The beta testing period for Steam began in 2002. It was then that Valve announced the birth of a service that was supposed to become a platform for selling games. But gamers did not like the innovation: many did not want to abandon the old WON system. The marketplace gained popularity a little later when Valve Corporation received permission to host other people’s games. Over time, Steam added the ability to communicate with other users, store-purchased files, a non-game software store, and a video streaming service.
Meaning and History
Gabe Newell, one of the founders of Valve and Steam, made his dream come true: he created a shopping service where any gamer can create a personal collection of games and transfer them to other users. At the same time, Gabe paid great attention to corporate culture because each company’s success depends on it.
At first glance, it seems that the “pipeline” theme unites all Valve products. It is enough to look at the words used for the names: Valve, steam cloud, steam work. But in reality, the proprietary concept has nothing to do with pipes. The Steam logo makes it clear that “steam” is not associated with heating networks but with a steam locomotive. At least, this is evidenced by the link of the crank mechanism, which the artists depicted.
2002 – present
The first game store icon appeared during the beta testing phase. In March 2002, Valve announced a new product and introduced a graphic and lettering emblem. The graphic part seems to be something abstract to the uninitiated user: it looks like three circles of different diameters, which are encircled by rings and connected by wide stripes. But this is not a simple set of geometric shapes, but cranks and connecting rods – the parts that set the locomotive in motion.
The word “STEAM” is written to the right of the main crank. Designers used a simple strict sans serif font for the text to not distract attention from the drawn element. The black and white palette emphasizes the minimalist composition.
2014 – present
The new Steam logo was created in 2014 but only appeared on the site in 2016. This version is missing the name of the marketplace – the text mark is used separately. The lack of lettering is compensated for by a refined design: now, the crank mechanism’s link is completely white and enclosed in a large blue circle. The color of the background shape is not uniform: from below, it acquires a light shade, and from above, it turns into a dark one. The linear gradient makes the image appear 3D.
Font and Color of the Emblem
The identity of the Steam platform is based on its name. The emblem creators established an associative relationship between steam and steam locomotive, depicting a system of connected cranks and connecting rods. As you know, this mechanism is involved in the rotation of the wheels: in gear locomotives, Steam moves reciprocating pistons, and these, in turn, act on the crank, which is located on the main wheels.
By the way, the crank mechanism uses plugs that served as inspiration for the name Valve. So the Steam logo is directly related to the parent company because it corresponds to the engineering theme. Designers depicted it in two versions: classic monochrome and white and blue. They are used simultaneously both on the site and as a program icon.
STEAM is only present on the first logo created in 2002. This is a sample font FF Din OT Bold, which is based on DIN-Engschrift and DIN-Mittelschrift. The original lettering was developed by the Dutch typographer Albert-Jan Pool in 1995.
In the second version, there are no inscriptions, but the drawing is more colorful. The designers have combined several shades of blue, presenting them in the form of a smooth gradient. White is used as an additional one: the elements of the crank mechanism are painted with it. In the first version of the logo, the opposite is true: the image is predominantly black, and the background is white.