yo logo!

August 21, 2009
I've been thinking about the Logo design of the some of the toy lines of my youth. (The best image of most of these online seemed to have black backgrounds, so I'm experimenting with colors here.)

Arguably, the most notable was Transformers, Autobots vs Decepticons:
(Despite their being kind of silly summer fare, Amber found the Transformers movie grabbing enough that she wanted an Autobot sticker for her car- but she didn't grow up with this stuff, so she had to double check that she was getting the right one. I had kind of assumed it was "obvious", the good guys have a softer, rounder kind of mask face, the bad guys are more sharp and wicked and pointy, and there might be some intuition to it, but only once you know what to look for.)

The toys all sported the badges of their particular faction, and for a while it was good, but then they added these "rub stickers", kind of heat sensitive, that were more or less opaque 'til touched. That would have been ok I guess (if a little non-sensical story-wise) but unlike normal stickers, the rub stickers were in grey boxes which were an aesthetic mess on otherwise cool robot toys. (I guess Hasbro wanted something for its toys that the knock-offs couldn't have.)

Arguably the very coolest logo of the 80s was for the G.I Joe bad guys, Cobra:
I've seen that as a tattoo.

(and then of course there was the time they teamed up with the Transformers bad guys:)
Weirdly G.I Joe itself didn't have much good logo work going on - maybe a traditional US military star, or sometimes the whole name of the group (what's that kind of logo called, when its just a stylized rendition of the name of the thing?)
(Of course in the cartoon, there was also the "audio logos", G.I. Joe's rallying call of "Yo Joe!" and Cobra's warcry "COOOBRAAAAAAAAAAA!")

I've seen this one floating around, I don't know if it is new for the movie or what:
Also, there's this modernization of the old name-as-logo:
Actually this page was kind of inspired when I read up on Cobra Commander's ally Destro, remembered how he's always sort of had his own organization, and wondered if they had a logo. I found this:
A little heavy handed, but not bad.

I'd argue that even back in the day this kind logo work set G.I.Joe and Transformers apart from some of the other toy lines. Like, compare some of this cool iconic stuff to johny-come-lately MASK:
It just seems so pedestrian.

Hasbro (or whoever) kept up the canonical mask idea for later toylines, like in "Beast Wars" where it was Maximals vs Predacons:
I don't think I have to tell you who was good and who was bad...

http://daringfireball.net/2009/08/the_android_opportunity - Can Android be saved? I worry the AppStore might make iPhone's early lead even tougher to overcome because people come to rely on specific apps.