The New Proposed DC Logo (Why it is bad.)

#1 Posted by raptorsrevenge (24 posts) - - Show Bio

You can see the proposed mock ups here.

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/follow-up_dc_comics.php

Then you can read Tom Muller's design reasoning on why the logo may have some positives, it ultimately doesn't work for DC. Posted on his G+ feed.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/112006155321588203400/posts/QrBbQQacWRG

Everyone and their grandma has been chiming in with their opinion the last few days when DC unveiled their new logo, and subsequent application designs.

As a designer who has his fingers in both pies, the design and comics industry (and yes, DC is — or maybe after this was — a client), I naturally have an opinion on the new logo and I've been equally guilty of tweeting my thoughts, but you can only say so much with 140 characters, so here goes:

I'm not sold on it. Its a very interesting beast this one, and while I see what it aspires to, I feel it falls flat in many ways. First though, the positives.

- Its designed by Landor, who I think do some great work. Its refreshing to see DC outsourcing their company branding and strategy to a brand agency that lives "outside" of comics. I always harp on about comics living in a bubble and being too self-referential when it comes to design, so hiring a brand agency that works across industries is a good thing, and brings a fresh eye to the task. It doesn't look like comics, and as mentioned in the press release, it looks mature and can stand side-by-side with popular entertainment brands and TV idents for example.

- The new brand is as much a statement of intent as a visual overhaul. It looks contemporary, its designed to live in an age where consumption of entertainment via digital platforms and devices is becoming the standard (if its not already in some areas). Its designed to be 'alive', to be animated, and be part of (what I assume) a push by DC to carve a niche in screen-based entertainment (which would include comics).

- Its a flexible brand. The identity is designed as a container, and can be easily adopted to create sub-strands within the brand without losing any brand equity.

So yes, I do see a good side to it. I've never been a fan of the previous 'detergent' logo that was launched in 2005, even though that one retained some of the 'comic book' qualities in its design, I didn't think it fitted the DC brand. Especially after the New 52 relaunch in September 2011 when different textures and colour ways were applied to it to differentiate the families of books (for example all the Superman comics have a blue and red DC logo, Batman books are dark and gritty, etc) it felt a bit forced. The new logo allows for easy colour marking and extra textures to make the logo stand out as a character in itself.

But. Put together, all those elements don't make for a great identity. And here's why:

- Its designed by Landor, who are not known for their entertainment branding. They excel at branding FMCG and big corporates (yes, I'm aware DC, or its parent Warner, is a corporate entity and comics can be seen as FMCG), but I believe the new identity is a bit too cold, too corporate for a company like DC. Its utilitarian and sterile. Even adding effects and textures doesn't change the fact that its a very austere design that needs an effect applied to make it enticing.

- The typography under the logo mark is poor. I get the Gotham reference, but is it really the most appropriate typeface? The lockup doesn't work either — breaking it up on 2 lines (possibly so they can swap comics with whatever they need), and from the moment it is applied to a cover, it needs to move into a very awkward position next to the mark, because that has been pushed to the spine (silver lining: it does create more space to place the cover logo).

- Speaking of cover applications. The logo can - as far as I see it - only be applied using flat/gradient colours. All the fancy textures that bring the mark to life will compete with the cover art and will make it illegible. Placing the logo flush also eliminates the clear 'D' shape, so what you see at a glance is a 'C' under a half peeled sticker. Every application I've seen so far needs 'DC COMICS' with the mark to be clear. There is not unique signifier in the design that says "Thats DC Comics".

(As an aside, Marvel has an incredibly strong brand mark. Simple, adaptable and instantly recognisable)

- The peeled back sticker is a tired gimmick, no matter if you try to sell it as revealing a secret identity. Coming from a design agency like Landor I find that bit disappointing. The same goes for the 'logo as container' concept — its an easy solution to sell multiple applications, from cities to TV channels (the rhetoric of familiarity in design doesn't work because you're just adding noise).

- Why does a logo aimed at moving image, and more importantly portable devices, use the equivalent of a page flip? Surely there are more interesting visual cues appropriate for the 'digital age' (like for example The New Aesthetic), or do people still flip pages on screens?

And lastly, I feel its a shame DC didn't stay closer to home and look in its own back yard for ideas for their rebrand, even if it was just top level consulting. You might think "Aah, now you're going to blow your own trumpet Muller!", but thats not what I'm implying. Comics work with a lot of outside design talent, and they all live and breathe comics, but also design in all its forms (trumpet!), and that is what I believe is needed in cases like this — not a corporate makeover but an insight into what works as modern design and appropriate for comics cartoons, toys, etc (personally Rian Hughes springs to mind).

Of course, a big corporation will always seek out another big corporation to do business with, and not the small(er) independents. I would have loved to see what agencies like Wolff Olins or Moving Brands would have done with it.
#2 Edited by Hector (446 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it looks horrible. It looks like a generic template any image editing software comes with.

