On Feb. 24, 2014 I received an email from DC editor Kristy Quinn commissioning this logo. She told me it was for a new digital-first title along the lines of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN or LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, in that it would run online first, then be released in a print version, and the logo would need to serve both. Kristy wrote:
“This is going to be a BIG logo, both literally and figuratively. It needs to offer a lot of flexibility for placement while speaking to both the original SENSATION COMICS logo and a more modern sensibilty.
1) can be used as two-three flat lines, or equally as well stacked into 5 lines
2) Something that reflects the original SENSATION COMICS logo & uses the WONDER WOMAN section to bring it forward in time.
3) Since this will cover 90% of the real estate on any digital graphics, it needs to “read” at 600×600 pixels, so we can use it as the entire graphic if we need to.”
I was happy to accept the assignment, and I soon got to work making sketches.
I began by looking at the first issue of the original SENSATION COMICS from 1942. Kristy suggested the SENSATION part should reflect this one, and while there are things I like about it — it’s easy to read, for instance — there are definitely things I don’t like as well.
For my sketch I followed the general style of the original but made the shapes thicker and closer together. I made the oval O more rectangular to match the rest, giving it just two rounded corners, then gave similar rounded corners to the large and small S. The original logo added serif-like extensions on the small S, but not the large one, which I thought was an interesting variation, so I kept that, as well as the extended right arm of the N.
For COMICS and FEATURING I used the style of COMICS on the old logo, which I liked. It has a slightly Art Deco feel most evident in the points on the M. I worked out the letterforms for FEATURING in a similar style.
For WONDER WOMAN Kristy wanted something more modern. I thought I would work with upper and lower case letters that followed a similar angle and style I’d used for SENSATION and repeated the combination of some square corners with some rounded ones. This began to remind me of the eagle feather shapes on WW’s chest symbol, though they’re much more stylized (and sometimes squared off) today than they once were. I came up with two versions of the large W that I’d try with the lower case letters for the rest of the name. And since there are several repeating letters, I didn’t have to design as many letter forms for this part.
Here’s a logo I designed for the character in the 1980s working off the chest symbol devised by the Milton Glaser Studio. There’s definitely some similarities to the new design, but lots of differences, too.
In fact, my WW design is actually closer to the current AQUAMAN logo, something I didn’t notice right away, but again I felt there were enough differences that it would be okay. All my sketches were done in pencil and marker at my drawing board. When I’d finished, I scanned them and traced the forms in Adobe Illustrator, assembling the letters into sample designs.
Here’s my assembled design for the first three words of the new logo, with the original version for reference. I made the first S taller, but otherwise it’s the same as the sketch.
I planned to show WONDER WOMAN in two styles, using the different W’s, and each style in two versions. Here are the stacked ones, with each word on its own line. And, since there are so many words in the logo, I decided to add a large star as a visual element, tying to the ones on her headband and trunks, and an element used in many other Wonder Woman logos. I feel a logo is usually stronger with some kind of visual element tying it to the appearance of the character. This design has two, the star and the curved ends on the strokes suggesting the chest symbol.
Version C puts the two logo ideas together, but I had a problem fitting COMICS FEATURING between them because of the ascending stroke of the D. I thought I’d try making the end of the D into the A in FEATURING. This kind of worked in black and white, but not in color, so I dropped it after this first attempt. Notice the first W has extended arms to fill the space in front of COMICS, making it different from the second W.
Here’s the other W shape and a shorter D in WONDER. Again there are slight differences in the two W’s to make the shapes fit well.
Kristy also wanted a version that would not be as tall as the stacked version, and these show the entire logo on two lines. While it was very wide, and would therefore appear smaller on a cover, this layout had more breathing space, and the three different word sizes gave the overall look a nice variety. Here the W’s on each version are the same.
I thought the width of version E might be a problem, so I made this alternate where the letters are not slanted and WONDER WOMAN is considerably taller. I submitted all these samples to Kristy.
On March 10th I got feedback with a few suggestions and revisions requested: definitely NO on the A in FEATURING as part of the D in WONDER; COMICS should be larger than FEATURING; on the two line version, the slanted version was preferred, and the vertical W’s rather than the winged ones. With that in mind I made revised samples in black and white as well as color.
Here’s the revised stacked version. A smaller FEATURING allowed me to put it right of the D, a better layout.
Here it is in color with drop shadows for added depth and readability over cover art.
And another version with black outlines on the larger words and star, a more traditional logo approach, and no drop shadow on the small words.
For the wide version COMICS is again larger than FEATURING, but this is otherwise about the same as the earlier sample. In color everything has a light yellow-orange drop shadow, a little hard to see here. These versions were all approved without further changes on March 19th, making this one of the easier logo assignments I’ve had from DC in a while. Kristy is great to work with.
So far I’ve only seen the two-line version used on both the printed comic and the digital-first version, as above. Kind of small, but it works fine for me.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this look at a recent logo design, lots more can be found on my LOGO LINKS page.