So, we've gotten our website up with the example logo I made using stock art. It's not bad, but we can't use it as an actual logo, as I'm sure you know. ValorCon is a gaming convention - that's Video Games (XBOX, Playstation, Wii, and computer games) and Tabletop games (Boxed games, collectable trading cards, Dungeons & Dragons, etc). We're going after a very similar market as PAX and PAX East, and to a lesser extent GenCon in Indianapolis. That means a wide age range.
What we're doing differently though, is trying to create a gaming convention that girls and women feel comfortable with - that hasn't really been done before. We're going for less aggressive art and branding, and emphasizing adventure, honor, and maybe a little grandeur. Hence the name ValorCon. If you look at ValorCon.com, you'll see we're currently favoring a heavily fantasy/medieval-style branding. That may change, since gaming also embraces other periods of history, modern times, and SciFi as well. Consequently, while we want a shield and icon design, we don't want to appear exclusively Fantasy/Medieval - the logo should work in a modern or futuristic context as well.
Please refer to the attached file, "Logo-Guidance.jpg": We'd like to stick with a red shield with gold trim and matching gold icon in the middle. The lion head should be stylized, with a clean appearance, and connote strength, nobility, honor and a little bit of benevolence. The two on the left (circled in yellow) are the examples I could find that are sort of the right direction. The top one seems out of balance somehow, maybe the black mane takes up too much space, like a pompadour? The one below is much better balanced, but too aggressive - that's better suited for the smack-talking young males at PAX.
The rest of the lion heads and the four shields in the middle are some examples of what we don't want.
At the bottom of the picture, you'll see four different-shaped shields - these four should be looked at as silhouettes, just for their outlines only. These are shield shapes we like. The one with the swords is probably our favorite (minus swords of course), but we'd entertain something less traditional like the steel one far right. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions - firstname.lastname@example.org