Cinderella’s Castle in the Walt Disney Logo or the mysterious looking X Files logo have something in common, can you guess? It’s a drama. Dramatic logos can create varied emotions in split seconds. I have spoken of how minimal logos can impact the human mind in my previous articles but having a dramatic logo can be equally impactful and create a magic of its own.
What are dramatic logos?
A dramatic logo depicts some kind of movement or expresses a range of emotions. A dramatic logo has varied color combinations and characters that speak of a particular emotion. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo, for example, has a roaring lion in the middle and beautifully expresses royalty, and the best part of it all: the lion is inside the logo and not outside!
Why are dramatic logos important?
Just like any other logo, dramatic logos too help in setting your brand apart from the crowd. Theatre groups, movie production companies, TV shows, video games, artist management companies and music companies can choose to have a dramatic logo.
We have chosen 10 dramatic logos that not only introduce their brand but also talk about what the brand does.
Sindabad, the adventurous sailor fights through odds to save a prince in 10 days or Shrek becoming the king after he marries Fiona, are all great animated films made by DreamWorks. The American animation studio has produced some of the highest grossing and award winning animated films. The Prince of Egypt, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek are some of their successful franchises.
DreamWorks has one of the most dramatic logos on the planet. The boy with a fishing rod on the moon conveys the message that material obstacles mean nothing to children. Even adults while dreaming become like children and achieve things that may look impossible. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg selected this piece of art from the drawings of artist Robert Hunt. The iconic logo never fails to attract its audience.
2. Walt Disney
Captain Jack Sparrow and his Black Pearl have never failed to mesmerize audiences all over the world. Mowgli, on the other hand, has won the admiration of everyone who has seen the movie. Be it Pirates of the Caribbean or The Jungle Book, Walt Disney has created history with these immortal films. Chicago, Finding Nemo and WALL-E are among films that have won the prestigious Oscar awards.
Walt Disney can brag about having one of the most dramatic logos on the planet. Cinderella’s Castle was added to the logo in 1985 along with unchanged lettering of “Walt Disney”. The reason Walt Disney’s logo has retained its magical status is due to its adaptability. Walt Disney has truly evolved with time and has kept the magic alive.
“The name is Bond, James Bond”- be it Roger Moore delivering the lines or be it Sean Connery, film lovers all over the globe have been mesmerized by James Bond. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) has some of the most historic films under its banner. The Wizard of Oz, A Night at the Opera and Ben-Hur are some of the award films by MGM. One of the oldest film studios in the world, MGM can brag about working with some of the legends of Hollywood.
The first thing you would notice about the logo is the roaring lion. The regal looking logo never ceases to mesmerize the audience. The living lion in the logo symbolizes beauty and power. The film roll, the mask and the lion together form a dramatic logo that has inspired generations of filmmakers, graphic designers and artists.
4. The Godfather
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the bestselling novel by Mario Puzo of the same name, The Godfather remains one of the top films ever produced in Hollywood. The film has gained legendary status due to a lot of cinematic elements coming together. Be it the graphic design or the cinematography, Godfather will remain one of the best films in the world. Who can ever forget the famous lines by Don Vito Corleone, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”, or “a friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults.”
The iconic Godfather logo is equally dramatic. The logo is a paradox in itself and beautifully explains what the film is all about. The logo depicts a Catholic priest or father baptizing a child with a cross, however, the lead characters in the film, Vito and Michel, are murderous Godfathers. The scene where Michel is seen baptizing Connie’s child along with a parallel scene of his men killing the head of the five families beautifully brings out the paradox hidden in the logo. The Godfather: a legendary film with a dramatic logo.
5. The X-Files
Files that are unsolvable are moved to the X-Files unit by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These files are then picked by special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully for further investigations. Paranormal activities, aliens and a whole lot of mysteries is what the series is all about. A TV program that spanned over nine seasons, The X-Files has won numerous awards.
Chris Carter, the show’s creator, designed the logo. The mysterious looking “X” with a spot light over it portrays the secret nature of the TV show. The ghostly vibe that you get from looking at it is exactly what the show deals with. The sleek looking title of the show adds glamour to the logo. The circled “X” adds to the mysterious nature of the logo.
Superman, America’s most loved superhero, was born on planet Krypton and was named Kal-El at birth. Seen for the first time in 1938 in Action Comics #1, the American superhero has gone on to capture the hearts of people around the globe. Clark Kent is madly in love with Lois Lane but Lois is in love with Superman. Lois is unaware of Clark’s dual identity which really makes the story interesting. Apart from comic books, Superman has been adapted as movies, theatres and radio serials due to its popularity.
In its 75-year history, the Superman logo has been tweaked more than 25 times. However, the main visual of the logo has remained the same through the years. The letter “S” inside the shield has gained iconic stature over the years. Red symbolizes the red sun of Krypton and yellow symbolizes the yellow sun of the earth. Superman’s powers are activated by the yellow sun and the red sun reminds him of his home. The combination makes the logo a dramatic one.
The savior of Gotham City, Batman first appears in DC comic books in 1939. Bruce Wayne is the owner of Wayne Enterprises in the day and by night he is his alter ego – Batman. All superheroes possess some kind of power but Batman does not and that is exactly what makes him super attractive. Batman relies on his brain power and superior fighting skills to establish justice in Gotham city.
Cathryn Laver has designed the current logo after drawing inspiration from various previous versions. The logo is symbolic of the eternal battle between good and evil. The Batman symbol is extremely powerful and dramatic because it evokes the sense of righteousness!
8. Street Fighter
Street Fighter, one of the highest-grossing franchises on the planet, jumped into the scene in 1987. This was the period when Pac-Man and Super Mario were ruling the world. Street Fighter not only revived the fighting genre in video games, but created history by selling over 44 million units globally. As an 80s kid I can never forget the “Hurricane Kicks” and the “Psycho Fires”!
The street Fighter logo does not leave any room for imagination. The lettering is dramatic enough to suggest exactly what you are in for. The fiery letters convey the message of what players can expect: a series of powerful punches and kicks. So get ready for the next level: “Hadouken”
9. Bon Jovi
“Woah, we’re halfway there, woah, livin’ on a prayer”- these are the immortal lines from the great rock anthem by Bon Jovi, “Livin’ on a prayer”. If you are an 80s kid you would know what it felt like to enter into a Bon Jovi concert. This American rock band from New Jersey has created music history by selling more than 100 million records worldwide.
The dramatic logo of the dagger to the heart is symbolic of love and pain. The logo beautifully conveys the kind of music that Bon Jovi does. Some experts are of the opinion that the logo symbolizes Mother Mary crying over the death of her son – Jesus Christ.
10. Guns N Roses
You can never forget Axl Rose screaming the lines, “you know where you are, you are in the jungle”, followed by legendary guitar riffs of Slash. How can you ever forget one the most memorable guitar intros to the song “Sweet Child o mine”? Gun N Roses is truly an iconic rock band that the world will ever see.
Known as the most dangerous band in the world, Guns N Roses also have the most dangerous looking logo in the music world! Hand drawn by Slash, the lead guitarist of the band, the logo portrays the kind music the band creates. The gun symbolizes violence and the rose portrays love: exactly what the band is!
Those were some of the most dramatic logos in the world. Logos like these can create powerful brand images. You can consider getting a dramatic logo if you feel that is what goes best for building your brand image.
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.