Logo Study: WONDER WOMAN Part 5

WW 117 1997 cover
All images © DC Comics, Inc., except as noted.

Through most of the 90s the logo designed by Alex Jay continued on the covers, with a few variations. Some issues, like the John Byrne one above, dropped the WW symbol. Enough years had passed that having it on every cover was no longer considered necessary.

Wonder Woman 120 cover

A few issues later this version appeared on the 10th anniversary of the relaunch, with a nostalgic cover by George Perez. Kind of an awkward combination, with the emblem and stars really too big for the letters above, but it did fit the layout, which is why they did it, I’m sure.

Wonder Woman 129 cover

For a while during John Byrne’s time as writer/artist, Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta took over the title as the Golden Age Wonder Woman, which called for the return of the golden age logo. In the first appearance, above, you might notice it’s compressed vertically (or stretched horizontally if you like) compared to the original version. In order to do that sort of thing they needed a digital version of the logo, which I was asked to provide. I scanned one of the early covers and traced it on the computer using Adobe Illustrator. Here’s what my version looked like when I was through:

WW GA Logo Klein

I enjoy doing these, I’ve done a number of them since I began working on the computer in 1994. The trick is to stay true to the original lines while trying to recover details that have been lost over time by constant copying of the logo. Until desktop publishing became the norm in the 1990s, logos were reproduced photographically on photostat cameras in DC’s production department. Original copies of older logos were rarely available, so copies were made from copies, and the process led to details being lost. In this case, working from an old photocopy of a printed version meant I had to make lots of small decisions on how the logo would have looked when originally lettered. Speaking of old, worn logos, I can’t resist showing this cover from 2002:

WW 184 cover

Cover artist Adam Hughes had way too much fun with the old logo on this one as the modern WW meets her Golden Age version…on the cover, at least. Great stuff!

WW 200 cover

By 2004 Alex Jay’s logo had dropped the emblem bar altogether. As this version neared the end of its run, his letters continued to do a fine job of representing the character without looking dated. But the company decided it was time again for a temporary retirement of the character to make way for a new revamp and relaunch.

WW 1 2006 cover

In 2006 Wonder Woman began her third series with a new first issue featuring a new logo by designer Nancy Ogami. It’s a powerful one, combining some ideas from previous versions with Ogami’s original touches. The logo returns to upper and lower case with letters that have wide vertical strokes, narrow connectors, and some curved, clawlike points. Not so many that it brings Catwoman to mind, though, and the large star helps keep it grounded in WW territory. I like the double drop shadow: a narrow one just below, and a deeper telescoped one feeding off the heavy outline that makes the logo very clear and readable. The letters are italic and tightly fitted to leave no blank areas in the middle. There’s a nice symmetry to the curves of each W that I like a lot. A very impressive piece of design work.

I haven’t been able to find a list of Nancy’s other logo designs, but I do know of two. She’s best known for the design of the “Dracula” film logo for the Francis Ford Coppolla version:

Dracula poster
© the respective copyright holder.

And also designed the logo for Dan Brereton’s NOCTURNALS:

Nocturnals cover
© Dan Brereton.

Of these two, the NOCTURNALS logo shows the most similarities of style to the Wonder Woman one, with its curved points. All three logos are very attractive and effective.

That brings us up to the present. Hope you’ve enjoyed the journey!

More chapters and other logo studies on my LOGO LINKS page.

12 thoughts on “Logo Study: WONDER WOMAN Part 5

  1. Brian Pearce

    Nancy Ogami did lots of stuff for Robbin Brosterman on the Prestige Format books and Graphic Novels through the 1990s, more of that sort of work than logos for the standard format comics — but it’s been so long that I’m having trouble remembering them! But I know she did the logos for all of the Elseworlds Batman-as-a-Vampire books, at least.

  2. JRP!

    Todd, I just discovered your blog and your work with the Logo Study is wonderful. Awesome stuff. You should consider syndicating your work on a website to give your columns more exposure.

    Other than the critique and process of your own logos in Logo Study, have you ever written a book on typography? I’m taking typography right now, and I’d be very interested in reading your theory on typography and design.

  3. RAB

    Another great logo study as always. I look forward to every one of these you do: each one teaches me more about graphic design than I ever learned at Pratt, and even more than that about comics history.

    With all respect to the great designs by other folks over the years, the one I like best on this page is your digital recreation of the original logo. I was never a hardcore WW fan and that wasn’t even the logo in use when I started reading comics, so nostalgia isn’t really a factor: that original design is just very lovely and iconic. With some of the logo studies you’ve presented, it was easy to see why the publisher felt the need to keep evolving or changing the logo in search of something better — I’m thinking particularly of the Green Lantern logos here — but the original WW logo was never “broken” and never needed to be fixed. Now it’s simply acquired an extra layer of retro appeal on top of that.

    N.B.: I also think Nancy Ogami’s work is gorgeous. My preference for the original isn’t meant to put down the current logo, it’s just some emotional response I’m trying to understand better myself!

  4. Todd Post author

    JRP: you can read a few thoughts of mine on design in the DESIGN section of my website, link in the sidebar. The book I co-authored on coloring and lettering (see the BUY STUFF section) has a bit about type design as well. Thanks for your comments!
    RAB: thanks to you as well.

  5. jbabcock

    Nancy also did work for Marie Javins during the the short-lived “multiple editor-in-chief” era over at Marvel. I loved her stuff and back in the middle 90s they paid decently for logo work. I know she did the Typhoid Mary logo for John Van Fleet’s book, and the Druid logo as well, but I can’t recall others. (If you look at those, they are very similar to the Dracula one).

    I think she dropped out of doing comics logos shortly after that because they cut the price. But that, certainly, is another blog, another day.

    Refilling ink pens,


  6. Todd Post author

    Thanks, Jon! I did get in touch with Nancy, but she didn’t provide any more information. She was very busy, and said her files were in boxes after a move.

  7. Ilana Orea

    I may be a logo nerd – but this study was fantastic. Would you ever think about developing this as a gorgeous coffee table book? Thanks again for doing this work and also for making the modern logo of Wonder Woman so amazing (I knew I loved it intuitively because I’m a big art deco fan, but wow, it’s so fascinating to peek behind the curtain on your thought process)

  8. Todd Post author

    Glad you enjoyed it, but my blog is my book, so to speak. Getting permission to publish it would be difficult and costly, I think.

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