The History Behind Famous Hollywood Studio Logos



Every time Bugs Bunny came on,  did you ever wonder why the Warner Bros. logo is WB is a shield? Or did the roaring lion of MGM Studios ever make sense to you? These logos represent the biggest studios in Hollywood.

Since every brand has a unique history, these logos have each have their own interesting story of how they came to be.

Read on to discover how and why the logos of the biggest studios in Hollywood came into being.


#Dream Works SKG: Boy on the Moon

Three big shots of Hollywood: Director Steven Spielberg, Disney Studio Chairman Jeffery Katzenberg and Record Producer David Geffen got together in 1994 to found a new studio called “DreamWorks”. Yes, you guessed it! The initials SKG at the bottom of the logo represents these three people.

Spielberg wanted a logo for DreamWorks to portray Hollywood’s golden age. Initially, the logo was to be created using a computer-generated image of a man fishing on the moon; however, the Visual Effects Supervisor, Dennis Muren from Industrial Light and Magic convinced Spielberg otherwise. Murren worked with the director on many of his films and said that a hand painted logo will be more eye-catching. He asked his artist friend Robert Hunt to paint it.

Hunt painted the logo according to Spielberg’s request. He also sent an alternative where a young boy was fishing on a crescent moon instead of a man. Guess what! Spielberg liked Hunt’s version better. Well, the rest you know as the logo, which has gone on to become one of the most famous logos in the history of Hollywood.

And the boy in the painting? It was Hunt’s son, William.

The final render of the logo—the one that’s embedded in the movies—was made at ILM from paintings by Robert Hunt, in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Films (designers of the original storyboards), Dave Carson (director), and Clint Goldman (producer) at ILM.


# Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM): Lion Roaring

The roaring “Leo The Lion” logo was designed by studio publicist Howard Dietz in 1924 for Samuel Goldwyn’s Goldwyn Picture Corporation. His inspiration for the logo came from his Alma Mater Columbia University, the Lions. Later, when Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, the newly formed MGM retained the logo.

A total of 5 lions played the role of “Leo The Lion” for MGM. On MGM’s silent films from 1924 – 1928, a lion named Slats graced the screens. Jackie, the next lion, stunned the audience with his growl-roar-growl sequence even though the movies were silent. The sequence was played over the phonograph as the logo appeared on the screen. (By the way, he was also the first lion to appear in Technicolor in 1932.)

The most famous of all the MGM lions was Tanner. Although Jackie still appeared in the black and white films, MGM experimented with an unnamed and very mane-y fourth lion which appeared on screen for a short period of time. Finally, MGM settled on Leo and he has been the face of the studio since 1957.

The company motto “Ars Gratia Artis” means “Art for Art’s Sake.”


# 20th Century Fox: The Searchlight Logo

Fox Films Company was mainly a theatre-chain company, but in 1935 they merged with Twentieth Century Pictures and became Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.

The original logo for Twentieth Century Pictures was created in 1933 by famed landscape artist Emil Kosa, Jr. After the two company merged, Kosa replaced “Pictures, Inc.” with “Fox” to make the current logo. Emil Kosa is also famous for his matte painting of the Statue of Liberty ruin at the end of the Planet of the Apes (1968).

The main attraction of the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation (they later dropped the hyphen) is the fanfare soundtrack composed by Alfred Newman, then musical director for United Artists.

See the 17 Famous Logos That Carries A Hidden Meaning Inside Them

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