It all starts with branding—an activity that sits at the foundation of any successful business. Excellent business branding resonates with customers, which builds loyalty and profits in the long run. Most importantly, it increases your company's value.
Marvel has become one of the most recognized brand names universally. It has built parallel worlds with just content, making it one of the best resources for marketers to learn and take inspiration. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had a proprietary library of over 8,000 characters at the beginning, with lesser-known characters such as Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America.
As crazy as this sounds, these characters were not as popular as they are now. And this is all a result of good branding and marketing. The Avengers brand is a part of Marvel's overall branding strategy, working together to bring various superheroes from different stories into one continuity.
This article looks at one branding aspect of some of these superheroes— their logos.
1. Iron Man
As knights of the past, Iron Man is identified by the armor he wears. Posed to be one of the best-dressed Marvel superheroes, Iron Man has changed his looks multiple times since his debut in 1963. Tony Stark, the man who dons the suit, is a millionaire inventor, genius, scientist, and business tycoon. He hides behind Iron Man's mask, whom he created to fight injustice.
This superhero owes his appearance to the Avengers—a team that he is a part of. This solo version of this superhero logo was launched along with the publication of the adventures in 1968. Over the years, as Iron Man evolved, so did the logo design.
Iron Man's current logo reflects a restrained style—one with a few broken or bent lines. The logo's elements are also tough and sharp to emphasize the character's inflexibility and rugged nature. For example, the inscriptions are made with a metallic sheen to align with the superhero's image. They are characterized by symbols in upper case, iron textures, and metal surfaces' reflections.
Thor is one of the more problematic characters in comic book history. If you consider other iconic Avengers such as Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk; they all emerged from a particular mid-century, science-fiction era.
Thor's backstory, on the other hand, is much more fantastical. While other superheroes were all normal men made extraordinary by modern science, by super-drugs and advanced technology and weapons of mass destruction, Thor comes from a more mythological background. He's the Norse God of Thunder.
He was a religious figure back when Roman Empire was a thing. He's the guy Thursday is named after, and he has a big hammer that throws thunderbolts.
Thor's logo, therefore, has to incorporate this bit of fantasy along with the strength. While the first two Thor movies' initial logos had been bold, masculine, and earthy, the latest design takes inspiration from the lettering style of 1980s Marvel comics and TV cartoons. In terms of color, shape, and style, the logo is a great mix of graphic elements that highlight the Norse God of Thunder's strength and power.
3. The Incredible Hulk
Hulk was introduced to the Marvel universe in 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Bruce Banner, the scientist, when exposed to heavy doses of gamma radiation, transforms into the mean, green rage machine called the Hulk.
The green humanoid is a part of the Avengers team and is considered to be one of the most popular superheroes ever created. Hulk boasts a logo that reflects its color and extraordinary strength. It's made of an emblem which is usually on its own, but sometimes it's complemented by a wordmark.
In Hulk's case, the emblem depicts a clenched fist enclosed in a circular frame. The color palette, the Hulk superhero logo, includes two variants—a green fist on a white and a black background. Below this emblem is the extra-bold lettering of "The Incredible Hulk," which has a thin black outline. Drawn in a custom sans-serif typeface, it has strong straight lines that balance the emblem lines. This superhero logo is a reflection of Hulk's fighting spirit. It also uses the superhero's signature color, which makes it widely recognized worldwide.
4. Captain America
One of the things that have always been connected with Captain America is his indestructible shield which is his weapon, and also his logo. Cap wears a distinctive uniform which has also played a crucial part in creating his overall brand.
Cap's earliest shields were made of steel (also his superhero logo) and looked similar to the US Seal. It had a triangular shape and carried three stars on the top and stripes below.
A couple of years later, Tony Stark (Iron Man) added electronic and magnetic components to his shield that helped Cap control it in flight.
In addition to the shield, Captain America also had a widely recognized uniform. While the uniform's overall design was modified over the years, the outfit remains consistent in several details. For example, it consistently featured a large letter "A," which stood for "America."
The Captain America superhero logo has been through various modifications over the years. However, it stayed consistent in terms of the color scheme that reflected the US flag's colors with minor shifts in the shades.
5. Black Panther
T'Challa is a member of the royal family of the fictional African country called Wakanda. After his father's death at the hands of Ulysses Klaw, T'Challa claimed the throne and the title of the Black Panther. On becoming the Black Panther, T'Challa was exposed to a mystical herb that improved his strength and agility to near-superhuman levels.
The initial version of the Black Panther logo was created by designers from the design studio Comicraft. The intention was to make this superhero logo look like graffiti as the scene was set in New York City's streets.
Over the years, this superhero logo was modified, and the latest Black Panther movie released in 2018 by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios features the new logo. Many designers described this logo as minimalistic and modern.
The sans serif font used to highlight the Balck panther's futuristic feature is called BEYNO. It was created by Fabian Korn, Creative Market shop owner. This new superhero logo has a punk rock feel to it. It's less shiny and colorful, aligning with the main character and the setting.
6. Black Widow
The name Black Widow is inspired by a venomous species of spider's name. A red mark distinguishes them on the back, and their poison is thought to be 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake.
Black Widows are deemed to be seductive killers. The female species of this spider kill their male after copulation. This is the exact trait that Natasha Romanoff exudes on screen. While other superheroes react aggressively, she chooses quiet revenge.
Black Widow's logo highlights this quiet aggression, danger, and passion. The red hourglass logo became this superhero's accessory and a part of the movie title. The combination of colors and fonts is contrasting and dramatic to express mystery and danger. The movie title is written in a large white sans serif font. The letters are slightly slanted and stretched. A red hourglass separates the words "Black" and "Widow."
Marvel knows that they have a vast, loyal fan base, and they put consistent efforts to keep them engaged and involved. Improving the superhero logos over time is one such tactic. Marvel is one brand you should follow if you're looking for excellent branding inspiration.