Way back in the dark ages (by which I mean the early 1990s) some of the most creative brainstorming sessions I took part in happened in the wee hours of the morning after marathon sessions of table top role-playing games. There’s a certain magic to be found in the convergence of too much caffeine and alcohol and too little sleep that really helps the mind to careen wildly from association to association.
On one such evening, my buddy Chris Hudak and I somehow hit upon a mental image that we thought captured the feeling perfectly;
A man lies face down in the surf, dressed in formal wear as though he’s fallen off a cruise ship and washed up on the beach, tangled in kelp. He lifts his face up from the damp sand, smacking his lips to clear the questionable taste in his mouth. He then raises a single declarative finger and mumbles “check please!” just before being utterly pounded by the next tremendous, frothing wave.
This image struck as so ridiculous and so apropos of our state of mind that we howled with laughter, clutching our sides and rolling on the floor, wiping tears from our eyes and occasionally gasping “Check, please!” We did this over and over, for many hours on end.
Some time later, when a bunch of us began working on “Strafe’s Guide to Streetspeak”, we decided we needed a name for our fledgling publishing company. Since “Strafe’s Guide” also washed ashore in late night reverie, we christened ourselves “Kelp Transmissions, Severely LTD.”
In 1995, as Chris, Keoni and I were feverishly creating our cyberpunk adventure game “Black ICE\White Noise” for Atari Corp., it came up that we needed a name for a fictitious online performance company. We thought it would be fun to tip the hat to ourselves without risking losing the rights to the Kelp name, so we changed it slightly to “Kelpin Entertainment.” We designed a logo for this company, a strikingly simple K and E that formed a two-pronged arrow in the negative space.
Not long after Atari Corp. collapsed under the weight of its own ineptitude, taking with it any hope of “Black ICE” ever seeing the light of day as a finished title, I seized the logo from the game, polished it up a bit, and changed the name of our real company to Kelp Entertainment to match. It was short, sweet, and most definitely memorable.
The logo has undergone further refinement over the years, but as long as great ideas continue to wash up on “Kelp Beach,” we’ll keep picking them up, washing them off, and bringing them to you.