Features and Columns · Movies

The Art and Nostalgia of the Film Company Logo

*THX crescendo*
Movie Studio Logos Pixar Wall-E
By  · Published on April 9th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about what makes a great movie studio logo.

Who doesn’t love a good opening shot? Blood-red roses swaying against a pristine white picket fence tell you everything you need to know about the suburban horror of Blue Velvet. The bright, sparkling eye that opens Blade Runner reflects not only plumes of industrial flames but the oracular imagery of the film to come.

But most movies don’t start with the film itself. First come the logos: the (sometimes wildly long) string of corporate thumbprints from the film’s production companies and distributors. And some production logos are built better than others. Some incorporate evocative symbols to get moviegoing audiences in the mood: fireworks; the open sky; physics-defying light sources.

The escalating boom of the THX logo is itself a pavlovian signal to brace yourself for the heightened spectacle of being in a movie theater. Some movie studio logos go one step further and literally shape themselves after the films they introduce, integrating color filters, match transitions, and other impressive sleight-of-hand to seamlessly blur the line between logo and film.

The following video essay unpacks what makes a great film company logo great, from subtle designs to brazen appeals to nostalgia. If this stuff interests you, after you give the video below a watch, I’d highly recommend checking out the Closing Logo Group wiki. It’s a marvelous resource on how movie studio logos shift and modulate over time. And as the video essay notes, that kind of flexibility is a key ingredient to crafting an enduring logo.

Watch “What Makes a Great Film Company Logo?“:

Who made this?

This video comes courtesy of the fine folks at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. Luís Azevedo wrote and edited this video, and Adam Woodward and David Jenkins produced it. You can follow Little White Lies on Twitter here. And you can check out their official website here. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.