Marvel Movie Logos, A New Trend?

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SixNewLogosAll images © Marvel.

Recently Comicraft logo designer JG Roshell sent me a link to this image promoting six future Marvel films with the excited message, “Looks like they’re using my Inhumans logo and your Dr. Strange!” We were both happily surprised by this. Even though there’s no guarantee these logos will continue to be used going forward, it was cool to see.

Thor 1 movielogoFor many years most films based on comics have been promoted with logos that stay far away from the look of the comics themselves, like this 2011 Thor logo which uses the extremely popular and over-used font Trajan. Lately Marvel is really cranking up their film plans, and the newer logos give evidence that the company is looking to their comics logos more than they ever have before. Of course, many past Marvel films have been licensed out to other studios, where decisions about logos and promotion are made, so film films franchises like Spider-Man and X-Men may not have had much input from Marvel itself.

For about the past 25 years, most action movie logos have included at least some of the following qualities: 1) metallic with glistening highlights, 2) three-dimensional, 3) distressed, 4) glowing, 5) must look good on a black background. You’ll see many of those qualities above.

Iron-Man-3-2013-Movie-Logo1But over the past year or two, Marvel movie logos have been getting more varied and more interesting.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-movie-logo-hd-1920x1080While it doesn’t look like any of the logos on the comics, this one has, for me at least, the feel of a comics logo, or at least is in the same neighborhood. I like this trend, and really, it makes sense to avoid following the crowd of Trajan and Helvetica lovers and make Marvel movie logos more distinctive and memorable. So, let’s take a closer look at the new ones.

Captain-America-Civil-War-Movie-Logo-Official-620x350The new Captain America film uses the logo style from the very first comic on the character’s name:

CaptainAmerica#1FCIt was designed by Joe Simon, and the movie logo follows it closely, if not exactly. For “Civil War” they’re using tall but undistinguished block letters that actually are an improvement on the comics logo…

Civil_War_Vol_1_2…which is the font Trajan again. The previous Captain America film used another early Joe Simon logo as starting point, too.

Avengers-Infinity-War-logoThe Avengers movie logo, like the previous one, is based on this…

Avengers96cover…a design by Gaspar Saladino that first appeared on issue 96 cover dated Feb. 1972. It’s been modernized, but the idea is clearly the same. The rest of the movie logo looks like horizontally stretched Trajan, but this one gets high marks from me, and I think most comics fans.

ThorRagnarokmovielogoThe Thor movie logos have gotten much more interesting since the first one, and while not based on any comics logo, it’s quite appealing to me, especially what looks like an elaborate decorative design inside the Thor letters.

Captain-Marvel-Movie-Logo-OfficialThe Captain Marvel movie logo is the least metallic of the group, though it does have the distressed and three-dimensional check points.

CaptainMarvelComic2014It’s also appearing on a new comics series that began this year. As Tom Muller has pointed out in the comments below, I don’t know who designed it, or whether it was designed by Jared K. Fletcher for the comic,  for the comic first or the film, but it looks pretty good to me on both. Marvel’s Captain Marvel (as opposed to the Fawcett one) has had many logos over the years, and this is far from the worst.

Marvel-Inhumans-Movie-Logo-DateWe’re looking pretty far into the future for this Inhumans release, which means there’s plenty of time to rethink the logo, but I really like this one, based on the 1998 design of Comicraft’s JG Roshell:

InhumansFinEven with all the movie logo gimmicks, it still works great for me.

DoctorStrangeMovieLogoFinally there’s Doctor Strange, based on a 1988 design of mine:

DoctorStrangeSSKleinThere are some strange things about the movie logo, though. By leaving off the drop shadow, and just tracing the inner open shape of the letters, they’ve made some parts look too short: the right leg of the R and N, the left leg of the A and all of the G. I admit that was true in my design, but it’s less obvious. This logo may well be just a place holder, there are several other Doctor Strange movie logos out there on the web already, so I suspect they’re still working on it. Cool to see it promoting the film, all the same. A first for me.

Black-Panther-Official-Movie-LogoJG also found this recent movie logo, which is again based on his design:

BlackPantherFinNot an exact match but very close, and isn’t this much more interesting than the average action movie logo these days? JG and I sure think so! Good going, Marvel.

JG also commented,“Would be nice if we could get paid again…” Now that’s a real Hollywood fantasy, Mr. Roshell!

