The History of Disney and their Logo Design

This is the History of Disney and their Logo Design

Making magic since 1923, Disney is the undisputed king of the entertainment industry. From movies and TV shows to merchandise and theme parks, Disney now has a hand in almost everything…and it all started with a cartoon mouse. In this article, we’ll take a look at the remarkable history of Disney Inc., the origins of their world-famous logo, and the role the Disney logo played in the company’s unparalleled success.

Origins of Disney
Walt Disney, now considered one of the most successful artists and businessmen of all time, wasn’t always so successful. In fact, Walt Disney got off to such a rocky start in his early career that his eventual success is now touted as one of the greatest stories of commitment and perseverance.

Walt Disney’s first business venture, Laugh-O-Gram Studios, went bankrupt in 1923. With just $20 to his name, Disney headed to Hollywood to start over again. With the help of his brother, Walt Disney began to produce two cartoon shorts, Alice and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. These shorts were successful, but, unfortunately, Walt Disney failed to protect his legal copyright on the characters, and he lost the contract to them in February of 1928.

Still undeterred, Disney came up with the idea of a cartoon called Steamboat Willie that featured a mouse character that would later be known as Mickey Mouse. The Steamboat Willie cartoon was a hit, and in 1929 Walt Disney Productions was formed around its success.

The amount of successful projects Disney has been involved with since that date are almost too numerous count. From hundreds of movies and TV shows to billions of dollars in merchandising to two of the world’s largest theme parks in Disneyworld and Disneyland, there has been no shortage of successes for Disney, and the company shows no sign of slowing down in the slightest.

In 2016, Disney netted $9.39 billion, showing a growth for a seventh straight year. It’s certainly a remarkable level of success, but what role did the Disney logo play in getting the company where it is today?

History of the Disney Logo
The original Disney logo showed the profile of Mickey Mouse. When animated, as the logo always was in the company’s films and TV shows, the logo would revolve and change colors. It was both a unique design and a testament to the technological advancements in animation that Disney was making at the time.

In 1995, though, the logo underwent a transformation into what would be the basis for the Disney logo we see today, featuring a light blue castle with the text “Walt Disney Pictures” displayed across it. This logo was used until 2006 when Disney adopted the logo we now see today.

The current Disney logo is incredibly impressive in its detail, displaying Cinderella’s castle in all its splendor, complete with balconies, towers, windows, and a moat. Yet again, when animated, this logo shows the advances Disney has made in animation and touts the technological capabilities of the company. The current logo, both animated and unanimated, also serves as an immediately recognizable symbol of Disney and all the wonder that the company has come to represent.

Design Elements of the Disney Logo
As mentioned, much of Disney’s logo design is dedicated to showing their advances in in graphics and animation. For a company that stakes its brand on state-of-the-art graphics, it’s important to have a logo that lives up to their reputation.
Aside from this, though, the design of the Disney logo is meant to convey a sense of wonder and imagination. When you see the luxurious Cinderella’s castle, you can’t help but wonder what is inside all of those towers and glowing rooms. Through the worlds that they have created, Disney offers a ticket inside, a way to explore realms and possibilities that stretch the mind and put a smile on your face.

By having their logo and the entrance to their theme parks look incredibly similar, the Disney logo is also able to serve as an advertisement for Disneyland and Disneyworld. Since every Disney movie starts with an animation of the logo, people who enter into one of the Disney theme parks feel like they are stepping into a real-life Disney movie.
A lot of attention has been given to the font used to spell out the word “Walt Disney” as well. Since the complete Disney logo is so complex, Disney needed a way to more easily brand certain products and productions without having to print the entirety of Cinderella’s castle across them. To do this, Disney came up with a highly unique and recognizable font to spell out “Walt Disney”. In this way, the simplified logo which consists of nothing more than a line of text is still immediately recognizable and inseparable from the brand and its overall message.

One last design element to note in the current Disney logo is the shooting star that arcs across the castle, which again creates a sense of wonder and conveys a message of wishes coming true.

Popularity of the Disney Logo
The Disney logo is etched into pop culture as a symbol of entertainment and whimsical fun. From appearances on clothing to its presence at the start of each Disney film, the logo is everywhere today and immediately recognizable. Disney has so effectively managed to associate their mission and message with their logo that people know exactly what they are in for just upon seeing the Disney logo attached to a production, product, or event. While the characters Disney creates are the driving force behind the brand’s merchandise sales, the logo is still an inseparable part of Disney’s merchandising as well.

In both its animated, unanimated and simplified forms, Disney has made their logo a critical part of their marketing and branding efforts. Their use of multiple versions of their logo is a great example of a company successfully tying their message to multiple logos and is a good model to follow for those considering using multiple versions of their logo at the same time.

All in all, Disney has managed to create an incredibly popular logo and perfectly integrate it into their marketing efforts, making the history of the Disney logo a great example to learn from.

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