Friday, January 25, 2013

Project Daspletosaurus 2013

Last Autumn, Dr. Dave Hone approached me with the opportunity to design a logo for a crowdfunding campaign he was preparing to launch, after he had seen my Dinosaur Family Crest designs. I jumped at the chance to help out. I mean, pitching in to help a paleontologist and science communicator I respect do significant research? I couldn't resist, and I'm happy to report that his campaign has begun.

Hosted by the science crowdfunding platform Microryza, Hone's project will see him travelling from the UK to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta to work with Darren Tanke, studying fossils which seem to show evidence of cannibalism amongst the tyrannosaurid Daspletosaurus. Hone wrote about it yesterday at Archosaur Musings, where you can see images of the fossils he'll study. More importantly, kick some money his way via Microryza, and check out the excellent video Hone and Matt Van Rooijen made to promote the work. It is humbling to think of how much we've learned about the mighty tyrannosaurs since I was born; what was a lumbering monster has gained more and more nuance to become a real animal. Hone and Tanke will get to tell more of that story with their research.

A bit about the process of designing the project logo, if you'll indulge me. Dr. Hone and I had a meeting via Skype to discuss the project goals and the sort of graphic he wanted, and I began sketching immediately. It was decided to use two Daspletosaurus individuals facing off in some way, and in general to continue the modernist aesthetic established in my family crest project. Because this graphic would represent a more complex idea than those crests and involve more text, I began sorting out ways to flesh out the extremely minimal forms of the earlier project.

The result is above. The shape is inspired by the crest on Alberta's flag. I accommodated the long forms of the daspletosaurs by posing them on an incline, further amping up the drama of the moments-from-happening battle. The field under the peak is filled with a pattern based on a geological symbol for silty sandstone, inspired by the make-up of the Dinosaur Park Formation. Dr. Hone was very easy to work with, providing valuable constructive feedback. It was a small project, but a great privilege.

So. Let's send Dave Hone to Canada!


  1. I bought a Tyrannosauridae crest t-shirt for my nephew as a Christmas gift (loves it, naturally) and its great to see this new design, especially as its for something as interesting as the cannibalism study.

    1. Thank you so much! It's so nice to know they're spreading the dino-joy!

  2. Very cool! And marks a very interesting space.

  3. Fantastic design for a worthy project. Wonderful.

  4. Thanks, David and Natee! I will have a bit more news about the campaign very soon.


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