Monday, October 8, 2012

A Look At The Logos

Warning: The following article takes the dissection of minutia to an all new low. I mean, LOGOS? Who cares about logos? What is this, Pixar? KIDDING. Still, over the years, DreamWorks has had its fair share of lackluster logos, especially when compared to the Emeryville elite.  Will the logo(s) chosen for The Croods make or break this tarnished rep? Let's take a look at the four logos released thus far and see. Going in chronological order, the first logo is...


This rust stained abomination was the logo that DreamWorks used to introduce The Croods to the world. Boasting the same sorta hideous font that Applebee's uses to promote a new line of hot wings or some other super-spicy nonsense, this thing screamed, 'WELL, THE LICENSING PEOPLE NEEDED SOMETHING!'

Creating a quickie logo for this film shouldn't have been too tough. It's an animated movie about a family of CAVE PEOPLE who are forced to leave their CAVE. Even if DreamWorks' marketing department was pressed for time and the regular logo/lettering staff were all out sick due to some Comic Sans-related illnesses, wouldn't the first idea that popped into every pencil-pusher's head still have been--


Yes! Seriously, was that so hard? And while I know that using STONE LETTERS to denote a film set in the STONE AGE may seem a li'l obvious, it's obvious for a reason: BECAUSE IT WORKS.

I'd reference that ol' axiom about 'not reinventing the wheel,' but guess what? The folks who created this logo already did that with the two Os in the middle of 'Croods.' Not only does this small sight gag add an extra bit of cartooniness to the already cartoony-looking letters, it also hints at a (rumored) scene from the film -- one where the new guy, Guy, upgrades the Crood clan from square wheels to round ones. I love it!

Next up...

Life Savers & Toilet Paper Rolls

Did you know that if you chomp on Wintergreen Life Savers in the dark that you'll create a mouthful of small, blue sparks? S'True! It's due to a process called triboluminescence. Triboluminescence is the optimal phenomenon of when light is emitted by friction. In the case of Wintergreen Life Savers, the ingredient methyl salicylate reacts when crushed against sugar. This creates a small electrical charge which is manifested in the form of light energy.

What do Life Savers have to do with The Croods? I was wondering the same thing!

This logo hit the 'net a month or so ago, and honestly, I don't get it. For all intents and purposes, this is the exact same logo as the rock one. Only, they nixed the rocks. Why? I dunno. Maybe someone felt the rocks were too -- what -- cliche?

While it's true that everything from The Flintstones to that old Sega game, Bonk, used rock lettering to clue their intended audiences in to their product's prehistoric setting, does that make it any less effective? Is instilling your audience with an instant sense of familiarity now considered a bad thing? Cuz from what I've learned from Mad Men, that used to be a logo's goal. (And watching five seasons of a TV show is really all it takes to understand the intricacies of advertising, right?)

Oh, no. It just hit me. Not why DreamWorks got rid of the rocks, but why they chose to replace them with a bunch of large white letters that do nothing more than show a now completely-out-of-context 'square wheel' gag and a greater sense of depth.

Hint: It lies in the phrase, "a greater sense of depth."

It's a 3D thang.

Plain White Ts (and Hs and Es...)

Along with September's gorgeous new teaser poster came this slightly modified logo. For those blind folks having this article read to them via one of those robotic, OK Computer-sounding voices, this logo looks just like the last one, sans the 3D effect. While I'd never have thought that simply dropping the drop-shadows would be enough to flush the toilet paper roll comparisons from my mind, it did. So...success?

My gal, Mishka, feels that this logo is the logical choice. She said, "The new poster is so colorful, they needed the white logo to make the title stand out." She's probably right. She usually is. But that doesn't mean she's gonna get the last word. No, I'm saving that for me, in my big 'In Closing' finale.

In Closing...

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this far (shout-outs to you, Mom! Oh, wait. She's dead.) that the 'rocks' logo is my favorite. Simple and symbolic, it does EXACTLY what a movie logo aims to do: It quickly and efficiently lets an oblivious audience know what lies ahead. Not only that, it's playful. Eye-catching. Potentially iconic. And with that little 'square wheel' gag tossed in there almost as an aside, it's going to provide audiences leaving the theater with a small, knowing chuckle as they pass by the movie poster on their way to their cars.

(I guess the toilet paper rolls in the third logo would provide the exiting audience with a slightly different subliminal cue as they make their way to the restrooms, but that the message DreamWorks is hoping to send?)

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