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Who Are The Two Guys From The Valve Opening Logo?

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In the beginning of every single Valve game is the classic Valve opening logo. From 1998 to 2006, it was a picture of a man with a valve in his eye. From 2007 to the present, it’s a picture of a heavy-set bald man with a valve in the back of his head. Many people are curious about these openings – who are these folks? How did Valve take the pictures, and when? And, of course: “is the mans dead?”

Ask no more, for Ray Ueno, in an e-mail exchange with Reddit user vism, has at last told us what the hell is up with those images.

Who Are The Two Guys From The Valve Opening Logo?

The following comes from this Reddit thread:

I worked with Gabe and team to develop the “guy in the logo” back when we first named the company, Valve (circa 1995/6), and needed to develop the visual brand vocabulary to go along with it.

Interesting that you should ask about the bald guy. Back then, the casting agencies we were using to find models only had “supermodel”-type talent. We kept requesting “heavy-set”, “normal” models, and they kept sending us “beautiful”, “thin”, “perfect” headshots to review.

So, we finally asked them to just go out on the street and pull “everyday Joes” who were more “interesting”, “common”, and for the bald guy, “kinda big, heavy-set, and bald”.

They went out to the streets of Seattle’s Broadway district, took tons of polaroids of the types of folks we were looking for, and brought the shots back to us. We selected the bald guy from the batches of “off-the-street” polaroids—he was literally pulled out of a coffee shop or book store!

A few days later, we brought him into studio and shot the image you now see at the beginning of our games. We also shot a 2nd image of a different guy with a valve in his eye using the same process (you might remember him as well—attached below). The two comprised the “Open your mind. Open your eyes.” concept for our initial brand, respectively.

It’s been very long since we did that work, so we don’t know who the models were. And the fact that they weren’t professional models, would make it very difficult to find them—if not impossible for the bald guy (not facing camera).

Hope that answers your question. If you have any others regarding the Valve brand, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Thanks for your interest in Valve and the bald guy image.

Ray followed up with a short reply after vism thanked him and sent him a link to the Reddit post:

I read a few the comments that your post has already gotten, and one of them asked about the origins of the Valve name and “why is the ‘e’ superscript?”

Pretty good timing. One of the items on my to-do list is to write up that story—we get asked for the backstory from time to time. So once I complete it, I’d be happy to send it to you.

Great stuff! We had no idea.

Head over to the Reddit post in question to check out what must be hundreds of comments, and  join the discussion.

Here’s all the logos, in case some of you didn’t know ‘em, or just wanted to look at them again. Kindly hosted by the Combine OverWiki on YouTube.

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2 Comments

  1. Amazing article.
    Thats realy nice! :D

  2. The bald guy is ovbiously Morpheus. And ‘open your mind’ is basicly the same as ‘free your mind’.
    Valve’s ovbiously a Matrix fan =)

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