Logo Design Love

on logos and brand identity design

Superman symbol evolution

Superman Clark Kent original
First appearance of Clark Kent, 1934-35

“In 1945, National Periodical Publications (later simply known as DC Comics) trademarked Superman’s symbol, allowing the ability to print his stories in perpetuity, rather than allowing the printed material to become public domain after 75 years, as was the norm at that time. The ability to license and merchandise the character created another source of income for the comics industry.”

Superman 26
In 1944, the trademarked version of the symbol appeared in Superman 26

“Superman’s symbol has become recognizable all over the world. However, at one time, it was not even very consistently drawn — and that is the crux of this article. Prior to having trademarked the symbol, it went through a great deal of metamorphosis (metamorphoses?). Here is the story as we know it.”

View the full archive on Brian G. Philbin’s MetropolisPlus.com.

Superman shield evolution

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

6 appreciated comments

  1. The first few look very weak and the next ones are very cartoony and playful, almost not very superman-ish. Where’s the bold, strong, powerful slab serif?

  2. This is the one I’m most familiar with, Alicia.

  3. Funny coincidence, my client just said that one of my recommendations reminded him of the Superman logo (not even close). I replied “Is that bad?”

  4. The logo in the cartoon looks like the classic one to me.

  5. I don’t think I’ve come across those earlier versions but I remember drawing and re-drawing those last two S’s…

  6. In the comic at the top of the page, Superman looks like he smokes and would call me racist names.

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