DC’s new logo: A fresh flag for company’s revolution

Jan. 27, 2012 | 6:56 a.m.

dc logo la times exclusiveimage DCs new logo: A fresh flag for companys revolution

If you want to talk heroic history, no one can touch DC and its iconic troika of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but these days, in the DC offices in Manhattan and Burbank, there’s never been less glowing talk about tradition — this is a company that believes its very survival depends on finding the future, finding it fast and taking the risks needed to do so.

The new logo will be hard to miss in the coming months. All the issues of DC Comics that hit shelves in March will have the publishing arm’s version of the new-look symbol and, that same month, DC Entertainment will unveil its massive new website, which one executive described as the “one-stop, be-all online location for everything DC Entertainment.” And, presumably, this is the logo that will flash on the screen this summer right before the biggest film of the year, “The Dark Knight Rises,” takes movie-goers back to Gotham City.

dc comics comic books DCs new logo: A fresh flag for companys revolution

The logo was designed by Landor & Associates, whose client list includes FedEx, Volkswagen, Old Spice, Juicy Couture and, believe it or not, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Nicolas Aparicio,  the executive director at Landor’s San Francisco office, says “the new identity is built for the digital age, and can easily be animated and customized to take full advantage of the interactivity offered across all media platforms.” The logo is also a public manifestation of the internal churn at DC; it’s a fresh new flag following a internal revolution of corporate culture.

In early 2010, there was a a sense in the company that publishing trends, audience tastes and Hollywood momentum were all working against it. It was rival Marvel that had the aura of innovation in publishing (where it was No. 1 in market share) and in Hollywood (where nimble Marvel Studios showed a flair for getting a wider array of characters on the screen in bankable franchises that could interlock). Certainly,  Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” was a colossal reminder of what DC properties could do in the right hands, but “The Losers” and “Jonah Hex” were reminders that Warners couldn’t deliver a DC blockbuster without Nolan’s name on it.

diane nelson and geoff johns DCs new logo: A fresh flag for companys revolution

DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment Geoff Johns at Warner Bros. in Burbank. ( Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times )

Warner Bros., DC’s corporate parent, made a yearlong reorganization of DC Entertainment, putting a new team in charge of the brand’s Hollywood projects and making a shift toward the West Coast. Then came the boldest move of all with The New 52, a seismic jolt to the DC comic book line that restarted every title with a new No. 1. When the new logo was announced, John Rood, the executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development for DC Entertainment, connected some of the dots.

“It’s a new era at DC Entertainment and the new look reflects a dynamic, bold approach while at the same time celebrates the company’s rich heritage and robust portfolio of characters,” he said. “It was just a few months ago that Superman, Batman and many of our other superheroes were updated when we launched DC Comics – the New 52 — and now it’s time to do the same for the company’s identity while remaining true to the power of storytelling which is still at the heart of DC Entertainment.”

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DC Comics co-publishers Dan DiDio, left, and Jim Lee. (Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

Symbols and identity have a lot of mojo in the world of superheroes — who could imagine Superman without his red “S” or his Clark Kent day job? — but DC has to also prove it has special powers.

In a revealing survey of comics retailers, Vaneta Rogers of Newsarama found that The New 52 created the obvious (and massive) two-month spike in sales but also seems to have earned a readership foothold for some of the top titles. For many observers, meanwhile, the jury is still out on digital comics and their future upside, but DC has high hopes in that arena. Trickiest of all, though, is Hollywood, where Nolan is leaving Batman behind. Despite all of Warner Bros.’ willpower (and their galaxy-class commitment to toy-shelf tie-ins and licensing), “Green Lantern” was a bitter disappointment for the new DC team. Now they are focusing on next year’s “Man of Steel” and a slate of television ventures.

And, yes, only time will tell if they can make it all fly…

— Geoff  Boucher


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10 Responses to DC’s new logo: A fresh flag for company’s revolution

  1. I'm a logo designer. I think this will be interesting to other designers who construct icons but it's entirely devoid of spirit and energy.

    • DocTheop says:

      Also, the D doesn't "read" in the logo at all anymore. I'd be curious to know, if you took it out of context (off comic book covers, deleted any associated character elements) if the average Joe would know that it is supposed to be "D" "C". Personally I would never know if I hadn't seen the logo change announcement.

