Top 5 Film Logos

By Paddy Harrington RGD, Founding Director of Frontier


Back to the Future

Andrew Probert

I love this logotype for two reasons. First, the typography reflects the meaning of the words. The design strengthens the premise of the film and I love that.
Second, this is not so much about the logo itself, but I love the fact that Probert not only designed the logotype, but also the time machine version of the Delorean and many other elements of the film’s production. That kind of interdisciplinary design project is exciting because it gives the designer a chance to tell a story with conviction and depth.

Ready Player One

Emily Oberman

This logotype is great because it’s both a window into the movie and a puzzle to be solved. Without giving anything away, its style reflects the subject matter which is largely a 1980s pop culture reference. It’s a sort of diagram of the entire movie, captured in a logotype. What’s also great is its versatility. It works as a very simple vector drawing but can be styled up to suit the modern mainstream movie going audience.

North by Northwest

Saul Bass

It’s impossible to talk movies and design without talking about Saul Bass. North by Northwest was the first film to use kinetic typography. 
I love the simple inventiveness of the logotype and its directional words that literally reference directions on a compass. The title sequence starts as an abstract pattern that soon resolves itself into the opening scene of the film. Hitchcock’s visual with Bernard Herrmann’s music and Bass’ graphics creates a distinctive and unforgettable film sequence.

Chungking Express

Stanley Wong

I love this logotype because it captures a time so perfectly. The pioneering original film poster integrates the logotype with the imagery to the point that it’s almost invisible at first. But it’s so strongly distinctive in other ways.
I also love that Wong did this work for Wong Kar-wai’s side project as a side project of his own under a pseudonym that he used for non-commercial projects. Makes you wonder what else we see in our daily lives with mysterious provenance.

Trench 11

Frontier & Tendril

This is purely selfishly added since it’s the only film logotype I’ve had a chance to work on. My friend Leo Sherman, the director, approached me to design this when he made the film. I looked at references to period typography in the film and found an iconic poster that became the basis for the logotype.
Then I approached Chris Bahry from Tendril here in Toronto to animate it. We took a critical part of the plot as the starting point for how the logotype would move so that it would foreshadow an important part of the film. You’ll have to watch it to see what I mean.