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DC Comics New Logo: Design Review

How can it get better and worse at the same time?

Earlier this week DC Comics announced their logo redesign that celebrates DC brand’s past, present and future. I gotta tell you, I’m underwhelmed. DC also says, “The new DC logo is a mark that leverages over 80 years of heritage with an eye toward the future.” If DC Comics was looking to preserve their 80 years of heritage, maybe they could spent more than eight minutes creating the new logo.

I love comic books and I’m a total nerd. I basically blew off the first ten years of school to draw comic book characters all day long. X-Men, Spider Man and Spawn were my favorites. As a kid I had some raw talent and dreams of becoming a comic book illustrator. But, I talked myself out of it after one year of art school. I didn’t have enough “feelings” to finish a fine art program. I also wanted a job that paid money.

Then I discovered graphic design. Years later, here I am talking about comic book logos – WHOOOO!

Anyway, according to the press release, DC Comics worked with Pentagram, a top-tier agency, to create the latest iteration of their logo. Pentagram has offices all over the world and is home to some of the top creative professionals in the field. Pentagram is known for high-end work, I wonder what happened here? Did Pentagram mail it in? Did somebody at DC crowbar their dumpy idea in there?

But, then I took a look down DC memory lane and things got a little more clear. I don’t think DC Comics has ever had a decent logo.

I actually prefer the logo from 1976, well, probably because that’s the logo I remember seeing on the comic books I read as a kid. The latest logo with the flipping “D”, I get it, its supposed to emulate the pages of a comic book. But, it looks like Internet explorer playing peek-a-boo. And the version before that, with the swooshing star, kind of looks like an EA Sports game.

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I appreciate that they tried to return to their roots with the logo design, but I truly think that they missed the mark. To be honest, this logo looks rushed and sloppy. I’m left with way more questions than I am with answers:

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  1. Why is the ring so thin? It looks odd when paired with the thick letterforms.
  2. Is this a custom typeface? The letterforms look like a mashup between Mutant Academy and HVD Comic Serif Pro. The angles just don’t make sense.
  3. What’s with the random little notches in the upper left counter of the letterforms?
  4. Why  doesn’t the negative space inside the letterforms match the outside?
  5. Why are some corners curved and some angular?
  6. How could so much go so wrong with so few letters?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just missing it here but, I just don’t think this logo is very good. Looking at the history of DC Comics’ logos maybe that’s their schtick? What do you think of DC’s new logo, please post your thoughts in the comments.

 

//steve

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