      Furthermore, why not launch that with "The New 52"??!

    • chimp says:

      As a graphic designer, I am also conflicted about the new mark. While it's a clever design that has some real potential, on the face of it the new logo is too…calm. It's not indicative of the raw energy, emotion and vibrancy of comic culture, much less DC's culture. But as a corporate mark (which, lets face it, DC has both eyes on now), it's got it's merits. But there is something missing here. Maybe it's just too subtle for it's own good. I'll say this though; I saw the DC right off the bat, it's legibility isn't an issue for me.

  2. Mike says:

    Guys, the logo wasn't the problem. As a long time fan, I'll give you my opinion of why DC isn't selling.

    First, create good stories. Aim the majority of your monthly super hero books at kids and publish graphic novels for adults. Be age appropriate in format.

    You want a more mature story featuring those characters? Fine. Read graphic novels They're a more appropriate format for mature subject matter. Big people have big money. Little kids have little money.

    DC is clinging to talent like Geoff Johns because his books sell but they contain uneccessary levels of violence (esp. against women) and hit that "real world" button. He is the epitome of what is wrong with DC and some of their fans. They want to view real world events through the lens of a man in a cape. There's a diminishing rate of return on making super hero comics more mature. Your audience will always shrink, they will only buy big events and your stories will become so dense that eventually no new reader will ever be able to undestand what is going on.

  3. Walt says:

    That logo is the final nail on the coffin. Since when did DC Comics become and investment firm? Or are they a healthcare insurance company? Someone mentioned yogurt. What, who is this company masquerading as DC Comics?

    The vibe is that most of the fans hate it.

  4. Seba says:

    I don't know why they bother with serialized fare anymore. These characters are so enshrined in our culture that they should be public domain folklore at this point. The only way they will be interesting or relevant is if you treat them that way: just stick to miniseries/graphic novels containing self-contained interpretations of these modern myths from as many radically divergent creative angles as possible. I don't care about continuity spanning decades and trying to make them 'current and hip' – just make them interesting. Take the idea of a character like Superman, let someone run with it in a completely new direction for one graphic novel (just let go of any preconceptions), and hand it off to another team after that. That could realistically give these characters a vitality and life that could go on for ever in the endless interpretations — the alternative, continuous serials that goes on forever, is just too unwieldy and frankly, too 20th century.

  5. I agree with both of these opinions so far especially about the logo. It is about as void of creativity as the PBS logo. The current logo is so much better as it feels super heroish… This new logo looks like a program icon? Seriously? Took me all of two minutes to match this to the (Discovery History logo) just terrible to brand your company with a logo that looks like another logo or that the designer forgot about the homework and did it the morning it was due. C’mon Mr. Lee or Jim if I may! You have a boat load of talented artist on hand INCLUDING YOURSELF to create a slamming logo that screams DC COMICS. My 13 year old son even asked me about this logo and what am I supposed to tell him? Artistically speaking? Can anyone explain the similarities in the two logos???

  6. Okay? After overlaying the two logos and adjusting the opacity percent you can actually see the ridiculous similarities in these logos. Do you know the astronomical odds of two seperate artists stoping the curling points at EXACTLY the same spot without ever looking at the other logo??? I wish I could post a picture here. (Google image search: Discovery History logo and you’ll see them side by side and in an overlayed format.)

  7. JJ says:

    The article fails to mention that DC (the comic company) has been embroiled in a trademark dispute with DC shoes. After DC comics changed their long-standing “bullet” logo to the current one, they sued DC shoes for trademark violation (the two logos are indeed similar). However, because of a legal snafu, DC comics had not properly registered the current mark, and lost to DC shoes, which had registered theirs. I believe DC comics had to pay the shoe company a fee for using their logo. Maybe they decided that they don’t want to do that any longer?

    Also, after reading the comments above, I guess DC comics is in for another trademark fight…sigh, they never learn.

  8. Clark says:

    This new logo requires extra text to even know what it is…hence the extra "DC COMICS" and "DC ENTERTAINMENT" labeling. My first impression was "C band-aids" or "Condoms". Too clever by half.
    Even DC's previous Dairy Queen/GI Joe hybrid logo was better than this. Too corporate. Too antiseptic tech.

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