The Story of Our Name and Logo
Alpha Raptor Industries – our name & logo
New business owners doing market research quickly learn that a clean, simple logo is often the most effective: Nike’s iconic swoosh, the Apple apple, Coca-Cola’s simple signature. Effective, but boring! I am no marketing or business professional–I am a martial artist and education professional. The logo I created for Alpha Raptor Industries is as complex as the work I do, with layers of meaning in the symbolism and text.
What’s in a name?
The name Alpha Raptor Industries comes from my old fight name, “Valociraptor.” Sometime in the early 2010’s, the raptor became my symbol in the fight world. It comes from blending my first name, Valerie, with “velociraptor.” It sure beat “Vicious Valerie Ass-Peas,” which is what one of my beloved coaches was trying to push at the time. I’ve always been a fan of dinosaurs, and raptors are my favorites, so this new nickname made sense and I embraced it throughout my fight career.
Thanks to the Jurassic Park series, there is contemporary lore around raptors: that they are clever and work together to hunt in a pack. This likely is scientifically false, but the concept is interesting. Imagine the ruthless, survival-of-the-fittest environment of the late Cretacious period. Pack hunting would have been an evolutionary advantage for any creature, and an alpha raptor would lead a deadly force of predators that had to be coordinated and sharp. I adopted the title “Alpha Raptor” because of this leadership role, but the name is also a nod to my daughter’s generation.
My Alpha Raptor is a comic representation of leadership, excellence, and perseverance. She wears a queen’s crown to contribute to the chess motif prevalent throughout my artwork. She is fierce, courageous and determined, more than I will ever be. At the same time, she is chill and measured, and does not let her emotions get the best of her. She is calm on the battlefield and precise in her movements. She is a representation of the values that I aspire to, and an embodiment of my own fighting spirit. The queen’s crown also shows that she bows to no one, and that she is the master of her own destiny. Finally, of course the Alpha Raptor is female, as I am also female, and I wanted to convey a subtle message to empower women and girls.
The name “Industries” at the end of Alpha Raptor Industries implies infinite possibilities, as we are more than just a publishing company! I also design rash guards from time to time, and we have tons of prints available. The next step will be creating toys, starting with plushies. That’s right: cute, cuddly martial arts plushies will be available this year in time for the holidays!
What’s with the Japanese?
I am also a scholar of Japanese language and culture: I received my BA in Japanese from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. My husband and part owner of Alpha Raptor Industries is also a native speaker of Japanese. We have a deeper understanding of the language and culture, and we aren’t just using it for its aesthetic value. The roots of BJJ and MMA can be traced directly back to Japan, and honoring the culture is important to us. The vertical Japanese kanji (総合格闘技) and (柔術) translate to Mixed Martial Arts and [Brazilian] Jiu-Jitsu, respectively. Currently, the majority of the products made at Alpha Raptor Industries are centered on helping learners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ is a key component for success in MMA as well. Personally, I have been involved in BJJ for the past twelve years, and I was an active fighter from 2011-2017. This history has made me who I am today, so it is important to me that I give back to the BJJ and MMA communities. For example, the Graphic Notebook was created purely because I wish I had had one when I was first starting off. I had a sketchbook instead, and I always thought how difficult it would be to capture some of the tricky positions in BJJ if I wasn’t an illustrator. These notebooks and other materials were made to help you in your martial arts journey, whether your goal is to fight MMA, compete in BJJ, or just learn new techniques and have fun. Alpha Raptor is a small business, but supporting the community is important to me, so I have also used this platform to sponsor fighters and BJJ athletes like Patrick Mix and April Parks. The more successful Alpha Raptor becomes, the more athletes I will be able to sponsor in the future!
Finally, the Japanese kanji at the top of the logo (文武両道) could translate to something like “scholarship and the martial arts.” It is a four-character phrase referred to as a kotowaza. My interpretation is that in order to “be a good warrior and a good scholar,” you ought to study the martial arts alongside scholarly pursuits. The Samurai of Medieval Japan adhered to this idea, as the Samurai were members of the elite ruling class. Not only were they warriors, but it was expected of them to be literate and educated in poetry, calligraphy, and history. “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools” is another quote that captures the spirit of this kotowaza. Alpha Raptor Industries is all about blending the scholarly world with the martial world. Any martial artist can tell you that martial discipline is about more than just time spent on the mat. To be successful, you’ll also need to know how you process new information, reveal your flaws and make a plan to tackle your challenges. Excellence is a pursuit, not a destination! There is a lot more to say about this kotowaza, which is why I published this article here if you want to learn more.
Sure, the logo is unconventional, but so is this company. I do things how I want to do them, and that’s part of the joy and also the risk of owning a business. Instead of opting for some boring, simple design, I intentionally created a logo that would be inspiring to look at and interesting to think about. It is a logo for martial artists.