is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
It’s going to take me a little while to really come to grips with the fact that DC Comics has changed its logo, obsolescing the long-standing, Milton Glaser-designed icon for something, well, different. The new mark includes forward-leaning “D.C.” initials against a swooshy, Saturn-like ring in a dimensional rendering, with a hint of Adobe Illustrator-style gradient along its edge. A curiously Captain America-like star, drawn in perspective, punctuates the whole thing.
Putting it bluntly, I don’t find it particularly attractive or probably as utilitarian as Glaser’s original triumph of compactness and visual exclamation. To the designers’ credit, it does attempt to rescue what’s good about its predecessor from the short-sighted imperatives of DC Comics’ current marketing strategy, but in doing so, it completely misinterprets the old mark’s substance for rather shallow style.
The classic, Milton Glaser-designed logo, at left, and the new form, at right.
Don’t Make ’Em Like They Used To
Maybe this is just nostalgia, because I was an avid reader of DC Comics when I was a kid, and I still feel invested in their canon of heroes and pop mythology. As a function of my childhood, the old logo really represents something constant and reliable, even when the tonality of the comic books changed drastically. Just to get pretentious for a bit: the nature of the art and writing and even the economic reach of comic books has metamorphosed in a kind of parallel to my advancement from kickball games on blacktops to PowerPoint presentations in front of corporate officers, but that logo has been always the same, at least until now. It’s my sense of vanity and obstinacy speaking when I say that the new logo just isn’t worthy of the old logo’s legacy, but I really do mean it.+