Image © DC Comics, Inc.
Here are some sketches I produced for the DC Comics licensing department probably some time in the 1990s. I have no record of being paid for a Riddler logo, so they may well have rejected all of them. The Riddler never seemed to progress beyond the 1960s to me, so perhaps they were looking for something more modern. I kind of like the third one.
Images © Capcom, Inc.
“Resident Evil” is a videogame and multimedia franchise that began in 1996. Above is the logo from the original game. Some time before that, probably 1995, I was contacted about designing a logo for the property. I don’t think it was Capcom, I think it may have been a licenser interested in promoting merchandise, but I don’t recall the details. I did a number of sketches, only two survive:
Looking at them now, I’m sure this was too “comic-booky” for them, especially considering the very conservative type-based logo of the game. I suspect fans might have enjoyed something more along these lines, though.
Images © DC Comics, Inc.
Here’s the logo for The Phantom Stranger by Gaspar Saladino, created for his appearance in 1969 in SHOWCASE. In 1987 DC Comics decided to put out a new mini-series featuring the character, and asked me to do a new logo, but one very close to this version. They liked it, but wanted it tweaked in a few areas.
Here’s a pencil sketch version of what they asked for. The letters are all closer together, and THE overlaps the P of PHANTOM. The internal open areas of PHANTOM are a little wider than on the original, too. A rough outline contains the entire thing. I might have a photocopy of the final logo, but can’t find it at the moment.
Here’s the printed comic. The creator names were added below the logo and included in the rough outline, probably by Bob LeRose or another production staffer. The pencil sketch is what I pulled from my files, in case you wondered!
Logo images © Steve Tice and Todd Klein.
In 1993 I was asked to design the logo for a fanzine created by Steve Tice. The content was to lean heavily toward SANDMAN and the work of Neil Gaiman. I loved the name, and came up with these three sketches. The center one was chosen for the final logo. The curlicues were inspired by the art of Frank C. Papé, in his illustrations for “The Cream of the Jest” by James Branch Cabell, a book and author Neil and I both liked. Papé often gave his delightful pen and ink illustrations handsome hand-lettered captions. Here’s an example:
If you don’t know the work of these gentlemen, it’s worth seeking out. I don’t think Papé illustrated a lot of Cabell’s books, but the ones he did are greatly enhanced by his work, which seems largely forgotten now.
Here’s the final logo, one of my favorites. The magazine only lasted a few issues, but they were good ones.
Images © Marvel Characters, Inc.
My usual method of designing logos is to work out some ideas in small thumbnail quick sketches, then create full-size marker sketches, like the one above. This is the only sketch I saved for the assignment, so I’m not sure how many I did, but it was usually three to begin with, more if needed.
The finished logo is very close to the sketch, with the most obvious difference being the bottom line has thicker letters.
Here’s the printed book, which I never read. Was Mort a ghost or a zombie?
Occasionally I would work out a finished sketch in pencil rather than markers, especially when it required careful measurement like this one. You can see the curved guidelines that kept everything spaced properly horizontally, and the focal point of the perspective lines at the bottom.
The finished logo was made on a piece of Denril plastic vellum laid over the pencils and inked with my Castell TG-1 technical drawing pens. Corners could be made sharp, and any extra ink removed by scratching away the dried ink with an exacto knife.
Most issues had at least part of this very tall logo covered by art. Here’s one that’s nearly complete.