Exciting news from Lyminge Project HQ

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As promised, the blog does not sleep after the excavation is completed! We are extremely pleased to be able to share with you all a film commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council who have been funding our excavations in Lyminge since 2012. Many of you may have already seen this on social media, but we couldn’t leave it out of the blog! The short film examines what we have been doing on Tayne Field since 2012 and if you volunteered with us this summer you might even be able to spot yourself in the background.


The AHRC Website have featured this film and the project prominently on their own news site, which we’re incredibly pleased about. It’s fantasic to have the significance of the excavations at Lyminge recognised through funding and dissemination such as this. We’ve also made the video available here on our project website where you can find other videos and media that have been made about the project.

Lyminge featured on the front page of the Arts and Humanties Research Council website - with the incredible Saxon glass assemblage at the forefront

Lyminge featured on the front page of the Arts and Humanties Research Council website – with the incredible Saxon glass assemblage at the forefront

We’re also incredibly pleased to have found a new home for the Lyminge Project exhibition that has been travelling around important Kentish Anglo-Saxon sites since November 2012. We updated the exhibition with finds and a new exhibition panel in May 2014 while it was at Maidstone Museum and the whole exhibit has now found a new home for the next six months. If you were unable to get to any of the venues in Kent over the past two years, the Lyminge travelling exhibition is now being housed at the CSI: Sittingbourne exhibition space in the Forum Shopping centre, Sittingbourne, Kent, and a grand opening is being held on 28th October 2014 at 6.15pm. CSI: Sittingbourne is an important community training scheme, training volunteers in artefact conservation techniques, which can only stay open with adequate funding. Please do go along to the Lyminge exhibition and have a look at what CSI: Sittingbourne engages in and support the project if you can.

Some of the Lyminge objects on display at CSI: Sittingbourne.

Some of the Lyminge objects on display at CSI: Sittingbourne.

Finally, I want to let you all know that the Lyminge Archaeological Project will be featured in the new series of ‘Digging For Britain’, in the episode about the east of England, presented by Professor Alice Roberts and Matt Williams. The date and channel hasn’t yet been confirmed, but it’s likely to be on BBC4 some time in November. I will of course update all social media and the blog when we have a confirmed airing date. We hope you’re all enjoying seeing the project on film this autumn!

Pye Parr – Bato Logo

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Pye Parr is probably, inadvertently, the droid who inspired this blog. It is he who has the unenviable task of covering all that glorious artwork with logos, barcodes and other necessary evils! However, the logo and branding, as this article will point out, is an art form in itself. An art form that must be recognisable, functional and adapt to any and every cover image on which it sits, a damn near impossible task!
I asked Pye to give us an insight into his creative process behind the extremely daunting task of changing such a beloved icon and he certainly didn’t disappoint! Over to Pye-01 to tell us more. 
“I’ve been thinking (and worrying) about changing the 2000 AD masthead for quite a while now (I was sick of looking at the old one). A couple of years ago I did some cover type for Prog 2013 which I was kinda pleased with, so I made a vague stab at turning it into a full font, creating a file on my desktop I went back to every so often and tinkered with…”

The logo for the cancelled Prog ZOIB
“That file evolved into a terrifying sprawl of crap, as I dropped the idea of a font and started trying out stuff for the 2000 AD logo. These are the first couple of ideas, in various states of completion. I still quite like the shape of the 2 here…”

A terrifying sprawl of crap.
“Even as I was doing these I knew they weren’t going to work. The characters were just too complicated to be useful, but I finished some versions off anyway just for my own satisfaction. I wanted to see if I could ape some of the bends and shadows of the old logos. Not sure it adds anything really. Plus, I wanted to do something new, not hark back to an older version.”

The 2000AD Turkish Delight Special
“I started simplifying the letters, tweaking height and weight, and ended up with something I tested on the 2000AD sci-fi special that came out this Summer. I also started thinking about ways to use the 2000 AD badge as a kind of catch-all publishers thing, like marvel or DC use their logos on batman comics as I’d done this on the US-style Dredd and Brass Sun comics and quite liked it.”

What’s that comic called again?

“After a bit of feedback on the sci-fi special, and some time to stare at it, I went back and changed the characters again. The Sci-Fi Special logo was ok, just not elegant enough somehow, so I went back to it again and changed all sorts of minor details, like the angle/size of the corners and crossbars, and adding serifs on the characters. The first time I felt I was getting somewhere was the bottom version in this pic.”

