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



Reviewed Aug. 4, 2009 by Brand New

Industry / Entertainment Tags /

<em>Tron</em> Logo, Before and After

It might be called Legacy but this is not your grandmother’s Tron. When Steven Lisberger’s epic film came out in 1982 it was groundbreaking in its imagination and extensive in its use of computer-generated imagery. Tron leveraged the most cutting edge CG available to portray the intimate inner-workings of a vast network of computers. Inside these circuits were forgotten applications and wayward human beings battling each other for the amusement of a sinister mainframe overlord. Initial reviews accused the film of putting visual effects ahead of storyline: style above substance. The original logo supports this argument.

Could the first Tron wordmark be more adorned with bevels, highlights, airbrushed chrome and lens flares? If Tron the movie was at the forefront of cinematic visual effects, Tron the logo (designed by venerable industrial designer Syd Mead of Blade Runner fame) was at the forefront of graphic design effects.

Tron Triptic, Before

Frames from the original Tron film

Formally, however, the logo had less to do with the film. They matched the way a 1980s arcade game logo matched the actual game. The green film titles don’t match the electric blue and red logo, which doesn’t match the 3D animation sequences. There’s no thread that ties those things together and that cuts to the heart of what makes the new logo seem so modern: it’s not just a logo unto itself.

Tron Triptic, After

Frames from the new Tron Legacy trailer

The mark for Tron Legacy, the sequel to Tron, represents a completely different philosophy in graphic design and visual storytelling. The logo, featured prominently in the trailer shown at ComicCon last month, must be seen in action to be fully appreciated.

To some, the new logo might not look that new. To be honest, when I first saw it, I thought it was a sexed-up version of the original—the 1982 mark with a neon key line and some 3D tricks. But it’s so much more than that. The new Tron logo is part of a new living, breathing—and dare I say, consistent—world. The logo, like the on-screen action, is disciplined in its simplicity and rich in its detail. Put simply, the new logo looks like the movie.

Tron Texture

The color and form carefully mimic the dark, fluorescent-edged landscape. The subtle three-dimensional depth of the letterforms echoes the reflective black surfaces. The qualities of the logo have been pulled directly from the logic of the film. The letterforms shed their idiosyncrasies without losing the character of the original. Despite these qualities (and a new, less awkward T) the logo is not without its problems.

Somehow the Helvetica Thin subtitle feels a little forced. The world generated here is so tight that something as specific—almost arbitrary (gasp!)—as Helvetica seems to call attention to itself. On top of that, you have the perennial issue of justifying type beneath a wordmark unfortunate enough to begin with a capital T. The mark has other typographic issues as well; the letterforms are kerned quite tight and the R is a little too wide for its own good.

More importantly though, I think this mark succeeds where it counts. Like the trailer, it makes waiting for the 2011 release unbearable.

Sam Becker is a designer at The Brand Union where he works on identity, packaging and web assignments. He enjoys programming in his spare time.



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