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.
From left to right: Lady Windmere's Fan (1925), Don Juan (1926), Old San Francisco (1927)
From left to right: The Public enemy (1931), Footlight Parade (1933), Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
Captain Blood (1935), The Petrified Forest (1936), Kid Galahad (1937)
From left to right: The Big Sleep (1946), Dodge City (1939), My Wild Irish Rose (1947)
From left to right: Rope (1948), Stage Fright (1950), Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)
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)
From left to right: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Blood Alley (1955), Illegal (1955)
From left to right: Firecreek (1968), Sweet November (1968), Bullitt (1968)
From left to right: THX 1138 (1971), Billy Jack (1971), Omega Main (1971)
From left to right: Portnoy's Complaint (1972), The Candidate (1972), Deliverance (1972)
From left to right: Enter the Dragon (1973), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Superman (1978)
From left to right: Who's That Girl (1987), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Mars Attacks! (1996)
From left to right: Million Dollar Baby (2004), Constantine (2005), Batman Begins (2005)
From left to right: Wrath of the Titans trailer (2012), Wrath of the Titans movie (2012), To the Arctic (2012)
- The End of Warner Bros.
- Warner Bros. Trailer Typography
- Saul Bass Logo Design: Then and Now
- Saul Bass' Movie Poster: Then and Now
- Saul Bass' Design for Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
- Stanley Kubrick's Typography (1)
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.