#3 Posted by bladewolf (764 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally, I don't think the new logo is all that bad. Do I love it? No, but even so I think it's definitely an improvement over the old logo. It may even grow on me, but who knows.

Online
#4 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1664 posts) - - Show Bio

It's cool but It's going to be hard get used to it.

#5 Posted by Mina319 (221 posts) - - Show Bio

i prefer the one we have now

#6 Posted by danhimself (22565 posts) - - Show Bio

it's not the greatest but at the same time I could care less about what their logo looks like...it still only takes up about an inch of space out of the entire book and isn't affecting the inside at all

#7 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio

@danhimself said:

it's not the greatest but at the same time I could care less about what their logo looks like...it still only takes up about an inch of space out of the entire book and isn't affecting the inside at all

+5 to logic.

#8 Posted by danhimself (22565 posts) - - Show Bio

@ReVamp said:

@danhimself said:

it's not the greatest but at the same time I could care less about what their logo looks like...it still only takes up about an inch of space out of the entire book and isn't affecting the inside at all

+5 to logic.

the worst I've seen so far is a few people saying that they're dropping all of DC's books because of the logo change??? I sometimes wonder if people don't think about their decisions before announcing them...dropping all of DC's books because of a logo change is like saying that Pepsi is your favorite soda but OH NO they've changed their logo!! now the only reasonable thing to do is to stop drinking their soda because you can't support their communist ideas and hideous design schemes

#9 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio

@danhimself said:

the worst I've seen so far is a few people saying that they're dropping all of DC's books because of the logo change??? I sometimes wonder if people don't think about their decisions before announcing them...dropping all of DC's books because of a logo change is like saying that Pepsi is your favorite soda but OH NO they've changed their logo!! now the only reasonable thing to do is to stop drinking their soda because you can't support their communist ideas and hideous design schemes

People are... dropping DC because... of this?

I could write three paragraphs, but I'll just do this:

#10 Posted by _Zombie_ (10443 posts) - - Show Bio

@ReVamp said:

@danhimself said:

the worst I've seen so far is a few people saying that they're dropping all of DC's books because of the logo change??? I sometimes wonder if people don't think about their decisions before announcing them...dropping all of DC's books because of a logo change is like saying that Pepsi is your favorite soda but OH NO they've changed their logo!! now the only reasonable thing to do is to stop drinking their soda because you can't support their communist ideas and hideous design schemes

People are... dropping DC because... of this?

I could write three paragraphs, but I'll just do this:

Read the comments section of every facebook post by DC since the new logo was unveiled. It consists of whiny brats 'threatening' to drop all DC books because of this stupid logo change.

#11 Posted by Owie (3743 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article--real detailed, specific typography/design criticism, as opposed to just "I don't like it because it sucks"!

#12 Posted by Jnr6Lil (7705 posts) - - Show Bio

@Hector said:

I think it looks horrible. It looks like a generic template any image editing software comes with.

#13 Posted by ARMIV2 (8554 posts) - - Show Bio

While I don't think it's the worst logo to ever replace a really great logo (Rare), I just don't get that same "impact" from looking at it. That's probably kinda dumb, but little things like that are kind of important to me.

#14 Posted by joshmightbe (24885 posts) - - Show Bio

Am I the only person who doesn't give a sh*t about logos

#15 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

Cuz it is?

#16 Posted by Whisper_ (3459 posts) - - Show Bio

It looks like a teenager with photoshop designed it. Not worthy.

#17 Posted by JediXMan (30663 posts) - - Show Bio

Looks like a logo more suited for a computer company, for some reason.

Why mess with a good thing? Consistency is nothing to be afraid of.

Moderator
#18 Posted by TheSheepHerder (11961 posts) - - Show Bio

Meh, it looks like a logo for a defense contractor.

#19 Posted by Omega Ray Jay (7823 posts) - - Show Bio

Even after a couple of days I still can't stand it.

#20 Posted by nickthedevil (12577 posts) - - Show Bio

I personally Love it... It's a big improvement... Wondering how reaction would be if marvel followed suit... they usually do that with their Dreaded Competitor

#21 Posted by _Zombie_ (10443 posts) - - Show Bio

@joshmightbe said:

Am I the only person who doesn't give a sh*t about logos

No, you're not. I myself fail to see how a picture that takes up a tiny spot on the cover affects the quality of the books.

#22 Posted by GamerGeek360 (251 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved the swish, wasn't in to comics when the bullet was standard, but I'm not liking this. I may like it eventually but it just looks out of place. Especially on the comics. Ultimately, however, the logo doesn't matter. As long as the quality of the books is still good, I'll give them the $2.99 (or $3.99 in some cases) for whatever crazy-branded comics they hand out.

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