Five years ago, designer Christian Annyas set out on a unique mission. He wanted to track the evolution of the Warner Bros. Pictures logo, starting with the some of the company's earliest films all the way through present day. It wasn't easy. "I started in 2009 and have watched the first part (and trailers) of at least 1,000 Warner Bros. movies since," he told The Verge. The result is a brilliant look at a piece of branding that — like Universal's spinning globe and the mountains below Paramount's logo — became deeply ingrained in the minds of American moviegoers.
"During 90 years the Warner Bros. shield has undergone a series of refinements," reads the project's introduction. Many of those alterations came when the company fell under new ownership, which has happened numerous times during its storied history. But as you'll see below, Warner Bros. ultimately wound up not far from where it began. Hundreds of other examples can be seen at Annyas' website. As for why he did it, Annyas told The Verge, "There wasn't a good overview of Warner Bros. logos yet." He added, "I hate when the internet is incomplete."
Special thanks to Christian Annyas for providing these high-res images.
- This logo was seen at the end of some of the earliest Warner Bros. films, including 1927's The Jazz Singer.
- Even back in 1938, the company was willing to modify its logo for artistic purposes. Here's the emblem as it appeared in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
- By 1942's Casablanca, the Warner Bros. logo wasn't far off from what we know today.
- The WB logo was displayed atop a curtain for 1962's Gypsy.
- Toy marching band statuettes carry the Warner Bros. Pictures flag in The Music Man.
- When control of Warner Bros. Pictures was sold to control of the studio and its music business to Seven Arts Inc. in 1966, the logo went through a major redesign.
- Here the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts logo appears stylized ahead of 1969's Wild Bunch.
- This bland logo resulted when Kinney Services bought Warner Bros. Pictures in 1970. It appears here before Dirty Harry.
- Saul Bass designed this logo — a favorite of many — which was used between 1972 and 1984.
- By 1984's Gremlins, order had been restored and the logo reverted back to its classic style.
- Some custom logos were better than others. This version, for 2002's Scooby Doo, looks like an amateur Photoshop job.
- Things got better (and much darker) for Christopher Nolan's first Batman film, 2005's Batman Begins.
- The custom logo used for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
- Christopher Nolan yet again favored dark (and grayscale) for Inception.
- The Losers may have been a mediocre film, but the WB emblem looked great in this comic styling.