Monday, October 3, 2011

Anatomy of a Logo: Marvel, Part 1


Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics was published by Harry N. Abrams in September 1991. The book design was handled by David Kaestle Inc. The late David Kaestle had been an art director at National Lampoon. David Vogler, the principal designer of the book, hired me on some earlier projects.


WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1991

David Vogler calls to see if I'm available today to discuss the Marvel logo. I am. At the Kaestle studio, David explained the project and what he wanted in the logo: make it big and bold. And, by the way, the logo is due on Monday. After our meeting, I return to my studio with a photocopy of the cover dummy (10 by 12 inches / 25.4 by 30.48 centimeters). As you can see, the logo has beveled edges and a shadow in one-point perspective, and appears to be loosely based on the Marvel Comics logo in the corner of the comic book covers. I put the photocopy away and finish another job. At home, I find a Marvel Mystery Comics cover logo to use as reference.




THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1991

(After I delivered the logo artwork, I numbered the photocopies and sketches with a number in a red circle; in the following text, they are noted parenthetically.)

In my studio, I photocopy the dummy logo at 75 percent (1). I place tracing paper over the photocopy and re-shape the letters; I make the sides of the "M" perpendicular to the baseline, and use the "R", from Marvel Mystery Comics, as a guide; the "R" and "V" touch or kiss (an industry term I learned of when I was in college). Then I draw red guide lines over the sketch (2).




Next, I place tracing paper over the sketch and make a tight drawing of the letters (3). Then I refine that drawing (4). Not satisfied with the "R", I draw several versions (5).




In the next drawing, I add the beveled edges and tweak the "R" (6). Satisfied with the result, I file the drawings away.


(Tomorrow, Part 2 of 4)

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I can't wait to read the rest of this. I read this book back to front and front to back so many times I can't even remember.

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