2005 Comic Book News Archives

History of DC Logo

May 11, 2005: Richard Bruning on Designing New DC Logo

Newsarama sat down with DC's Senior Vice President - Creative Director Richard Bruning to learn about the process and what goes in to designing a new logo. Here's an excerpt from the lengthy interview...

    Q: How many designs made the semifinals?

    A: Without getting into the nuances of every design, we narrowed it down to about nine designs to present to Paul, because he didn't want to see the hundreds of variations we'd come up with, because he knew it would drive him crazy, plus he trusts George and I, which I am always very grateful for.

    We put nine up on the wall, and George and I had already done a pre-cut - we knew how we ranked them. But we were shocked - Paul, almost on every single one, called it the same way as George and I had. By the time we were done, we were all laughing, because we knew we were all headed toward the same goal, which is a wonderful experience to have.

    Q: As you said, the logo that Glaser designed in the '70s was more strictly about comics than this one is. With that in mind, when looking for the new logo, one that has to embody not just the publishing, but the entire package that is now DC, what concepts needed to shine through? For example, a quick look at the logo would tell someone who knew nothing about DC what?

    A: Our world is about energy. It's about power. It's about creativity. And that's a kinetic energy in movement, even if it's not a physical energy at times. Again, and not to fault Mr. Glaser's design, the previous mark was flat. It was created to be flat.

    Two forces, one over the last decade or so, particularly due to the computerization of design work, embossed and three dimensionalized company marks have become very prevalent. The mark as Milton created it was virtually impossible to move into anything other than a flat representation. If you tried to emboss it, or turn it, or do anything to it, it was unforgiving in that sense. It wouldn't do that.

    So, going into it, that was one of our goals - we really wanted to be able to lift it off the page. We wanted it to convey motion and convey energy. Well, you're still working in a static medium, so how do you do that? In this case, by using the star, both as a historic element, and using it in motion.

    By taking the star and having it move in space, as it moves from small and dark in the back to lighter and larger in the front, you innately build motion into it. That was the way that solution helped this mark pop out from all the other designs - it has motion built into it, and that was what we thought was going to be one of our most difficult challenges to achieve. And as you'll see when the film version comes out, it lends itself extraordinarily well to animation.

    The other thing was that we wanted "D" and "C" to be bold. Bold and clean and readable from a mile away, no mater what size it was. As it now stands, we tested the mark to incredibly tiny sizes - down to a quarter of an inch, and in the simplified version of it, you can still read "D" and "C" - you can tell what it is. That was our other major design hurdle to handle.

    We also wanted to make sure it looked dynamic and flexible, but didn't look heavy handed - it shouldn't look industrial.

Read the entire interview at the Newsarama website.

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