With the release of Thor: The Dark World, Marvel introduced their new ident. Without getting too deep, an ident is basically an animated logo that, as the name suggests, help to identify a product, service or the company itself.

The new ident is slick, 3 dimensionally rendered and very similar to the previous version. So why then do I not like it? Well, it’s all in the details. Little differences can be enough make or break an idea… and with Marvel’s new ident, it went from being unique to just run-of-the-mill. Like M.C. Hammer once said… “Let’s break it down”… oooh, oh, oooh, oh:

Marvel’s first ident was a pleasant surprise…

  • It felt like a media company and not a children’s company which it could easily have been.
  • It stayed true to it’s corporate image. The logo looks consistent and despite being a full colour sequence, the overall impression feels red… “corporate red”.
  • Highly adaptable. The images and sound can be customized to reflect the movie it’s introducing.
  • The whole sequence is flat. Which is a bold thing to do in world where everything is rendered 3D.
  • Although the sequence starts off as flipping pages, the flickering images and he side ways movement within the logo starts to resemble film.

Marvels new ident has most of these attributes but the key points that don’t work for me are…

  • 3D logo. Not that it looks bad… but a 3D logo in an area where all logos are rendered 3D is not very special.
  • Flipping pages transforms into the logo. Being up close, then panning out to reveal the logo is a table stake approach. Again, not very original.
  • My biggest beef is that it doesn’t build anticipation as well as the original. This is more of a personal feeling and in part, this due to the change in track.

There are other things as well…, like I’m not a fan of the key line around the logo and the word “studios” at the bottom feels unresolved. An ident should feel epic, or at least have a personality. As someone who designs logos for a living, I realize I’m probably more sensitive to these differences than most people but it would have been nice if the new treatment pushed forward rather than taking a step backwards.

DC had an okay start with their “sports” logo but their new identity seems to be just lumped in with the other TimeWarner subsidiaries, which is a shame. My hope is that they’ll break out these logos with independent treatments, otherwise what’s the point of having different brands if they all look and feel the same?

Of course these are only the latest attempts. Marvel Knights had one…

Vertigo had one…

And who can forget the iconic CGI metallic Spidey from the ’80’s!

Comparatively, both Universal and Paramount released their 100th Anniversary treatments in 2012… very epic and classic at the same time.

But my all time fav remains Scott Free. This ident is almost 20 years old but it still feels fresh!

Currently, these are “boom” times for Marvel and Disney. Since Bob Iger took the job as Disney’s CEO, they’ve been making all the right moves. Now that Disney is tapping into Pixar’s technology (and creative) it’s difficult to tell the films apart. Perhaps in this case the distinction is not an assent… However, I think that Marvels image is worth differentiating so here’s hoping they’ll nurture the Marvel brand so that it remains an independent subsidiary with its own line of unique films.