Opinions on corporate and brand identity work.

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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.


DC may be its own Villain

Reviewed Jan. 17, 2012 by Armin

Industry / Entertainment Tags /

DC Comics Logo, Before and After

Founded in 1934 (originally as National Allied Publications), DC Comics is one of the biggest publishers of comic books and is home to some of the most famed superheroes like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash. This past Summer, DC Comics made big news when it announced it would reboot 52 of its titles back to issue #1, giving many of its characters full-on makeovers, to mixed reviews and feelings. Now, DC is back in the sight of fanboys and critics with an imminent new logo that was spotted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), meaning that DC was filing for protection before launch. Sometimes companies file various logos for protection even if they don’t use them and I was initially hesitant to post this logo because DC could always change its mind and because there is no official word from them. But in looking through the records at USPTO — here is one example — DC has filed the new logo for registration under 19 different categories: from backpacks and wallets; to video games and motion picture films; to bowls, plates, and mugs; to metal key holders and rings; to, even, processed and dried vegetables. In other words: for every kind of merchandise imaginable. They have also filed for registration at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) in the European Union. So, they are serious about this new logo.

DC Comics Logo, Detail

The previous logo, introduced in 2005 and designed by Brainchild Studios, was met with some trepidation as it replaced the iconic “bullet” logo designed by Milton Glaser in 1977 but seems to have eventually found its place among readers who are now in upset mode with this new logo. And with good reason. For various reasons. There is nothing superhero-ish about it; it could be for any book publisher or sticker maker, and this doesn’t mean the logo has to have a shield or an insignia or swooshes but for a logo working in an industry full of rich visual cues, it’s a shame it can’t draw from it. The sticker peeling/page turning concept is something many of us have done in the sketch phase at some point, heck I have even presented it to a client, and that’s where it should stay as there is nothing particularly original about it. But let’s assume it’s the right way to go, there is a lack of finish in the execution and it might be the clunky way the “C” closes, which was done to make sure it is visible, but few “C”s we use day to day look like that, they are usually more open and they end at nicer angles, not 0°. The visual idea has merit, there is an interesting relation revealed between the “D” and the “C” but it’s not properly pulled (pun!) off. And the typography underneath the monogram seems to be a complete afterthought.

We’ll have to wait to see how the logo is implemented, beyond a black-and-white submission for trademark protection.

Thanks to James I. Bowie for first tip.



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