Movies are, of course, vehicles of visual art. From the wardrobe, to the set pieces, special effects and closing credits, audiences are presented with a wide range of images. A certain detail, such as Bruce Lee’s yellow track suit in “Game of Death” or the featured car in the latest Bond movie, may stand out and stick in your head for years. I remember being haunted by the clown in Stephen King’s “IT” for quite a while. But with some movies it’s not any particular character or scene that stays with you. Maybe it’s the poster. Or, maybe it’s even the typography or logo. For example: The Indiana Jones type, with that orange gradient and adventuring feel. The type is probably as iconic as Indy’s hat.
How about the Jurassic Park logo? Not only was it on the poster; it was also on several of the props in the movie, including the jeeps that were featured in many of the scenes. With the type and the black T-Rex skeleton in a red circle, it really said a lot about the movie in a bold way.
You may not remember all of the Ghostbusters’ last names, but I’m sure you can recall what the Ghostbuster symbol patch looks like. The cartoon ghost trapped by the giant slash through the red circle? Such a fun way to represent the job of imprisoning ethereal beings, right?
Or, even more memorable: Production studio logos. You probably had these images or animations burned into your mind from the sheer number of times you’ve seen them before the opening credits. How about the roaring MGM lion? Or maybe the iconic Warner Brothers logo that led into a wide number of things, from the Batman movies to children’s cartoons. The 20th Century Fox spotlights (along with the drumroll), The Paramount mountain with the stars…I have vivid memories of that introducing the Indiana Jones movies. Also vivid is TriStar’s “Pegasus” animation scaring the heck out of me as a child. That flying unicorn wanted to eat my soul, I swear.
There are countless examples of iconic branding for cinema and television, from the Nickelodeon orange splat to The Godfather’s puppeteering logo. And the fact that these images can remain with the viewers for such extended periods of time just affirms artistic power lies not only in cinematography and set design, but also in a a movie or a studio’s branding and advertising.