A Designer’s Take on DC Comics/Entertainment’s New Logo

Geek Culture

Yesterday, Bleeding Cool reported that DC Comics and DC Entertainment had applied for trademark on new logos.

DC Comics (2012)DC Comics (2012)DC EntertainmentDC Entertainment

If your company is growing or needs to head in a new direction, changing your brand — most noticeably by changing your logo design — is a critical step in changing the conversation about who you are and what you are doing. It makes everyone take a new look and allows you to, at least initially, set the direction of that conversation. It’s important to remember, though, that your logo is not your brand. DC has been going through quite a lot of change in the last several years, not only relaunching its entire line of comics, but also beginning its transformation from a “comic book” company into a media “entertainment” company. This logo change is the next step in that evolution.

There has already been some criticism of the logo and its sticker peel look, but the first thing I noticed was what a departure it is from the almost straight evolutionary path the DC logo has taken over the past 70 years.

DC Logos 1940's — 2011DC Logos 1940's — 2011

Although from beginning to end the logo is markedly different, you can see a continuity from step to step. If DC Comics/Entertainment wanted to change the conversation with their new branding, they are certainly doing that, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it is for the better or worse. Gone are the campy swirl and star elements. Also gone, though, is the dynamism and playfulness. What is left is an almost uptight corporate symbol that, without the title underneath, is unclear as to what it represents.

As a professional designer, I have been involved in the branding of new companies and the rebranding of major corporations. I’ve seen how tragically wrong this can go when those doing the branding start to take themselves too seriously. I was involved in the rebranding of one company where we, the designers, entered into open rebellion against the proposed changes because we knew they would be disastrous. I don’t know whether similar concerns were voiced in the new L.A. offices at DC, but it’s clear from this logo that there is definitely a new regime in control.

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