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#CreativeBranding: Batman vs Superman – Logo Evolution Through The Decades! -

Batman v Superman

Featured Image: IMDb

You don’t have to be a DC fan to recognize Batman and Superman from their logos. Both of these characters are iconic to the comic book franchise and film industry. Their visual designs have also gone through drastic changes. And so have their logos.  

It is also interesting to see how their logos have become more elaborate and intricate over the years. Batman’s bat emblem has changed over 30 times while Superman’s iconic ‘S’ and shield symbol has changed over 25 times.

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Why does the comic book and film industry modify the logos of its most iconic characters at all? It is usually for these reasons – 

  • To make them look more polished
  • To adapt them to evolving story lines
  • To make them appeal to audiences of the time

Previously we revealed Donald Trump’s branding secret. In this post, we will discuss how Superman’s and Batman’s logos evolved over the decades.

Our panelists for today are –

  • Brian G.Philbin, Writer for
  • Barry Frieman, Writer for
  • Julian Darius, Founder of Sequant Organization
  • Sidney Fussel, Entertainer and contributor for Tech Insider

Brian G. Philbin

Superman’s Logo was Inconsistently drawn at first

Superman’s first logo appeared in Action Comics in 1938. It was a far cry from the diamond shaped symbol that fans are familiar with today. The first logo was shaped like a police badge and had a simple “S” in the middle.

Since Superman stands for truth and justice, the police badge shape doesn’t really come as a surprise. Why was it so simple? It should be noted that this Superman’s first appearance which means that the storyline was pretty basic.  So, it’s not surprising why the hero’s first logo had a basic design too.

You can see how different the logo from 1938 is from Superman’s latest logo in ‘Batman V Superman’ –

History of the Superman Logo
Image Source: Maurice Mitchell/DeviantArt

Comic book expert Brian G. Philbin says that the hero’s symbol was drawn inconsistently at first –

“Superman’s symbol has become recognizable all over the world. However, at one time, it was not even very consistently drawn…it went through a great deal of metamorphosis.”

Barry Frieman

Superman Logo From 1978 Represents His Origins

Superman’s logo changed considerably and became the stylized inverted ‘S’ on a diamond shaped shield in consecutive years. The “S” initially stood for Superman. However, in ‘Superman: Birthright,’ it was revealed that the symbol actually represented the hero’s Kryptonian family crest.

Barry Frieman explains –

“…ask Brian Singer, the director of 2006’s ‘Superman Returns’ and he’ll tell you…that the Superman suit ‘he (Supey) wears is a remnant of that world (Krypton)…’ Singer apparently bases that opinion on 1978’s “Superman: The Movie” in which the costume is Kryptonian fabric and the ‘S’ emblem is a family crest worn by Superman’s biological father, Jor El…While the comic book’s explanation for the ‘S’ is different from the movie’s explanation…Mark Waid’s recent revamp of Superman’s origin in ‘Superman Birthright’ tied the ‘S’ to Krypton, effectively unifying the different media interpretations for the ‘S.’”

Julian Darius

1996’s Black Logo Represents A Dark Period In Superman’s Life

Superman’s story took a darker turn in 1996’s ‘Kingdom Come.’ And so did his symbol… This series represented a dark period in Superman’s life, so the black symbol fits.

Supermans story took a darker turn

Founder of Sequant Organization Julian Darius elaborates-

“Set in the future, the story begins with Superman having retired in the wake of a new wave of violent heroes – and Lois Lane’s death….The story really gets going as a group of violent super-heroes irresponsibly pursue a super villain. Cornered, the villain literally tears the hero Captain Atom apart, causing a nuclear explosion that renders much of the American Midwest – including Kansas, Superman’s boyhood home – a radioactive wasteland…Spurred by the destruction of Kansas, Superman comes out of retirement. Emblematic of his new darkness, he changes his chest logo to give it a black background.”

Sidney Fussel

Batman’s 1940 Logo Resembled Himself

Batman’s earlier logos resembled the caped crusader himself as is apparent from the bat logo from1940.

Batmans 1940 Logo

Why was it designed this way? Remember, this was a time when batman did not have high tech gadgets or armor. Audiences recognized him by his cowl and cape. The artists clearly had this in mind when they designed the logo. All audiences saw was a man in a cowl and cape.

Tech insider contributor Sidney Fussel explains how this logo fits Batman’s earlier image –

“The original ‘batman’ logo resembled a man in a cape. It’s a bit bulky but fit the time period where he was wearing a costume instead of hi-tech armor.”

Another Character Takes On Batman’s Identity In 1993

Future renditions of the bat logo do away with the cowl altogether and featured bat ears, wings and a tail. It became popular with the 90’s spin of animated series. Here is Sidney Fussel’s take on 1992’s version of the bat logo –

“This probably looks the most familiar. This particular design introduced in ‘Batman Returns,’ is well balanced and reappeared a lot during the ‘90s animated spin offs.”

1992 Version Bat Logo

Here is another version of the bat logo in 1993.The ears, tail and wings are there, but have a more elongated design.

bat logo in 1993

According to Sidney Fussel this design also fits the story that featured it –

“From ‘Knightfall’ comic series, this logo stands out from the rest because of the radically curved wings. In ‘Knightfall,’ Wayne is succeeded as Batman by Azrael.”

Batman VS Superman – Dawn Of Justice 2016

Warner Brothers combined two superheroes in one logo design in ‘Dawn of Justice’. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the story pits both heroes against each other.

Batman vs Superman 2016 Logo

Take a look at both of these symbols. Superman’s symbol still retains its original design but the same cannot be said for Batman’s symbol. The bat symbol is clearly bulkier than some of its sleeker and more popular predecessors.

Some fans have noticed this too and aren’t too thrilled with the design –

Other fans say that it suits the final look of the logo –

Superman and Batman are two of the most iconic characters in comic book history. And they are popular because they evolved over the decades. Both the movie and film franchise capitalized on their fame by making their logos evolve as well.

Author Bio:    

Evan is an Expert in Digital Marketing. He has been working in the social media space since 2008, with a focus on design services, user interface planning, branding and more. Currently, he is leading content marketing efforts at DesignMantic and has played an integral part in the success story of DesignMantic through strategic marketing campaigns. Evan is also a design pro, who has shown a predilection towards DIY design projects.

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