10,000AD, easy!

“First tests on logo placement. I went back over the last 10ish progs and redid the covers exactly as they were but with the latest version of the banner. It doesn’t look like much, but slight changes in the boldness or width of the type really affect how much space is left for the 2000AD badge, so I did quite a lot of mucking about here. At this point though I was still quite set on having the badge much smaller and sticking the prog number underneath it, all within a box so you could flick through a pile of issues quickly and find the Prog you want.”

The creation of each of those covers is on this blog – just sayin’!
“After a meeting with Matt, Ben and Jason we decided to drop the prog number from the banner. The badge was too small, and no matter how I laid it out it was needlessly fussy. The small type interfered with the overall look of the masthead, plus I couldn’t decide what text from the barcode info to split off from the barcode box. Prog number? Date? Price? All of it? Here’s some of the options I came up with. The problem with most of these is being sure they’d be legible on some of the more mental pieces of cover art we get. I think its ok to bash/cover the logo about a bit, it can take it, but things like price and issue number you can’t.”

“I also changed the ‘AD’ bit on these, as Jason felt the original A looked like an R. At the time I thought that was rubbish, but looking back he was right – as the AD is sideways it needs to be as legible as possible.”

Warhol’s futuristic phase

“With these things in mind I made some more changes and got the final logo! Having all the silliness bashed off it makes it much stronger. If it was a logo that had to stand alone you could afford to make it more ornate or technical, but the cover art for the Prog does the hard work, so I think the masthead works if it stands out without dominating, or is so stylised it only suits certain pieces of cover art.”

Sniff! S’beautiful!

“The new barcode box. This might seem inconsequential, but its probably the thing I’m most proud of – there’s just something pleasing about it! Fitting a barcode round the art is one of the most annoying things about cover design. It HAS to be easily visible, but you don’t want to give it too much emphasis or it looks fugly on the artwork. This is partly why I wanted to move the date/number/price elsewhere, so I’d be able to cram the barcode off the edge of the page. Really glad I managed to find a way to make it look pretty cool, match the internal design/logo, and stay useful and flexible.”
NOTE: For some reason Blogger would not accept the graphic of Pye’s barcode, even when I didcked around with it in Photoshop. Drawing that big, ugly black box around the image worked for some reason, so apologies to Pye! – Pete

Very popular with Zebras this one
“Aaaaand the final cover in all it’s glory! It helps no end that the first cover with the new logo on it was an absolute stonker. Amazing bit of painting by Greg – so much so that hardly anyone mentioned the new logo on the forums I looked on, as everyone went gaga for the art! I’ll take that as a good thing!

Even Dredd wouldn’t mess with that logo…

Phew, that was exhausting! But wait! There’s more, lots more! Pye also told us about his redesign of the Nerve Centre Page. It is extremely important that he got this right as this is Tharg’s page, any error here, no matter how small, would result in a one way trip to see Mek-Quake!
“The New Nerve Centre. I’ve had an idea in my head for a little while about basing the nerve centre design around Tharg’s rosette of Sirius – having Tharg peer out the centre circle, with all these concentric techy looking rings radiating out from him. After making a rosette graphic I liked I started bashing things together in indesign. I tried for a LONG time to get the different page elements in all sorts of layouts, but annoyingly the main problem on each one was the rosette – it just made everything hard to read, so after trying it as a box, a background, squashed in the corner etc. etc. I had to kill the idea. It was driving me nuts and I was rapidly running out of time…”

Warning – If you stare at this image long enough you will get a taste for polystyrene.

“The main rosette graphic. The top ones are colour test that ended up being used as Prog 1900 countdown adverts.”

The Nerve Centre, they use everything but the soul.

“The final layout. I used the rosette as a header/footer instead. There’s so much info to get on The Nerve Centre it just had to have a plain background. Like with the logo: simpler is stronger.”

Oh that Tharg! He’s so Betelgeusean when he’s mad!
And finally, the good old Credit Chips:
“Again on that theme I redesigned the credit boxes to match the work I’d done so far. Plenty of opportunities to customise these for specific strips too, so I’ll be doing that more in future.”

We WILL see Pete Wells in one of those credits one day
“So that’s one off the bucket list, next up: A new Dredd logo…”
Wow, that’s a staggering amount of work with some real thought going into it. Next time you pick up your prog, take a good look at all these extra bits and spare a thought for Pye, unsung hero of the Galaxy’s Greatest!