When you’ve been around as long as DC Comics, your look (or in this case your logo) is going to go through some changes. From the old fashioned original to modern experimentation and not-so-timeless marketing, fans have followed the company through it all.
In total, ten different iterations of the emblem have graced the covers of the legendary publisher’s books over the course of it’s 80+ years in business. Here’s a breakdown of ones that are remembered fondly, and others that have been forgotten. But don’t expect every fan to agree on the very best version…
1940-42: The first DC Comics logo is (for lack of a better word) a little basic, but it gets some cred for being the one of the OG’s of comic book branding.
1942-49: Very similar to the first version, this new iteration takes a tiny step forward by adding Superman’s name to the mix as well as a smidgen of shadowing to the DC lettering.
1949-70: By the end of the Golden Age, DC finally popped some color into the logo. This is what would grace the covers of their books for the next two decades.
1970-72: DC began the 70’s by attempting to incorporate character branding into their logo, with this being an example of what you would see on the cover of a Superman comic at the time. It’s an interesting idea, and certainly more eye-catching than the ones previous.
1972-74: Featuring a back-to-basics approach, gone is the character branding and in its place is a giant red “DC” circled by a black border. While it would only last a couple of years, its influence would be felt decades later…
1974-76: Another stark-looking take, this one introduced some blue into the coloring as well as a slogan: “The Line of Super Stars.” Like the version before it, this would only be active for two years before getting tossed aside for what would become one of the most iconic logos in comics history.
1976-05: Known to most fans as “The Bullet”, this classic design would usurp the 1949-1970 version as the longest-used DC Comics logo, lasting almost three decades. Incorporating stars into the boarder while using high contrast black and white coloring and set at a jaunty angle, it is the benchmark for the all designs that came after it.
2005-12: There are some neat details in this one. The way the border is turned on its axis gives it some depth, making it look like the “DC” is launching out at you, and the star is a nice call-back to the classic Bullet design.
2012-16: This logo, which graced the covers of DC’s books after the ill-fated New 52 relaunch, is unlike anything they had done before. The “D” is covering the “C” while folding slightly over itself like a comic book page, and some texture added to the letter to add depth.
2016-Present Day: DC’s current logo takes the 1972-74 design and gives it a make-over, tightening up the white-space, changing the lettering to a slightly more dramatic font, and sticking to the blue coloring that’s been the norm since 2005. It’s simple, stylish, and impactful.
And there it is, over 80 years of the DC Comics logos. In terms of which is best, it’s hard to argue against The Bullet. Many of the most influential releases by the publisher have sported that little star-spangled devil. At the bottom of the pile is where the real action is with pretty much all of the Golden/Silver Age entries jockeying for the title of “least memorable design.”
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