Harry Potter approves: Pentagram rebrands Warner Bros
Officially unveiled in a ceremony on Wednesday by a tuxedo-clad Bugs Bunny Warner Bros. aka one of the world’s leading entertainment studios, producing films, television, interactive entertainment and consumer products that include the DC and Harry Potter franchises, blockbuster movies like “Joker,” “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “It,” and hit TV shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” “Friends” and “Ellen” unveiled its brand new visual idenity designed by Pentagram’s Emily Oberman.
Oberman’s team collaborated with Warner Bros. for a new brand identity and brand strategy “that draws on the company’s incredible heritage to position it for the future” looking ahead to the studio’s centennial in 2023.
The project updates the iconic “WB” shield and makes it the foundation of a comprehensive identity system, including a custom typeface inspired by the logo.
Originally founded in 1923 by brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner, Warner Bros. has long been recognized as an industry pioneer, introducing innovations like the first synchronized dialogue in movies, or “talking pictures,” in 1927, and some of the first color films. This “legacy of innovation was key to developing a new brand strategy and positioning for Warner Bros.” notes Pentagram and the clean lines of the redrawn logo is one of the basic elements of this brand new idenity.
“The Warner Bros. shield is one of the most iconic logos in the world, visual shorthand for entertainment recognized around the globe. The symbol has been used going back to the company’s roots and periodically updated over the decades (and occasionally replaced by something else, only to be resurrected in subsequent versions). Warner Bros. wanted to build on this legacy and make the shield more functional and effective. The previous iteration, introduced in 1993, was highly detailed and hard to use at a small scale and in digital contexts, which are increasingly important.”
“The update streamlines the logo to its key elements, returning the shield and monogram to prominence and losing the sash. The redesign refines the shield with a form based on the classical proportions of the golden ratio. The designers looked at the construction of the letterforms of the 'WB' monogram, preserving their quirkiness but making them more modern. The letters of the monogram align as though made in one continuous gesture, emphasizing unity and connection. The logo has been optimized to perform across various platforms and scales, from the small spaces of the digital world to giant installations like the iconic water tower on the Warner Bros. studio lot. It also works well with a wide range of content. The logo appears in the signature Warner Bros. blue, which has been brightened to a more contemporary hue, with the wordmark set off in a slightly darker shade to create a complementary contrast.”
Pentagram expanded the distinctive monogram into a custom typeface aka Warner Bros. Condensed Bold, used for the wordmarks of the various divisions and other display typography.
Designed by Pentagram and expanded into a full family of fonts by Jeremy Mickel, the typeface has a look and feel that is uniquely Warner Bros., with condensed letterforms that relate to the elongated “WB” in the shield. Details in the logo’s letterforms are echoed in the font explains Pentagram.