In 1993 I was asked by Curtis King at DC to submit ideas for a new Green Arrow logo. I was happy to do that. Above are some thumbnail sketches and one more finished sketch. Okay, true confession time…they were not done in 1993. I rarely save such preliminary work, it’s just intended to get me started, but in 2003, while working on the Lettering half of the “DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering” book (published by Watson-Guptill and still in print), I needed some preliminary sketches to show as an example for the Logo Design section, and drew these up then. It’s an example of retrodesign, working backwards from the finished sketches, but does look like the kind of thing I would have done, or so I hope!
On to the actual sketches from 93 in marker (over pencils). This first one features very elongated letters, something I was into then. I enlarged the G and A some, lining up the angled ends of those letters with the ones next to it. Otherwise, it’s pretty regular and even. Looking at it now, I think I overdid the elongation of the lower parts. They’re so far from the center strokes it begins to become an eye-chart instead of words, even with the black drop-shadow to separate them.
Version 2 is much better. I made a monogram of the G and A by joining them together (probably influenced by the first Gaspar Saladino logo shown last time), and they’re a little hard to read, but the rest of the letters are clear and attractive, I think. Wide vertical strokes and narrower horizontal ones are enhanced by large curved and pointed serifs or pointed strokes. As I’ve often said, pointy things are usually popular on super-hero logos. There are some minor things that needed tweaking, but I think it works well.
This third sketch returns to the elongated letters idea, but I like this one better. It wasn’t chosen this time, but I liked it enough to use similar letterforms and elongation for a GENERATION X logo for Marvel a short time later. Always good when you can recycle!
Those three sketches were sent in, and Curtis asked for some revisions/new sketches on the first two. Here they are.
For this one, he just wanted to see it with a much thinner drop shadow. I think it looks better, but by opening up spaces between the letters, it would have allowed small bits of cover art show between them, which would have been a pain for the DC production department, the colorist and separators, and probably not looked that good, so it’s just as well this one went no further.
Curtis had a number of suggestions for this one, which I followed. First, separating the G and A made them read better. Next, making the REEN smaller and aligned with just the top section of the G allowed the entire logo to be less tall, leaving more room for cover art, but the larger G and A still gave it a lot of impact. The size difference also makes each word more readable, as it helps separate them, as does the differing lengths. The one problem was the R in GREEN had to lose its pointed right leg, but I solved that by joining it to the E next to it. This design was approved, and I did up a final version in ink on plastic vellum and sent it in. Here’s the first cover appearance:
DC was happy with the logo, and used it for a number of years, but it did undergo a change in 1995.
For some reason they decided to make the G smaller, just slightly larger than REEN, and aligned with it. Actually, one good reason is it allowed them to then slide the two words horizontally in relation to each other if necessary to fit in with cover art, so that’s probably it.
I was asked by Curtis to make the change, and I lettered the new G on a separate piece of vellum laid over a copy of the logo, as shown above. Curtis then assembled the pieces into a new whole.
For issues 110 and 111, this new logo version was used, reversing the roles of the two green heroes from their previous team-ups in Green Lantern’s book, a fun idea, not to mention that the roles were played by two young newcomers. This version was put together on the computer by Ken Lopez from his Green Lantern logo and my Green Arrow one. Really like the way it turned out, and the flaming banners behind never looked better.
In 1998 this one-off logo variation was used. It’s a font based on the one used for the title of “The New Yorker” magazine, giving this issue an homage feel.
This solo series came to an end that year, and Green Arrow had a few years off from his monthly gig. A relaunch brought him to the fore again early in the next decade. We’ll continue there and wrap this Logo Study up next time.
More chapters and other logo studies on my LOGO LINKS page.