The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

If you watch a lot of (older) movies you'll notice that studio logos are generally quite consistent. The spinning globe of Universal, the Paramount mountain, the Warner Bros. shield, they're all refined over time, but the basic premise has remained the same for decades.

All studios have their main logo that appears at the beginning of a film, but some occasionally use custom logos that reflect the theme of the movie. When I noticed that Warner Bros. does this a lot I wanted to find out how often this happened and what these logos looked like.

I couldn't find a good overview with all logos gathered in one place, so I started to collect them myself, in 2009. Now, five years later, I think I have enough to paint a picture of Warner Bros logo design evolution.

During 90 years the Warner Bros. shield has undergone a series of refinements. Three variations reflect transitions in ownership (Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in 1967, Kinney in 1969 and Warner Communications Inc. in 1972). In 1984 Warner Bros. returned to the shield set over a background of clouds. The corporate names below the shield have changed over the years, but the logo has been a shield ever since.

Warner Bros. Logo #1 (1923-1929)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

Clash of the Wolves (1925) | Lady Windermere's Fan (1925) | Don Juan (1926) | When a Man Loves (1927) | Old San Francisco (1927) | The First Auto (1927) | The Jazz Singer (1927)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Lady Windmere's Fan (1925), Don Juan (1926), Old San Francisco (1927)


Warner Bros. Logo #2 (1929-1934)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The Public Enemy (1931) | The Maltese Falcon (1931) | I am a fugitive from a chain gang (1932) | Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: The Public enemy (1931), Footlight Parade (1933), Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)


Warner Bros. Logo #3 (1934-1937)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

Dames (1934) | Captain Blood (1935) | The Petrified Forest (1936) | Bullets or ballots (1936)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

Captain Blood (1935), The Petrified Forest (1936), Kid Galahad (1937)


Warner Bros. Logo #4 (1937-1948)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

Angels with dirty faces (1938) | Captain Blood (1935) | The Petrified Forest (1936) | Bullets or ballots (1936)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: The Big Sleep (1946), Dodge City (1939), My Wild Irish Rose (1947)


Warner Bros. Logo #5 (1948-1967)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Rope (1948), Stage Fright (1950), Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)


Warner Bros. Logo #6 (1953-1956)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

House of Wax (1953) | Three Sailors and a Girl (1953) | The Eddie Cantor Story (1953) | Crime Wave (1954) | The Command (1954) | The Boy from Oklahoma (1954) | Riding Shotgun (1954) | The High and the Mighty (1954) | Dial M for Murder (1954) | Them! (1954) | King Richard and the Crusaders (1954) | Dragnet (1954) | A Star Is Born (1954) | Track of the Cat (1954) | Battle Cry (1955) | East of Eden (1955) | The Sea Chase (1955) | Tall Man Riding (1955) | Mister Roberts (1955) | The McConnell Story (1955) | Rebel Without a Cause (1955) | Blood Alley (1955) | Illegal (1955) | Helen of Troy (1956) | The Animal World (1956)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Blood Alley (1955), Illegal (1955)


Warner Bros. Logo #7 (1967-1970)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Firecreek (1968), Sweet November (1968), Bullitt (1968)


Warner Bros. Logo #8 (1970-1972)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: THX 1138 (1971), Billy Jack (1971), Omega Main (1971)


Warner Bros. Logo #9 (1970-1972)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Portnoy's Complaint (1972), The Candidate (1972), Deliverance (1972)


Warner Bros. Logo #10 (1972-1984)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Enter the Dragon (1973), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Superman (1978)


Warner Bros. Logo #11 (1984-1997)

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Who's That Girl (1987), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Mars Attacks! (1996)


Warner Bros. Logo #12 (1998- )

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Million Dollar Baby (2004), Constantine (2005), Batman Begins (2005)


Warner Bros. Logo #13 (2011- )

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

The 90-Year Evolution of the Warner Bros. Logo

From left to right: Wrath of the Titans trailer (2012), Wrath of the Titans movie (2012), To the Arctic (2012)

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This post was excerpted with permission from Christian Annyas. To see the post in full, head over to Annyas' website here.


Christian Annyas is a web/graphic designer from the Netherlands (available for web/graphic/logo/title design). Annyas loves cinema and design, particularly typography, logo and poster design. He writes and publishes his thoughts on the subjects on his blog and the Movie title stills collection. You can follow him on Twitter using @ChristianAnnyas or @MovieTitles.