Phi Kappa Tau

Robert started Phi Kappa Tau last year at Appalachian State Universtity. He came to me after seeing a piece I did for our local skate shop, Recess, and wanted to know if I could do something awesome for Phi Kappa Tau.

Below you will see an explanation of design decisions for making this project.

But first... Here is the final piece.


Project details

These were the details we hashed out before I began the project.

  • Design and animate a looping badge/logo for Phi Kappa Tau
  • Consideration taken to deliver a solution that can be used in a variety of places and scales (primarily Instagram, secondarily Twitter and Facebook, thirdly video intro/outro)
  • Thick line, smooth animation style
  • Focus on the Greek letters, but “Phi Kappa Tau” written out is also an option
  • “Huntin’, Fishin’, And Lovin’ Everyday” is an optional slogan
  • Outdoors theme with suggested content: log cabins/ horsemen in the Appalachians/ deer / banjo / letters on an old log cabin/ mountaineer picking a banjo
  • Use Phi Kappa Tau brand colors
  • Designed and animated to attract like minded, outdoors/adventure type men to Phi Kappa Tau for rush season and elevate the Phi Kappa Tau brand toward the goal of becoming the largest and best fraternity at ASU


There were several good element suggestions.

  • letters on an old log cabin
  • horsemen in the Appalachians
  • deer
  • banjo
  • mountaineer picking a banjo

Since this is a short animated logo, I had to limit the elements to the most essential and ultimately decided on letters on a log cabin, deer, and fish to complement the slogan “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday.”


I started off by turning on some Bon Iver and José Gonzáles to get in the right mountain mood. I got started on sketches of trees, mountains, and cabins. I explored a range of realistic to super stylized. The end result for each was a simplified version of a realistic style.


My second sketch page was for the deer. I explored head on angles and profile. Profile ended up making more sense because of the scene setup.


The next sketch was for taking a look at layout options. Since Phi Kappa Tau is new to ASU, including the letters and the full name was important. The cabin was the best place for the letters because of the given space as well as context. Greek letters are often posted on the front of frat houses. The full name worked best in the circle at the top. The slogan makes most since below the name because it is less important than the name.

The mountains, cabin, and pond serve as the grounding elements that give a sense of space. We’re in the mountains and we belong outside, huntin’ and fishin’.



Since this was a one scene piece, I approached the style by exploring several directions for main elements. In the end, the best options were the ones that worked together well and enhanced the feeling of “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday.”

Trees: The tree on the left was close, but too flat. The tree on the right has strong lines that complimented the log cabin, but really just looks dead. The tree in the middle has a playful highlight that feels more friendly and adds a bit more dimension. This bit of dimension matches the Phi Kappa Tau brand (brotherhood and fraternity, but also outdoorsy and fun).


Deer: The deer is pretty straight forward. He’s simplified and steady. Antlers made for a strong design. The shadow in the deer ended up taking more away from the design. So the flat color, antlers, and walk cycle highlight his time in the spotlight.


Fish: The fish that was the strongest was the trout. This is a fish that you can find in the Appalachians, so it really made the most sense.


Clouds: The strongest cloud design matched the cabin design: strong structure and rounded ends.


Animation decisions


I explored panning from left to right, but the looping option for this would not have worked out as well as panning top to bottom. Panning top to bottom also gives a grandiose sense of the area we live in.


I first had the deer walking in from the side and stopping before he crossed the cabin. This was ok. But when he walks in front of the cabin, all the way across the scene, it’s much more dynamic. And this draws your eye toward the fish that’s about to jump out of the water.


The fish jumps out of the water and flaps around to give a realistic feel. He apexes in the center to give balance to the deer crossing the other way.


The text comes in and goes out smoothly from the center. The easy going nature of hunting and fishing and the chill vibes I got from the Phi Kappa Tau brand lent for this sort of overall animation.

Final thoughts

When we talked about this project, I got excited to dive into the right mindset to build an effective animated logo for such a cool fraternity. All of my design and animation decisions were based on representing the Phi Kappa Tau brand and it’s unique outlook at taking advantage of the wonderful outdoors that surround ASU.

It was a pleasure to work with you, Robert.

From Robert

After a few brief emails, Austin captured my vision and brought it to life. The process of capturing one idea and turning it into a cutting edge marketing tool for any business, organization, or event was speedy and painless from start to finish!

Austin's genuine customer service and dedication to quality made him a pleasure to collaborate with. - Robert