtle tiling logomark used as a patterned background for the business card. Constructing the logomark to a strict gridding system meant that the logomark could be tessellated easily for use as patterned background in business cards, letterheads and more, thus reinforcing the brand.

An example of the Burnt World logomark in tessellation

Because the design of the Burnt World logomark is so distinctive, unique and geometrical, it can be used with or without the logotype. On its own, it stands out as a simple and memorable symbol that can be used for avatars on various social websites as well as a favicon and more. Tiled, the logomark can be used as decorative patterning for a wide variety of uses, reinforcing the brand and enhancing the classy and professional feel of the brand.

The Burnt World brand used as an ident at the start of his films

Burnt World Ident from Burnt World on Vimeo.


One of the uses specified in the brief was that the new brand design would be used as ident at the start of Mark’s films. The image above demonstrates how the new identity fares in context.

A website is also in production so watch this space for further updates to this unique, distinctive, artistic and classy brand design.

I’ve recently decided to get serious about my film-making and video art. I was keen to develop professional branding as part of this and having seen Ian’s previous work I asked him to come up with a brand proposal.

Ian made the process clear and from the start I was confident in being able to work with him. The initial questionnaire was thorough and I took my time coming up with the answers to ensure he had as clear a picture as possible for what I was after. The process also helped me be clear in my own mind as to the type of image my brand would put forward.

Ian always responded quickly, kept me informed about developments and I always received agreed communication far in advance of any deadline. I was impressed with the first draft enough to know that Ian was a capable and creative designer, exactly the type of person I’d like to design the branding for my art business. His guideline for logo and colour use are clear and concise and the product files provided in what ever kind of format I’d ever need.

I am very happy with Ian’s work and thoroughly recommend his reasonably priced services

— Mark Oughton, Burnt World

Ian Cylkowski aka Izo

Logo & Brand Identity Design

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  1. well done! congratulations. what interests me most is how people come up with the final design through different processes they go through. Your open-source article is wonderful: great-read. keep it up.


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