Trends in Marvel Movie Logos – Michael Zhang

Within the past decade, Marvel Studios has taken the world by storm. Their title logos instantly recognizable by fans and non-fans alike. But how were they able to create such iconic works of graphic design? Looking back at the last decade we can see development in design trends and creative approaches to the popular superhero movies.

Phase One movies of the MCU

Dating back to the year 2008, movies like ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and ‘Iron Man’ lit the flame of superhero movie popularity. They were the first majorly successful big-screen adaptations of the original comics. However, their title logos did not reflect those origins. Design-wise, these movies did not associate much with their comic counterparts. Marvel took a different approach with hopes to create a brand that would extend further than the comics.

The earlier movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe all showcased a rather simplistic design, following a similar template of strictly typographic elements with a flat and simple design, set on a black backdrop. Marvel also seems to favour the look of bold, blocky typefaces which can be seen in most of the movie logos. The colour palettes as well, sticking to a mainly red and silver look, to represent the Marvel brand.

As Marvel grew increasingly popular, their designs have also become more outgoing and ambitious. “’ There’s been a global design shift towards simpler, cleaner, ‘flat’ design in recent years so, it’s interesting to see this going in the opposite direction,’ points out award-winning typographic designer Craig Ward” (Maine). Newer designs stray away from the flat look for more 3D and texture, which make them pop on the standard black background. Movies like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ incorporate texture into the typography to bring a fresh new look while giving some hints as to the film characters and plot.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Black Panther (2018)

Now that Marvel has successfully established its name in the film industry, their designs have come full circle. Many of the new and upcoming movies have designs modelled after their original comics. The logo for the films ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘Inhumans’ both have designs that look identical to their comic book titles which are also a nice nod to their original designers.

The Captain Marvel logotype is based on Jared K Fletcher’s original design
The Inhumans logotype is based on the 1998 comic logo by JG Roshell

Marvel is constantly finding new ways to appeal to their audiences through design, and are not afraid to try different styles. As time passes, they also evolve to raise the bar and bring something new and interesting to the table.

Phase 4 of the MCU

Works Cited

Maine, Sammy. “7 Key Typographic Trends in Marvel Movie Logos.” Creative Bloq, Creative Bloq, 18 July 2017, www.creativebloq.com/features/7-key-typographic-trends-in-marvel-movie-logos.

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