Creating the fuel for Pyrohex’s fire

Visit Pyrohex’s website Photo credits; Models; Gem Dee, Shelly d’Inferno, Sununu Hernandez, Dani Divine & Alénee Aisha Photographer; Jody Wright

Sparking the fire of Pyrohex’s future

Who are Pyrohex?

Pyrohex are Europe’s hottest fire, pyrotechnic, sideshow, and aerial entertainment show. They are based in London, UK, but do shows worldwide; from bringing the heat to tattoo conventions, to performing with bands at music events such as the legendary Download, Wacken, HellFest, M’era Luna, and Bloodstock festivals.

Since creating Pyrohex’s visual identity and website, I continuously work with the group, from designing banners to creating illustrations for them to use on their merchandise which they sell online, and also at merchandise tables they have set up at the various events they perform at. They truly utilise all of my skills and it’s a delight for me to have the opportunity to regularly collaborate with such a creative group of performers.

Services provided;

  • Logo Design & Visual Identity
  • Graphic Design
  • Web Design & Development
  • Merch Design
  • Illustration

Identifying the intention

Pyrohex originally asked me to redesign their logo as they felt like their previous homemade one didn’t really capture their aesthetic. I was fortunate enough to watch Pyrohex perform at Download Festival 2017 with horror-metal band, Wednesday 13, and I wanted to inject the fierce as hell and gorgeously glam style that I saw on stage into their visual identity. So we came up with a beautiful gothic blackletter logotype with flickering flames and heavy metal-inspired flourishes, and another variant made even more badass with a healthy sprinkle of occult symbolism.

Pyrohex loved their new identity so much that they then asked me to make a marketing website for them. I created a visually compelling single-page site that shows off their beautiful imagery, while allowing promoters to easily find contact information to book the group, and that also keeps their fans up to date without any real effort on Pyrohex’s part. It was important to Pyrohex that they wouldn’t have to spend time manually updating their website as their group is so busy. The website dynamically pulls in content from their social media accounts that they are very active on, and has links to their merchandise store. Pyrohex’s website was also built with a modern static framework which means their site is fast, secure, and they pay no hosting costs whatsoever.

Fig 01; The logotype I created for Pyrohex used in a promotional video shot and edited by Jody Wright

The seven stages of digital alchemy

01; Calcination

The first step of the process was to (metaphorically) burn Pyrohex into ashes.

Pyrohex had a logo that was created by one of the members of the group, and they really wanted one that was properly designed and was created just for them that symbolised what the group was all about. The old logo was definitely metal-looking but quite bulky and masculine and didn’t have any original flourishes that conveyed the group’s style.

They also had a website that was out of date and didn’t look very ‘Pyrohex’. The images didn’t highlight to promoters the quality of the act they were potentially booking and a lot of the features didn’t work properly or were completely broken. It was clunky and slow, and failed to stand up to the group’s incredible live performances.

02; Dissolution

In this stage, I took the ashes and dissolved them. This step is about letting go of the past to spark the fire of Pyrohex’s future.

I completely disregarded any previous branding that Pyrohex had and decided to start from scratch. Pyrohex let me have free creative rein and their only guidelines were that they'd like the logo to contain a unicursal hexagram as it was symbolic for the group.

I created the logo first and the website came after their visual identity was nailed down.

I watched lots of videos of their performances and looked through images from photoshoots the group had done, as well as researching the individuals in the group to get a feel for what could be a shared aesthetic for them.

03; Separation

This is where I sift and filter through the products of dissolution. How can I unearth Pyrohex’s strengths?

Creating a mind map was helpful to me to start being able to visualise an identity for Pyrohex. Mind mapping allowed me to make connections between various words and feelings which I could then communicate through symbols and into a style.

Using a mind map allowed me to create the logo in my mind, which is where the real work takes place. Once I had that visual, the creation of it was simply just going through the motions of sketching, identifying a typeface to work with, producing the artwork, and then refining it.

Fig 02; The original logotype I created for Pyrohex, and the beginning of their new visual identity

04; Conjunction

This is where the tangible work begins in the process. I start forming a new substance from the elements deemed worthy at the previous exploration stages.

During this stage, I had rough mockups of the logo which I could then lay over Pyrohex’s imagery from their photoshoots. I also tried it out over t-shirts to ensure that it would work with different potential merchandise designs.

When I was creating Pyrohex’s website, this stage included sketching the layout to determine the page flow, paying particular attention to the experience of a promoter looking to book the group for a show. I wanted to ensure that they could clearly understand what Pyrohex were all about, to decide if they were the right fit for a show, and that they found it as simple as possible to contact the group.

Pyrohex were also looking to create a more professional image for their group as they transitioned from a side gig to a fully fledged business.

Fig 03; The unicursal hexagram variant of the logo which also features elemental symbolism

05; Fermentation

At this stage, other living organisms are introduced to continue the breakdown of a substance.

With a group of five people to represent, it was imperative that every member of the group was happy with Pyrohex’s new identity. Thanks to the process, we made alchemical gold the first time round using a decorative but powerful and legible blackletter font as a base. With the inclusion of the hexagram, a few refinements and an extension of the ‘P’ and ‘X’ for more ‘Metallica’ vibes, the logo would perfectly convey Pyrohex’s vision.

For the website, the design had been fleshed out and Pyrohex were more than happy with the visuals. I used colours present in the logo as well as hexagram and fire element symbols as decoration throughout the design, as well as choosing fonts that complimented their new identity.

06; Distillation

This is the final refinement stage. We have our substance and now we polish it until we have our finished product.

The logo was refined to ensure that it was neither too heavily masculine, nor feminine, as both women and men are performing in the group. This was especially important as a hexagram represents the unification of opposites amongst many other things. I also produced colour variations; simple plain black and white logos, the main red to black gradient variant and we eventually added in a chrome variant too. Red was chosen to convey heat, passion and the occult.

During the build of the website, animations and transitions were added in when various elements were interacted with. Not only to encourage interaction, but also to extend the visuals. I juxtaposed Pyrohex’s powerful, intense imagery with softer, subtle effects, making the animation seem more akin to a soft flickering flame rather than explosive combustion. This balanced the imagery and provided interactive interest without overwhelming the senses.

07; Coagulation

The substance is finished. The Phoenix has risen from the ashes and is ready to set the world alight.

Pyrohex are using their new logo on their merchandise online, and also at tables at events, and have even been using it in video backdrops on stages worldwide during their performances. It looks especially fierce peeping through the flames and visual chaos of the show.

Their website is also live, and is serving them well, enabling promoters to find them and book them for shows, as well as giving Pyrohex a more professional image. Special attention was paid to making the website blazing fast – especially with it using a lot of photography, and also search engine optimisation and accessibility, ensuring that not only do Pyrohex benefit, but their visitors have an enjoyable experience when visiting the website too.

The alchemical process is complete

An illustration of lips breathing fire and Pyrohex’s logo printed on a t-shirt.
Fig 04; A fire-breathing illustration I created for Pyrohex’s merchandise
Front and back views of business cards designed for Pyrohex.
Fig 05; Designs for Pyrohex’s business cards
Fig 06; The marketing website I designed and built for Pyrohex