3am Solutions Limited

Software brand design and packaging

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Project notes

Project type

Product branding for a software product by this developer specialising in plugins for the popular Autodesk CAD system.


The client initially had one product: Dynamite VSP. The project required that a logo to be devised for the product and developed into a striking design for a DVD package that could be used to ship the software on disc. In all, the requirements list consisted of:

1. Logo design for product
2. Development of imagery for the DVD package
3. Adapt imagery for use on the software’s opening ‘splash screen’.
4. Implement design and supply final artwork ready for printing.

The product range subsequently expanded wit the introduction of Dynamite SIM (see ‘update’, below).


The software is used for helping civil engineers design road and rail systems — no small challenge in itself. The client wanted to include references to this process but of course without being too ‘on the nose’ about it. The logo, meanwhile, needed to be clean and flexible, as all good logos should be.


3am Solutions were able to supply plenty of rendered images that had been generated by their software, and it made sense to try and use these somehow if we could. We tried a lot of variations, but in the end we settled on an image that artfully blended an aerial view of a complicated road interchange with a striking red background.

The package was divided between white space and imagery according to the Rule of Thirds in order to maintain harmonious and eye-pleasing proportions.

I felt that it still needed something extra — a graphical mark that could work to represent the software in tandem with the logo itself. The solution, when I arrived at it, was as simple as two differently-sized circles placed on a diagonal.

The product’s road-planning applications had again provided the inspiration: the circles were a reference to the Elephant and Castle roundabout in south London. (I underwent 4 years of design training right beside that roundabout).

The last stages consisted of echoing the circle motif in the software’s ‘version’ number and then including all the necessary information on the back of the package without ruining the clean look that we’d maintained throughout the process.


A while later 3am Solutions Ltd brought out a sibling product for Dynamite VSP, named Dynamite SIM. They immediately contacted Shark Attack to request a variation on the original packaging for the newest member of the Dynamite line.

This type of ‘variation’ design needs a light touch; change too many elements and the continuity with the previous design begins to get lost. A shift in colour tones from red to blue and replacing the road system image with an evolved version of the ‘double circle’ icon (suitably knocked back into the background image of course) was all that was required.



Click an image to open a larger version in its own window.


Dynamite VSP logo thumbnail The intention with the logo was to keep it clean and simple. The product name required the inclusion of ™ symbol, and this became combined with the dynamite ‘flash’ in order to economise on space and to reduce the visual noise.

Packaging cover

Dynamite VSP cover The design for the original product, Dynamite VSP. The parallel lines and overlapping circles are a complex road interchange somewhere in central Europe, designed with the aid of the software itself.

Follow-on product

Dynamite SIM cover This companion product required only limited changes: to the colour palette, to the main colour image, and of course making the necessary name change to the logo itself.

Additionally, the DVD jewelbox was changed to a slimline version to emphasise the add-on nature of the new product.

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