Todd Klein begins an examination of Marvel’s X-Men logos, focusing in this installment on the original design, and Jim Steranko’s 1968 revamp, which has stood the test of time:
… Steranko’s design, sometimes modified, but clearly still his, has been in nearly constant use by the company ever since. What a shame that he was never paid at least something for it. I know there’s been a lot of bad blood between Steranko and Marvel, and this surely must add to that.
Let’s look at the logo from a design standpoint. The letters are tall, block style, with MEN being in much the same shape as the original, with the X now matching. The letters lean left and with perspective putting the lower left corner of the X in the front, the upper edges in the back. Telescoping has been added, and the logo is now very three-dimensional with three-point perspective. Even the letter X itself is strongly in perspective, with the bottom left corner much wider than the upper right corner. Steranko knew perspective, and made it work perfectly here. The letters are separated just enough that a different color on the telescoping makes them very strong and readable, and the overall effect is both more modern and more classically designed than the previous effort. Really fine work! Still highlights the X, but in a more unified way.
Steranko only did three covers, issues 49-51, and interior art for issues 50-51, then moved on to other things. But his design influence on the logo continues to be strong today, almost 40 years later.
While you’re at Klein’s blog, check out his recent study of DC’s Metal Men logos.
Update: Klein has posted the second part of his X-Men study.